Someone said ‘ideas rule the world’. I say, ideas well communicated, capable of moving people into action, rule the world.We all want to communicate to people and have them remember us. We have great ideas about how we see the world and the world we want to create. You want to write that cover letter and stand out among thousands of other applicants to your potential employer, you want to make an inspiring presentation to potential investors on why your business idea is what they should fund.
We all need one key tool. We don’t just want to share our ideas, we want our ideas to stick. To move people into action.We want people to see exactly what we are seeing.We want to bring our ideas to life.
What is it that makes some ideas, messages stick and we forget a lot of others? Here is the question Chip and Dan Heath set out to explore in their book, Made to Stick. This widely successful book traces the key ingredient behind communicating ideas so they become ‘sticky’.
The Heath brothers laid down 6 key principles necessary for making your ideas stick. Tey call it the ‘S.U.C.C.E.S.s factor.
Principle 1: Simplicity
Don’t misunderstand this as being short in length; it means stripping an idea down to its core. A successful defense lawyer says, “If you argue ten points, even if each is a good one, the jury won’t remember any.” It means to relentlessly prioritize, and create ideas that are both simple and profound.
Principle 2: Unexpectedness
How do we get our audience to pay attention to our ideas, and stay interested? Surprise always grabs people’s attention, so use it as a means to open the way.Surprise, however, doesn’t last; it is not enough. For our ideas to endure they must, first, generate interest and curiosity to open gaps in people’s knowledge;then, we fill those gaps.
Principle 3: Concreteness
How do we make our ideas clear? We have to avoid ambiguity and abstractions, and explain ideas in terms of human actions and vivid images.
Principle 4: Credibility
How do we make people believe our ideas? When former surgeon general C. Everett Koop talks about a public health issue he has credibility—people believe him. But, everyone does not have this kind of platform.Sticky ideas have to carry there own credentials, and draw people into testing them.
Principle 5: Emotions
How do we get people to care about our ideas? We make them feel something. Research shows that people are more likely to make a charitable gift to a single needy individual than to an impoverished nation. We are wired to feel things for people, not abstractions.
Principle 6: Stories
How do we get people to act on our ideas? We tell stories. Hearing stories acts as a kind of mental flight simulator, preparing us to respond more quickly and effectively.
These are the six principles of successful ideas. In order to sum up these principles, an acronym may act as a checklist for creating a successful idea: Simple ,Unexpected,Concrete,Credentialed,Emotional,Story (SUCCESs). Many of these seem like common sense.
So, why are we not deluged with sticky ideas?