#91: The Science of Sticky Ideas: Crafting Memorable CX Strategies

The Science of Sticky Ideas: Crafting Memorable CX Strategies

We revealed some powerful insights from “Made to Stick” by Chip and Dan Heath on my latest podcast episode with Megan Burns!  We explored why some ideas thrive while others fade away, and how leaders can apply these principles to make a lasting impact.

From the death of traditional buttered “movie theater popcorn” to flip the pyramid when making your point, this episode is loaded with practical insights to help you tell stories that stick.

In this episode:

👉  How can transitioning from a “know it all” culture to a “learned all” culture foster genuine curiosity and continuous learning in your organization?

👉  What role does emotion play in B2B decision-making, and how can recognizing and incorporating it lead to more effective solutions?

👉  How can storytelling and envisioning future scenarios help in making more informed and impactful business decisions?

👉  What strategies can make your ideas sticky, memorable, and easily communicable within your team and to your stakeholders?

Tune in to gain insights from Megan Burns as she shares her expertise and experience! 📈✨

Megan Burns is a customer experience strategist, author, and keynote speaker who partners with Fortune  500 companies to build world-class customer experience programs.  

A world-renowned expert in CX transformation, Megan led ground-breaking research as a Vice President at Forrester for more than a decade. The architect of two of the most well-known CX frameworks—the  Customer Experience Index and the Outside In Maturity Model—Megan’s insights have been featured in books like “The Power of Moments” by Chip and Dan Heath and dozens of publications like The Wall Street  Journal, Inc. Magazine, AdAge, and CNBC.  

Megan has helped hundreds of corporate executives at companies like Microsoft, Workday, Akamai,  FedEx, Verizon, and AT&T use CX to stay competitive, build loyalty, and accelerate growth in a customer-obsessed world. Her portfolio spans dozens of industries including B2B tech, financial services,  healthcare, travel, logistics, manufacturing – even farming!  

Her wit and wisdom make Megan a popular speaker at events like the Wall Street Journal’s Experience  Management Forum, CXPA Leaders Advance, the Chief Experience Officer Summit, and the Qualtrics  X4 Summit. As a CX pioneer, she is regularly invited to judge industry awards like the CXPA Innovation  Awards and World Customer Centricity Awards and to appear on popular podcasts like Voices of CX  and CX Luminaries. After interviewing Megan, one host said: “I’ve never seen anyone with customer  experience so deeply in their blood.”


The Delighted Customers podcast website:https://www.empoweredcx.com/podcast

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The Agile Brand is produced by Missing Link—a Latina-owned strategy-driven, creatively fueled production co-op. From ideation to creation, they craft human connections through intelligent, engaging and informative content. https://www.missinglink.company


Note: This was AI-generated and only lightly edited.

Mark Slatin:
Well, I can’t tell you how excited I am to have A returning guest, Megan Burns to the Delighted Customers podcast. Let me tell you a little bit about Megan. She helps B2B companies grow by understanding and meeting their customer needs better than anyone else. And she has been doing it for more than 20 years. She has rich background in in research at Forrester Research, and I’m just so impressed by the amount of knowledge and skills. I’ve heard you, Megan, say that you have like a nerd component of yourself. I’m messing that up. But first, let me just welcome you to the show.

Megan Burns: Well, thank you, Mark. It’s great to be back. And yeah, I would say the nerd component of me is a pretty big component of me. I have some specific things that I’m particularly nerdy about, like words. I have a Word Nerd Wednesday series. But yeah, in general, I’m just a curious person who loves to learn new things.

Mark Slatin: Yeah. And you’ve worked with some really big brands like Microsoft, Dow, Workday, United Healthcare, DHL, FedEx, Verizon. AT&T, you’ve been involved in some pretty big organizational changes. And today, we’re going to talk about one of the things that helps make change, which is ideas and not just any ideas, but ideas that stick, right? And so before we get into that, would you fill in the background for me about, you know, I gave you kind of a brush, but tell us how you kind of the path that led you to where you are. and what exactly you’re doing now.

