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Maksim Ustinov
Maksim Ustinov


Share the core: The key to motivating others with your ideas is to use the core message to help them make decisions as they apply your idea. The essential part is to make the message compact and to have it imply a sense of worth or priorities about how to implement it. (Or, to put it another way it needs to be both compact and profound.) For example, a newspaper editor liked to have his paper strongly - and only - reflect local issues. He had a motto of "names, names, and names." Note how this guides the individual decisions made by his reporters.

Made To Stick


So, a good process for making ideas sticker is: (1) Identify the central message you need to communicate -- find the core; (2) Figure out what is counter-intuitive about the message -- i.e., What are the unexpected implications of your core message? Why isn't it already happening naturally? (3) Communicate your message in a way that breaks your audience's guessing machines along the critical, counter-intuitive dimension. Then, once their guessing machines have failed, help them refine their machines.

A key is to always use a mystery story - even in science. As scriptwriters have learned curiosity is the intellectual need to answer questions and close patterns. Story plays to this universal desire by doing the opposite, posing questions and opening situations. So, they key is to open gaps first in presenting your ideas, then work to close them; the tendency is to give facts first. The local news uses this technique very well: They might bump with "There's a new drug sweeping the teenage community -- and it may be in your own medicine cabinet! The story after these ads." More sophisticated version of this include a Sony engineer who visualized a "pocket radio" or JFK and his idea of "a man walking on the moon." While these seem just like brilliant ideas, they are actually sticky: Both create surprise - radios are pieces of furniture, not something for a pocket; and men don't walk on the moon. Both create insight. Rather than leading us along a plodding route from one incremental step to the next, the ideas give us a sudden, dramatic glimpse of how the world might unfold. And not just how, but why.

Creating gapsRoone Arledge at ABC noted that most sporting events where done in a"facts first" way: The cameras started on the field and waited forthings to happen. He called it "like looking at the Grand Canyonthrough a peep hole." He changed the shows to feature the stadium, andthe town preparing for the game, etc. He created "gaps" that madepeople not from the area interested in the outcome from the game.

Of the six traits of "stickiness" described in this book being concrete is the easiest to accept and implement. (The hardest is likely finding the core message.) The power of being concrete is illustrated by the longevity of Aesop's fables. For some 2,500 years they have resonated and been remembered by humankind. They are a striking example of concreteness. For example, the story of the fox and the grapes ends with with the fox concluding that grapes out of his reach are likely sour -- hence the phrase "sour grapes", which appears in nearly every language. This provides a concrete image which lasts: Compare "sour grapes" to the conclusion "don't be such a bitter jerk when you fail." The latter has no staying power: It is naked fact.

This chapter tackles the emotional component of stickiness, but it's not about pushing people's emotional buttons, like some movie tearjerker. Rather, the goal of making message "emotional" is to make people care. Feelings inspire people to act. For people to take action, they have to care.

A key to making an idea sticky is to tell it as a story. Stories encourage a kind of mental simulation or reenactment on the part of the listener that burns the idea into the mind. For example, a flight simulator is much more effective than flash cards in training a pilot. The hard part about using a story is creating it. The best way to use a story is to always be on the look out for them. Most good stories are collected and discovered, rather than produced de novo. For example, Subway's powerful story of Jared, a man who lost 245 pounds by eating at the restaurant was discovered. (Compare the resonance of his story with the tagline they originally wanted to use: 6 under 7, i.e., six sandwiches with less than seven grams of fat.) The authors share the three major types of stories too look for.

Here's how a story helps rid one of the Curse of Knowledge. When explaining how to solve problems someone might say "Keep the lines of communication open." They are hearing in their heads a song filled with passion and emotion. They're remembering the experience that taught them those lessons -- the struggles, the political battles, the missteps, the pain. They are "tapping" -- as describe in the first paragraph of this document. They need to share the story of their trials. In fact, stories usually automatically meet other criteria for making ideas sticky: They are almost always concrete, they are often emotional and have unexpected elements. The real difficult is to be sure they are simple enough.

