Shared Experiences

How do you get to know people when they are inherently unknowable?

You look at a painting and see a magical combination of dark reds, vibrant greens, and underwater blue combining to create an image that rolls off the canvas into your retina. Then it continues until it gets translated in your brain and somehow moves you to tears. 

You can feel the gentle glide of curved glass slide into your palm as you lift a glass of wine to your nose and introduce it to a world of chemicals. But those chemicals aren’t analyzed into a spider graph of broken down components. Instead, they flood your mind with memories of campfires and rose gardens. You imagine a sunset. You hear the voice of your grandfather as you sit in the garden and spit grape seeds into an empty coffee can. 

But none of us experience the same things from those moments. Each of our brains take in the same sensory data, but we translate it into completely different memories, comparisons, and emotional cues. 

This is what makes it so hard to guide people into a shared experience of the whiskey or wine in a glass. Each person around you is carrying a unique and fully created world inside their mind. A world that is truly separate from yours. 

How do you truly connect with people within that inescapable reality?

How do you draw people to your brand while telling a true and authentic story of your company? How do you effectively broadcast your service when everyone around you is at some level unknowable?

I believe the answer is shared experience. You have to remove yourself from your own jigsaw reality and stand back to see the universal picture that it creates. 

We’re always telling business owners that their origin story is the most important thing they can communicate to their consumers. But it’s not just your autobiography we’re trying to package and promote. 

People can be impressed by the way in which you’re truly unique. But they can only be moved when you share the way in which your flaws and struggles overlap with the grand story of being human. 

We admire heroes. We relate and connect with other human beings. 

If you can get a rare moment of attention in this world, it’s important to share your story. But make sure that precious time is spent talking about the things we have in common. Contribute to the grand story of what it’s like to be a human on this beautiful, broken planet. 

Daniel Whittington – Chancellor