Megan Burns: Sure. So I started my career as a software engineer and was working on very early customer-facing websites for AT&T. And very quickly, I was a requirements engineer and very quickly realized that I cared a lot more about the people using the tools than I did about the technology behind the tools. So I gradually through the years did more in user experience. And then when I went to Forrester, as more companies started to think of experience as something beyond just user experience or website usability, I started covering experience management as a larger business concept and strategic concept. So when I was at Forrester, the big thing that we needed to do was to explain that customer experience was something that could and should be managed, which wasn’t the way people were thinking back then. And then after about 10 years there, we had gotten that message across. But I found that companies were bumping up against an ideal versus a reality. Yeah, oh, we should totally do that. Our customer experience matters. We should manage that. And then kind of getting stuck. So since I’ve been in private practice for the last eight years, I work with a smaller number of companies, but I work with them more deeply to really think about how do we take this from concept or hype to a regular organizational and individual habit. So that thinking about customers and managing the customer experience is a part of the way the business runs.

Mark Slatin: Yeah. And the way I came to know about you is when I was leading CX at a bank in the mid-Atlantic and looking for something beyond NPS as a metric to use to help understand kind of what drives NPS, what’s driving loyalty. And I started reading about the research that you have done. I guess you, you know, you were expanding the CXI concept and metric. Would you, would you just, I don’t want to spend forever talking about this, but I could, because I love it so much. But could you just give the audience a little background about what that was all about?

Megan Burns: Sure. So as part of that customer experience is a thing conversation, people didn’t know how to think about it or how to define it. And metrics is something people jump to, well, how do we measure it? What they really are looking for is a concrete definition, but what they search for to get that definition is a metric. So measurement was my first coverage area actually at Forrester. And so we started talking about how do you measure the quality of the customer experience? Because when you measure something, there’s two ways you can measure it. You can hold a ruler up to it. It’s this long and this tall and has this many Calls to the contact center, or you can measure the quality, which is much more subjective. So we started thinking about how do you measure the quality of an experience so that then you can look at how. multiple experiences over time influences someone’s loyalty to a company, right? It’s usually not one major incident that makes you forever loyal or forever hating a particular company. It’s a combination of things. So when we designed the CX index, Roxy Strominger and I, that’s what we were trying to do was to give people a variable that could sit before likelihood to recommend and say people are more or less likely to recommend because they have had good and bad experiences over time. So that was one of the one of the main things that we were looking to do with that was to actually isolate the concept of experience quality from loyalty.

Mark Slatin: Okay, and that and that’s going to be a little bit of a cliffhanger for some people. So let’s, let’s give them a just that there were like three major components of that, right?

Megan Burns: Yep.

Mark Slatin: Can you just so we can let people sleep at night? Can you tell them what they are?

Megan Burns: Sure. It’s effectiveness, which is basically did the customer get what they needed or wanted to get ease? How easy was it to get an emotion, which is how did the experience make people feel? And it’s not necessarily that every experience is going to leave you floating on cloud nine. But ideally, it should leave you feeling at least as good if not better as you did when you went into it. So thinking about that emotion component, you may have gotten what you needed to get done. But if you are more frustrated afterward than you were before, then that wasn’t a good experience.

Mark Slatin: And would you say that research that you did and coming up with those that the CXI metric is still valid today?

Megan Burns: Oh absolutely. Yeah because it’s it’s based on well first of all the the three E’s were based on a research framework that came out of academia. So Forrester and Bruce Temkin had built on that, and then Roxy and I built on what Bruce did. So there’s a lot of research underpinnings of that. But it’s also, it’s human beings. How does the way human being experiences the world, how do they think about it and how does that affect their future decisions? That is not something that changes or has changed all that much because it’s biology and evolution is really slow. We still basically have the same brain design that humans had 10,000 years ago.

Mark Slatin: Yeah. So that is really, really cool stuff. And we used it, I used it for years at the bank. And we just, we called it the C-score, success, effort, and emotion, which is really essentially the same thing. And we use CXI as a reference source.

Megan Burns: Yeah, and that was one of the other big things, too, was there was no way to compare and right, wrong or indifferent. That’s another instinct people have is they want to know how it’s doing. So creating that benchmark, at least in the B2C space, was also something that that helped a lot of people, which I’m very proud of.

