Length Don't Matter
Marshall wouldn't have been surprised if a spark had jumped the air between them. This was the moment of truth. But they just sat there, on the sofa, chatting about her day teaching kindergarten class. Neither of them made a move. Then, to their mutual surprise, Lily reached back and turned off the light. After a moment's hesitation, Marshall leaned in …and head-butted Lily in the nose. When the light went on again, blood and clothes scattered the lounge room. Marshall dabbed Lily's face clean with a warm sponge, they put the pillows back on the sofa, and they were back where they started, ready to do it again.This is the fifth in a series of posts for product managers seeking relationships. They start here.
Marketing is the business of passionate relationships
If all goes well, the moment will come when you are called to deliver on your promises –when you must perform. When that time comes, your goal should be to establish your performance indelibly in your partner's mind. Your performance must be memorable. Recent advances in science tell us how to do this.
Length doesn't matter. The duration of an experience makes very little difference to memory. Research into the phenomenon of duration neglect shows your partner's memory of the experience is determined by only two factors: i) the quality and intensity of the climax, and ii) the concluding moments.
|play's the thing!|
The timeless essence of memorable stories is visible in the narrative structure of Classical Drama. According to Aristotle, the function of Dramatic performance is catharsis, or release. In Classical narrative structure, the first part of the play builds to a release at the peak. The intensity of this climax can be enhanced by extending the fore-part of the play; but the duration of the foreplay is not important in itself, only the intensity of the climax.
The post-climactic phase of falling action, or resolution, tidies up any loose ends to provide a reassuring sense of closure. Modern dramatists prefer to keep the resolution phase as brief as possible, just long enough to put the tissues away. The emotional tone of this concluding phase will color the audience's future memory of the performance. This is why movies so often end with an up-beat song, and news articles with a pithy witticism.
Classical wisdom and modern science agree: the structure of your performance is critical. A strong climax and a reassuring resolution will leave your partners begging for an encore.
next post: the limits of decency
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