As I mentioned earlier, MADE TO STICK could be the breakthrough business book of 2007 for creatives, marketers, and anyone else responsible for communicating ideas and/or messages. (Anyone else includes … writers, teachers, lawyers, salespeople, project managers, pastors, rabbis, etc.) Communicating ideas that get people to not only understand you—but follow you—transcends whatever leadership role you are in. We can all learn to be better, more compelling, and more effective at communicating our ideas, right?
The authors of MADE TO STICK, Chip & Dan Heath, “… believe the best ideas have most of these traits: They are simple, core messages; they are unexpected; they are concrete, credible, and emotional, and they are stories.” [source: Inc. Magazine | Jan. 2007]
According to Chip & Dan, those traits form a checklist for creating ideas that stick. Simple Unexpected Concrete Credible Emotional Stories stand a better chance of sticking with people than do ideas presented in some willy-nilly, off-the-cuff way. To learn more, read this shorthand explanation of the MADE TO STICK checklist …
“It’s hard to make ideas stick in a noisy, unpredictable, chaotic environment. If we’re to succeed, the first step is this: Be simple. Not simple in terms of ‘dumbing down’ or ‘sound bites.’ What we mean by ‘simple’ is finding the core of the idea. ‘Finding the core’ means stripping an idea down to its most critical essence.” (pgs. 27, 28)
“The most basic way to get someone’s attention is this: Break a pattern. Humans adapt incredibly quickly to consistent patterns. Figure out what is counterintuitive about the message—i.e., What are the unexpected implications of your core message? Communicate your message in a way that breaks your audiences’ guessing machines.” (pgs. 64, 72)
“Abstraction makes it harder to understand an idea and to remember it. It also makes it harder to coordinate our activities with others, who may interpret the abstraction in very different ways. Concreteness helps us avoid these problems.” (pg. 100)
“How do we get people to believe our ideas? We’ve got to find a source of credibility to draw on. A person’s knowledge of details is often a good proxy for her expertise. Think of how a history buff can quickly establish her credibility by telling an interesting Civil War anecdote. But concrete details don’t just lend credibility to the authorities who provide them; they lend credibility to the idea itself.” (pgs. 138, 163)
“How can we make people care about our ideas? We get them to take off their Analytical Hats. We create empathy for specific individuals. We show how our ideas are associated with things that people already care about. We appeal to their self-interest, but we also appeal to their identities—not only to the people they are right now but also to the people they would like to be.” (pg. 203)
“A story is powerful because it provides the context missing from abstract prose. This is the role that stories play—putting knowledge into a framework that is more lifelike, more true to our day-to-day existence. Stories are almost always CONCRETE. Most of them have EMOTIONAL and UNEXPECTED elements. The hardest part of using stories effectively is make sure they’re SIMPLE—that they reflect your core message. It’s not enough to tell a great story; the story has to reflect your agenda.” (pgs. 214, 237)
… in closing…
“Those are the six principles of successful ideas. To summarize, here’s our checklist for creating a successful idea: a Simple Unexpected Concrete Credentialed Emotional Story. A clever observer will note that this sentence can be compacted into the acronym SUCCESs. This is sheer coincidence, of course. (Okay, we admit, SUCCESs is a little corny. We could have changed ‘Simple’ to ‘Core’ and reordered a few letters. But, you have to admit, CCUCES is less memorable.)” (pg. 18)
BLOGGER’S NOTE: The above post was compiled by digging deep into MADE TO STICK to highlight a few meaningful snippets. Consider this a sample, a tasty bite-size chunk from a book that is worth reading from cover-to-cover.