Mark Slatin: In transitioning into our conversation today, a big part of a CX leader’s job is cultural transformation, transforming from where we are today, the current state, to where we want to go. And it’s really hard work. And it’s for the same reasons that you talked about as people. We’ve got humans, we’ve got humans that have their own different personalities, their lifestyles, their interests, what drives them, their motivations. And come in and try and make a change is so, so hard. And a lot of us, I mean, I’ve talked to so many people and there’s no one common path that CX leaders come to be. Right? So, so therefore, it’s hard work. And, you know, we’re not, unless you, unless you happen to have a CCMP certified change management professional designation, you haven’t, you don’t have a background in that.

Megan Burns: Even then, I think there’s, you know, there’s the theory of change management and then there’s the reality of change management. And even I, you know, obviously I’ve worked with a lot of change management professionals and even they would say that this is a particularly tricky area to lead change because it’s kind of motherhood and apple pie, right? It’s eat healthy and exercise, deliver a good customer experience. Well, yeah, of course we should.

Mark Slatin: Yeah. Well, you, you and I both love the Heath brothers and the books that they’ve written over the years. Um, and one of them had to do with why some ideas survive and others don’t, they die, you know, and they call it made to stick. And, um, it’s something I know you, you’d love to talk about. Give us some background about what the need is there.

Megan Burns: Sure. So I first read Made to Stick as a way to help get my speeches and my research to be more impactful, because as an analyst, I couldn’t order anybody to do anything. Influence was and still is the only lever I have. So someone recommended, another professional speaker recommended that book to me as a way to really think about how you could hone your ideas so that it wasn’t just the idea, but the way the idea was delivered, that people remembered it, that they repeated it, and that it actually changed the way they behave. and Chip and Dan Heath, both professors at two very prestigious schools, Stanford and Duke, their research was really solid. But they also practice what they preach. And so their ability to communicate the idea and how to make something sticky was so elegant that it stuck with me. And I actually just had my book club, I run a book club, a business book club, and we just reread Made to Stick a couple of months ago, because it’s still so relevant.

Mark Slatin: You know, I love the book so much. And this one aspect they talk about in the beginning, which is like the killer, the killer of all sticky ideas is this thing called a curse of knowledge. Can you tell us about it? Why is it such a pain in the butt?

Megan Burns: The curse of knowledge is that we can’t unknow things we already know. But very often our audience doesn’t know those things. So there’s a frame of reference or a certain set of assumptions or a certain set of connections that we have in our minds that we don’t even necessarily realize we have. And so that can sometimes stop us from expressing an idea making a basic connection that the audience still hasn’t made yet. And so the more you know about a topic, the harder it actually becomes to take a really good idea and make it sticky for a general audience. Because you really have to walk it back to its essence in a way that triggers something in the audience that maybe once was triggered for you, but in a different way.

Mark Slatin: And so, um, if someone’s trying to do a better job of this and they’re, then they’re currently doing, you know, what guidance, what guidance would you give them?

Megan Burns: So I give them a couple of pieces of guidance. Um, the first one is one idea, and this is probably the hardest thing for me to stick is that sticky ideas are elegantly simple. And what we used to call it Forrester tight. So it’s a core concept that can be very, it is by definition very powerful, but also very simple and very simply expressed. And so really thinking about if there’s one thing I wanted them to get, I sometimes when I’m working with clients, I’ll say, what is one thing that you want people to know that they didn’t know or believe that they didn’t believe? And so finding out that little thing you want to change, that’s really the first part of making an idea stick, because then it becomes about taking the essence of that idea and saying, how can I communicate this? in the most memorable and repeatable way. This is the other piece of advice I give people. I don’t care what you say in a meeting. I care what the audience in that meeting says in their next four meetings. And does anything you said stick with them enough that they can and do repeat it to other people? And engineering that little soundbite is a key way of implementing made to stick when you’re doing a presentation. And then you build, you can build out the details and supporting evidence from there. But if you engineer that soundbite, your idea is going to carry a lot further.

