Many of us struggle with how to communicate ideas effectively, how to get our ideas to make a difference. Good ideas often have a difficult time succeeding in an overcrowded marketplace.
Chip and Dan Heath, two brothers, and authors of Made to Stick share two steps to making your ideas sticky. By “sticky,” we mean that your ideas are understood and remembered, and have an ongoing impact.
The first step is to find the core. Last week I wrote about finding the core. Finding the core is about discarding a lot of great insights in order to let the most important insight shine. The example I used was, Herb Kelleher, the longest-serving CEO of Southwest Airlines. He once told someone, “I can teach you the secret to running this airline in thirty seconds. This is it: We are THE low-fare airline. Once you understand that fact, you can make any decision about this company’s future as well as I can.”
Today we will look at the second step to making your ideas sticky. Step 1 again is about the core. Step 2 according to Chip and Dan Heath is to translate the core using the following checklist which are six principles of sticky ideas:
Principle 1: Simple – “To strip an idea down to its core, we must be masters of exclusion. We must relentlessly prioritize.” Saying something short is not the mission. We must create ideas that are both simple and profound.
Principle 2: Unexpectedness – How do we get our audience to pay attention to our ideas? “We need to violate people’s expectations.” You can do this by “opening gaps” in peoples knowledge — and then filling those gaps.
Principle 3: Concreteness – We need to make our ideas clear. “Mission statements, synergies, strategies, visions — they are often ambiguous to the point of being meaningless. Naturally sticky ideas are full of concrete images because our brains are wired to remember concrete data.”
Principle 4: Credibility – Sticky ideas have to carry their own credentials. We need ways to help people test our ideas for themselves — a “try before you buy” philosophy.
Principle 5: Emotions – How do you get people to care about your ideas? You make them FEEL something.
Principle 6: Stories – How do you get people to act on your ideas? You tell stories and by doing so as the stories are swapped they multiply the experience.
Those are the six principles of successful ideas. To remember, think of the word SUCCESs, a clever acronym to cause it to stick. I also highly recommend reading the book, Made to Stick. The book will delve into all six principles and help think on how to make your ideas sticky.