My articles will summarize key concepts and shared insights from the book. Check out this month’s reviewed book:
Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip and Dan Heath
Summary: The book in a few sentences
Make ideas sticky so the concept is more interesting (and harder to forget).
Use the acronym* and keep these six principles in mind:
- Simple — find the core of any idea
- Unexpected — grab people’s attention by surprising them
- Concrete — make sure an idea can be grasped and remembered
- Credible — give an idea believability
- Emotional — help people see the importance of an idea
- Stories — empower people to use an idea through narrative
*(spells SUCCES minus the last “s”)
Quotes and Keys Ideas
Below is a list of key ideas I found while reading the book. The bullet points below include direct quotes from the book and informal notes I made while reading.
“The more we reduce the amount of information in an idea, the stickier it will be.”
This is the idea of finding the “core” of a message, which can be the most challenging part when distilling your message or idea.
“Commander’s Intent” employed by the military to simplify operational instructions for battlefield units confronted with the fact that “No plan survives contact with the enemy;” paring down the ’92 Clinton campaign message to “It’s the economy stupid;”
Find the core: Determine the single most important thing, being careful not to bury the lead.
“The Curse of Knowledge: when we are given knowledge, it is impossible to imagine what it’s like to LACK that knowledge.
“Knowledge curses us, if we find it hard to imagine what it was like not to know it. And it becomes difficult to share our knowledge with others because we can’t readily re-create our listener’s state of mind.”
“We can’t unlearn what we already know and there are only two ways to beat the curse, the first is not to learn anything, the second is to transform our ideas.”
“The first problem of communication is getting people’s attention.”
The second problem is keeping it. Break expected communication patterns: An example is a Southwest Airline attendant rapping the preflight safety instructions.
“If I already intuitively “get” what you’re trying to tell me, why should I obsess about remembering it? The danger, of course, is that what sounds like common sense often isn’t…. It’s your job, as a communicator, to expose the parts of your message that are uncommon sense.”
“To make our communications more effective, we need to shift our thinking from “What information do I need to convey?” to “What questions do I want my audience to ask?”
“Work to make the core message itself more interesting.”
“Create a need for closure.”
Creating information gaps are good in presentation, but can be a useful tactic with clients when using motivational interviewing.
“The Aha! experience is much more satisfying when it’s preceded by the huh experience.”
“Help people understand and remember by helping your audience coordinate ideas”
“The difference in an expert and a novice is the ability to think abstractly.”
Something becomes concrete when it can be described or detected by the human senses.
“Talk about people not about data”
“Use statistics as input not output. Use them to make up your mind on an issue.Don’t make up your mind and then go looking for the number to support yourself.”
Use authority figures to easily give credibility. When you cannot easily access authority, use these:
- Anti-Authority: Ex. A dying smoker to convince you that smoking is bad for you
- Details: Ex. Jurors granting custody in cases with abundant amount of details
- Statistics: Ex. Stephen Covey’s analogy of workplace to a soccer team.
“As we gain information we are more likely to focus on what we don’t know :” Someone who knows the state capitals of 17 of 50 states may be proud of her knowledge. But someone who knows 47 may think of herself as not knowing 3 capitals”
“People tend to overuse any idea or concept that delivers an emotional kick.”
Feelings inspire people to act. For people to take action, they have to care.
Create emotion in two ways:
- show how your idea is related to something your audience already cares about
- Appeal to your audience’s self interest
“People make decisions not based on logic but more often based on emotion.”
“Business managers seem to believe that, once they’ve clicked through a PowerPoint presentation showcasing their conclusions, they’ve successfully communicated their ideas. What they’ve done is share data.”
Creating stories that make sense and are related to your idea can be challenging . . . be always looking for story examples that you can adapt for your purpose.
Nothing is worse than 88 slide “death by PowerPoint” presentation.
“Stories are like simulation that tell people how to act. Stories with inspiration give people energy to act.”
Checkout these other books that influenced this blog post:
- Switch: How To Change When Change Is Hard (2010) by Chip and Dan Health
- Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make Big Differences (2006) by Malcolm Gladwell