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Megan Burns: One of the other things that is really helpful in making ideas sticky is comparison. So people understand new things in relationship to old things. And so if you can think about a concept or a metaphor that your audience not only understands, but has really internalized and that has meaning to them, and you can link your idea to that. What you do is you kind of get all of the years of that other idea and that other metaphor that they’ve developed, you get all of that associated with your idea. So I’ll give you a concrete example. I had a client, a technology company, they have lots of technology, obviously their network, their IT network is a big part of it. And we were struggling to get them to measure more parts of the customer experience. And so we came up with the idea to say, would you ever run your technology network blind, without any analytics, without any monitoring, without any data? Which of course was patently absurd. You would never do something like that. And we said, well, that’s what you’re doing with your customers. your customers are having experiences, you are operating this network that is delivering experiences, and you have absolutely no visibility into it. And that, I could have said, you know, it’s important to monitor the entire customer experience because of this. I could have gone on and made a logical argument for days, but connecting it to something that they were already like, I would never do that. I didn’t have to say anymore. The client didn’t have to say anymore. They got it instantly.

Mark Slatin: Love it. I love it. Yeah. You reminded me of, and I’m gonna mess this up, but a story they share in the book about this association director who is involved in diet and health. And they did this study of, buttered popcorn and movie theater popcorn, which had like the worst kind of cholesterol and fat and all this. And he he had a presentation on he had on a desk talk about comparison. You know, he said this one medium size movie, buttered popcorn has the same amount of calories as this Big Mac, large fries, Coke and bacon cheeseburger combined. And it got, it went viral to your point earlier about how do you make these ideas go by and got on, you know, television and all. And over time, the theaters came together and said, we’re getting rid of that kind of butter in our popcorn. So that’s why popcorn doesn’t taste as good as it used to.

Megan Burns: Well, I’m always a big fan of just making my own popcorn at home, but yeah. And there’s something else about that example and that idea that I think is really important to mention, which is that it’s surprising. This is another element of sticky ideas. It’s not just that they’re sort of profound and tightly expressed. When an idea is surprising, when it sort of breaks what people are expecting, That makes people take notice because our brains are wired to notice things that don’t follow the normal patterns. We ignore the stuff that follows the normal patterns because otherwise we’d be overwhelmed. So if you can take a comparison like that and make it and have them go, no way, really? Oh, yeah, actually, really, that is true. Another example of this that came up in the book club was the number of minutes you would have to exercise to work off one potato chip or a bag of a small bag of potato chips or something that as a point of comparison. It takes a lot more, you know, might take 10 miles of walking to work off one bag of potato chips, and suddenly that calculus of how badly do I want that bag of potato chips can potentially change.

Mark Slatin: Well, no, I hear what you’re saying, and that’s a good segue into my next question, which is around. Imagine you’re sitting around the table and you you’re with the C-suite and you’re trying to make the case for some CX initiatives, CX improvement that you believe will have a big impact on business outcomes via a better experience, happier customers, more loyal customers, et cetera. Where do you strike a balance between sharing? Some would argue, hey, look, they’re used to looking at numbers all day. They look at financial statements. They look at income statements. They’re looking at margins and growth, et cetera. They don’t need to hear stories. Just show them the numbers. Show them how the numbers relate and the ROI of CX or whatever. Where do you strike a balance?

Megan Burns: That’s a great question. I find stories really powerful for creating a mental image of a reality that they don’t realize exists. So you might tell a story of a customer. who did something. Actually, I’ll give you an example of this from my own life. I have a family member who’s older, incredibly intelligent, but generally not a tech lover. And said, I can’t install apps on my phone. And I said, well, why can’t you install apps on your phone? Well, every time I try to do the thing to approve it with the touch ID, it just doesn’t do anything. And this person has an iPhone SE because they like the physical home button, right? They make those for a reason. This person was seeing the little white box in the middle with a little red fingerprint as the signal of use touch ID and touching that red fingerprint, not the button.

Mark Slatin: Right.

Megan Burns: And I went, as soon as I found that out, I went, well that is a completely reasonable thing to do. It never would have occurred to me because I have the curse of knowledge, but that is a completely reasonable thing to do. And so a story like that that makes people go, oh, OK, I never would have thought that someone would do it this way, but I can appreciate how they would, that sort of opens the conversation for the fact that there’s an opportunity to improve something that maybe we didn’t necessarily know needed improvement. But I think ultimately when you get to the understanding the magnitude or communicating the magnitude, this is another mistake I think people make, is if you go into a business case and your goal is to convince people that your idea is a good idea, you might as well not even bother. Because everybody who walks in that door has a good idea. You need to convince them that this is the best idea right now. compared to all the other ideas. So stories about, and it doesn’t have to be an anecdote of something that actually happened. It could be a vision of a future story. If we don’t do this, here’s what could happen. If we continue along on the current trajectory, Or, you know, there were other companies that maintained the status quo, and it was fine until it wasn’t, not because they had changed anything, but their customers had changed. You know, so that’s the other place where you can use stories is to envision the future and to think about playing out the different scenarios of if we do this, if we don’t do this, and what does that future potentially look like?

