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I loved you, Mrs Morrison

Throughout the course of my life as a student in the sausage factory we call public education, I estimate that I had - give or take - 100 or so teachers.

Nick Hall By Nick Hall

I remember exactly seven of them. Five I recall as being extraordinary individuals who possessed the innate ability to inspire and excite me on a regular basis, and two were remarkably dull, defeated creatures who had no place teaching anyone anything.

Of the top 5, Mrs Morrison, my grade 4 teacher, was the one of whom I have the fondest memories. In fact, she's the only grade school teacher I can recall, and I find it incredible that I can still remember what she looked like.

The rest of them - the other 93 or so - I have long forgotten, because they were forgettable.

The world appears full of forgettable companies producing forgettable goods and services, doesn't it? One only has to watch ads for a few minutes before gasping at the sheer banality of it all.

As I see it, there’s really only two ways to be memorable. Either you are really great at something or you are really not. Either of these extremes provokes an emotional reaction in us which serves to enhance memorability through the added meaning. The highly populated no man’s land that exists between extraordinary is essentially purgatory, and given the competitive nature of pretty much everything nowadays it must be avoided at all cost.

Of the two, the preferred pursuit is of course to be remembered for being great, and there are no hacks for this. The good news, however, is that it’s likely easier than you think, because as I said earlier there is so much out there that falls short of stellar. Even seemingly mediocre offerings can be elevated to greatness when attention is given to enhancing the experience that surrounds them. If you’ve ever taken delivery of business cards produced by Moo, you’ll know what I mean.

Do this. Take a good look at what you do and search for ways to make it more extraordinary. Think about your customers and what it is they’re really buying from you and look for ways to be more of that. Look at the entire experience from their perspective, and know going in that it is both wider and deeper than you first think, and that each point of interaction has the potential for magic. These do not have to be elaborate solutions, by the way. It would seem little things really do mean a lot, if only because people naturally seem to like it if you appear to give a shit.

Who knew?