Last night's long flight from Florida's Sanibel Harbor seemed to go fast as I finished "Made To Stick" - that great new book by Chip and Dan Heath on how to make your messages sticky. I liked it so much I turned to my wife Dru Scott, (who had started reading it on the flight out until I snatched it back,) and said I was going to stick a bunch of copies up on the walls of our training room - that will use their 'Unexpected' principle' and stimulate our participants to be 'sticky' in creating their messages. Knowing my sense of exaggeration she said, "How about sticking just one copy - that will use their 'Simple' principle."

So that's 10 subsets of what I think are the three most important of the Made To Stick acronym, but there's so much more. This is an important book and one you should read and make part of your mindset if you want to be a great communicator. Or even a sticky one.

The Curse Of Knowledge is a theme that runs throughout the book as the villain to sticky ideas, and a very high barrier to messages that cause action, influence and change. And it is so true - detail, facts and figures, and the TIME we put into researching and preparation of our messages tends to blot out the principles that make ideas and communications effective and powerful.

Why is it easier to recall some things but not others? Teachers spend hours filling students with mitosis, only for it to be forgotten. Likewise, a Manager unveils the new strategy only to find the next day the employees continuing with the old strategy. In many cases we are only as effective as our power of communication. This book focuses on the key strategies that helps shape an idea into one that can stick. It uses a mnemonic, SUCCESs = Simple; Unexpected; Concrete; Credible; Emotional and Stories.

The authors have developed the SUCCESs model that helps make an idea sticky (NB not every idea needs to have all 7 elements of the model). Any good piece of communication needs to be focused (Simple), Create attention (Unexpected) Be understood and remembered (Concrete), Be agreed upon (Credible), Make people care enough (Emotion) and then to Do something about it (Story).

The easier it is for us to relate to something, the easier it is for us to understand it (and hence remember it). thus if we can visualize it or link it into our own personal lives the better chance of it being sticky.

In a study for Goodyear tyres, people were asked to visualize the benefits they would get from safer tyres. This led to higher levels of purchase intent (as they themselves made the sell very personal).

The story of Jared (a 425lb student who lost 100lbs by eating Subway everyday) did more to shift the perception of subway as unhealthy than any campaign could have done. It follows the SUCCESs model as its simple (eat subway-lose weight); Unexpected (healthy food from unhealthy fast food chain); Concrete (100lbs, smaller jeans etc); Credible (look at the before and after photos); Emotional and Story (Man overcomes big odds to triumph). This story reminds us that sometimes we do not need to create stickiness but just find it.

In one experiment based on debating society at Stanford, the audience were asked to recall information from each of the talks. They found the ones that used story were recalled in greater detail than those that relied on facts and data (63% Vs 5%). Its difficult to make statistics stick

Made to Stick is about the art of making ideas unforgettable, or "sticky" as the authors call it. The writing is solidly researched and draws extensively on studies of memory, emotion and motivation, along with countless real-life examples. My only criticism of the book is that I felt it could be a little bit more practical at times, with more emphasis on practical examples instead of long anecdotes (although that is consistent with the principles of their book). Regardless, Made to Stick is an invaluable guide to effective communication that I'd recommend to anyone and plan on re-reading in the near future.

Concreteness - make the audience understand and remember - How do we makeour ideas clear? We must explain our ideas in terms of human actions, and interms of sensory information. This is where so much business communicationgoes awry. eg. mission statements, visions, strategies are often ambiguous tothe point of being meaningless. Naturally, sticky ideas are full of concreteimages because our brains are wired to remember concrete data. Speakingconcretely is the only way to ensure that our idea will mean the same thing toeveryone in the audience.

Concreteness makes targets transparent. Abstract goals like "the next greatsearch engine" or "the best passenger plane in the world" do not fully alignefforts unless the goal is made concrete. Concreteness creates a shared "turf"on which people can collaborate. 041b061a72


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