Mark Slatin: Yeah, I think that’s a really good point, Megan, about comparative choices that CEOs have. And it’s one of the reasons why I think people are really quick to migrate to the numbers when making their case and say, look, I’ve got a formula that proves that there’s a 9% ROI or whatever the number is. And I think I’m sitting around the room. And if you aren’t on the C-suite team and you’re invited in to make a presentation, You’re probably one, like I was, and a number of eight other people in this rotation that’s coming through to talk to them and really presenting. Some of them are stuff we have to do like regulatory management and others are ones that are really options about where do we invest our money. And the point I would make is that, yes, you have to have both. You have to have numbers, you know, and data to support whatever your recommendation is. But at the end of the day, they’ve got, you know, decision and tell me what you think about the decision A from department, just call it X, that has a Y return. and this Z investment. And then you’ve got Department B that has a G cost and a H return. And there are different timelines. They affect different constituents. There’s ones that have bigger revenue potential. Some have cost cutting. Some have fair risk mitigation. The advantages. And then you’ve got all the C-suite people around the table have different motivations, even though they’re supposed to. where I guess you could argue both their department hat as well as their corporate hat. So the argument I make is that so many of these decisions do involve emotion, as much as people say it’s all about the numbers.

Megan Burns: Oh, they all and ironically, the numbers prove that they involve emotion. I have gone and talked to executive and C-suite teams about the role of emotion in B2B decision-making. And I show them very valid data from all sorts of studies, and they disagree with me because they are emotionally attached to the idea that emotions don’t matter. And so they discount the data. So yeah, so you just accept that emotions are part of it, but you do, you have to, I think the time horizon thing is very valid. Human beings are terrible at choosing longer term over short term. So that’s something that you’re always gonna be fighting. That’s another place where stories can be helpful if you have stories in the past of where you deferred things because it was a longer term thing and then suddenly it came back to bite you. We saw that in the pandemic a lot, saying that this could be another example like this if we don’t do this now, where are we gonna be in a few years? I think you also have to recognize that people like things that are familiar. So if they are used familiar and, and straightforward. So if they understand how launching a new product is going to generate revenue. That familiarity and simplicity is part of the equation of their decision. So your challenge is to say, how do I take something that is less direct, like customer experience, and draw that line for them so they can see how doing that. So for example, we often will talk about likelihood to recommend or NPS. I say bring it back a degree. How is this going to impact our ability to get reference clients? Because any B2B CEO, any B2B executive knows the power of reference clients and the limitations of only having a few. So the math from someone being a reference client to all the future deals that helps us close, they already know that math. So if we can back it up and say this is, you know, going to make more people more willing to be reference clients or we think it will, that shortens that connection in their mind and makes it similarly concrete to other things that they might already be familiar with. So looking for ways to shorten the distance a little bit in their minds.

Mark Slatin: Yeah, and you can use that in your own business because you know, The ABC printing company that was a major client that went out of business because people don’t use business forms anymore. They use digital documents. And that’s close to home for me because I worked for Standard Register for eight years and that business got disrupted. And so, but everyone in the organization knows about that story and that that’s the story maybe you want to pull the threads on, right?

Megan Burns: Yeah, those comparisons, there was another, as we were preparing for this, another example that came to my mind, not from customer experience, but five words, sitting is the new smoking. That is extremely powerful. That is only powerful because of 20, 30, 40 years of education and repetition on the dangers of smoking. It’s also really surprising because you think, oh, sitting isn’t that bad. But just by making that one comparison, and the alliteration helps too, but can you find those like, let’s not be, let’s not end up being, let’s not make the same mistake that other people did.

Mark Slatin: I just want to expand on this where I know I fall into the trap I want to explain how things work. I want to, for me, it’s helpful for me to know the why I’m, I’m cursed with that defect. Right. So, so because that, because of that, I naturally go there. Other people don’t want to know, like, it’s really clear. These CEOs are just tell me what it does. Like, what’s the benefit or what does it do? I don’t need to know the how.

Megan Burns: But they want to feel confident that you know the how. So when I was taught speech writing and presentation crafting, I was taught to flip the pyramid. Because usually we want to say this, and then this, and then this, and therefore this. And we make a conclusion. But nobody else knows where we’re going with those first three things until we get to the end. So we like to talk deductively. I think this is the right way. But people like to hear the opposite way. So when I first write out a presentation, I will usually do that and then I will take the thing at the end and bring that up to the front and say, okay, so now here’s the point. Now let me tell you why that is. Yeah. And what that allows you to do is first of all if your meeting gets cut short, and you have to cut time, you can say I won’t go into the why if you want to know let me know. And you make sure you get your points across, but it also lets you sort of expanding contract. how you describe that why for the audience you’re talking to. Because it could be some people want to know why to a certain degree, other people want to know why in more depth. But yeah, flipping that order of how we think versus how other people hear.

Mark Slatin: Yeah. As you’re talking, an example comes to mind, if I’m speaking with the C-suite, you might start off with something like, The biggest place we’re losing customers is in the onboarding process. We’re losing them there. And rather than say, you know, we did these studies and the research told us that NPS at this point in the journey was 82. But later than, you know, we found out it was 95 and satisfaction was lower. And our employees are telling us this was causing a problem, this technology, whatever the whole, all those details were. The bottom line is we got to do something about onboarding.

Megan Burns: And that’s also where your own personal and professional confidence comes in. And this was again, something that being an analyst forced me, it was our job to make the call. Couldn’t equivocate. We couldn’t, well, it’s kind of this and it’s kind of this and it’s kind of this. That nuance was important, but ultimately people would look to us and say, okay, cut to the chase, what’s the bottom line? And a lot of people don’t feel confident making that call. Well, what if I’m wrong? What if I’m, if you’ve done the research to convince yourself that this is in fact true, then, and again, it’s your personal comfort level. But I feel comfortable going in and saying, you know, the biggest thing that you should focus on right now is this. And we can argue over that and there is no right answer. So I almost think I almost sometimes call it the no brainers. Is there something you can say that is a no brainer that nobody would disagree with and then kind of anchor and build on that?

Mark Slatin: You know, going back to the flip the pyramid, remind me, I think in the book, it talked about don’t bury the headline.

Megan Burns: Don’t bury the lead.

Mark Slatin: Don’t bury the lead. Thank you. Thank you.

Megan Burns: And that’s a that’s a journalist. That’s a journalism term. That’s a, you know, writing articles term. What’s the point? What’s the number one thing that people need to know?

Mark Slatin: Yeah.

Megan Burns: Go down and add successive detail. Yeah, it’s the exact same concept.

Mark Slatin: Yeah, and Charlie Green, who wrote The Trusted Advisor, co-authored it, talks about this idea of him sitting in a sales call in your part of the woods in the Boston area when he recently graduated college there. And he’s following his boss and the guy asks him, so what do you know about industrial consumables? And he thought to himself, oh, crap, I better have the best answer or I’m not going to get this deal. And the boss is sitting right here watching me. And in his mind, he thought about, well, let’s see, we do some work with with light industrials, we do some work with steel, we do some work with blah, blah, blah. And his boss jumped in and said, none that I can think of. Is there anything else you want to talk about? And he’s basically saying, I don’t know. you know, and admitting that he doesn’t know. And the guy said, heck, I asked that to all the salespeople who first come in here and want our business. No, I’m just talking about sandpaper. And it became known as a sandpaper story. So, so to your point about, Hey, if you really don’t know, don’t pretend you do.

Megan Burns: And we think that saying we don’t know makes us look less credible. Right. In, in a healthy culture, that is not true. There are toxic cultures we’re not knowing, but even you look at the core essence of Microsoft’s culture transformation, Satya Nadella, the way he describes it is, we needed to go from a know-it-all culture to a learn-it-all culture. So instead of thinking you’re the smartest person in the room or feeling like you have to prove you’re the smartest person in the room, that the real value was in being the most curious person in the room.

Mark Slatin: Yeah, love that. Love that. Megan, we got to land the plane here soon and this has been so much fun. What did we not hit relative to sticky ideas or stories that we should have hit?

Megan Burns: Only other thing I would say relative to sticky ideas is iterate, right? We constantly tell people that design is iterative with experiences. Design is iterative with stories. People hear me speak and then I have these sort of mic drop moments and I’m like, well, yeah, that’s been refined because I said it a different way that was less powerful. And then I saw what landed and it’s been 10 years. So the more you float your ideas to people and saying them in different ways, That feedback is invaluable in helping you figure out what is ultimately going to land. So don’t feel like you have to get this brilliant mic drop moment or repeatable quote right off the bat. I’ve had in my own business, I’ve spent two or three months brainstorming with other folks about what’s the five word, four word phrase that is gonna be the way I articulate this. It’s not easy. But it is worth the time. And the more you iterate, the better it’ll get.

Mark Slatin: Yeah, there was one you shared in Orlando at the Leaders Advance Conference for CXPA about consistently good. Help me figure out the rest.

Megan Burns: Sure. Consistently good, strategically amazing. And that’s my definition of experience. And the funny thing is, if you go watch my speaker reel, I say that, but I actually say consistently good and occasionally amazing. Because the point I was trying to make in that particular speech was that you don’t have to blow it out of the water all the time. But then I realized that occasionally amazing was kind of like this. All right, well, when should you be amazing? And that phrase has evolved over time and half of me wishes I could go back and redo that speech and change it in my speaker reel. But even that is an example of one that I honed over a number of years and giving the same talk.

Mark Slatin: To your point about iterating. Yeah. So I’ve got some great gems here that you shared, simple or tight. use comparisons, get rid of jargon. You talked about flip the pyramid. Here we just talked about iterating. So many great gems in this. Let’s land the plane with the question I asked for everybody at the end of each of our discussions, which is, what advice would you give to your 20-year-old self?

Megan Burns: I would give the advice that my mother gave my 20-year-old self. Which is, you never pass a class, you pass a teacher. And that is… So I had a professor who I didn’t like the way he was grading papers. People who I thought phoned it in were getting better grades than me. And I was righteously indignant. And I needed to learn that righteous indignation is a really useless emotion. And my mother said, you never pass a class, you pass a teacher. So you have two choices. You can continue to do what you think is the right way to do it and recognize that this guy’s probably not going to give you the grade you want. Or you can do things the way he wants to see them, get the grade and move on. This was an elective. It was not something I knew so I said okay fine, I’m going to do with this guys thinks we should do whether I think it’s right or not, and go forward kind of a picking your battles but this idea that you never make a business case that is purely objective because you’re making it to people. There is always a human interpreting and making decisions about the thing at the other end. And so don’t get so fixated on the sort of objective criteria that you forget that ultimately it’s a person you have to win over.

Mark Slatin: Well said, great lesson.

Megan Burns: Yeah, that was a good one. She did good with that one.

Mark Slatin: All right, well, Megan, what would be the best way for people if anyone interested in getting a hold of you?

Megan Burns: The easiest way is probably to go to LinkedIn. You can also go to my website, which is Megan, M-E-G-A-N dash Burns, B-U-R-N-S dot com. But honestly, it’s it’s probably easiest to just go to LinkedIn and message me there or follow me there and we can get in contact that way.

Mark Slatin: Excellent. Megan, thank you so much for being back on the show.

Megan Burns: Quite welcome. And hopefully we can we can do it again soon. There’s no shortage of things to talk about.

Mark Slatin: So now love getting into conversations with you. All right. Thanks. Thanks for listening to the Delighted Customers podcast. If you’ve enjoyed this episode or any of my other ones, hit subscribe or follow. I’ve got a lot of other great guests that are coming up and a lot of other great content. I don’t want you to miss anything. You can find any links or references on the show in the show notes, and you can find those at my website at EmpoweredCX.com. That’s E-M-P-O-W-E-R-E-D C-X dot com. Also, make sure to check out the other shows in the Agile Brand Podcast Network by going to www.agilebrandguide.com. The Delighted Customers Podcast with Mark Slayton is produced by Missing Link, a Latina-owned, strategy-driven, creatively-fueled production co-op. From ideation to creation, they craft human connections through intelligent, engaging, and informative content.