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Why do Some Ideas Stick & Others Die ?

We are in a world where mottos like "Follow your dreams" spearhead our ambitions. I doubt there's ever been a generation that shapes their lives on dreaming out loud as much as those of the 20th & 21st century. However, with so many people compelled to start their own businesses and launch their own initiatives, the question becomes: How do I make my idea stand out and stick?

Goodreads SummaryWhy do some ideas thrive while others die? And how do we improve the chances of worthy ideas? In Made to Stick, accomplished educators and idea collectors Chip and Dan Heath tackle head-on these vexing questions. Inside, the brothers Heath reveal the anatomy of ideas that stick and explain ways to make ideas stickier, such as applying the “human scale principle,” using the “Velcro Theory of Memory,” and creating “curiosity gaps.”

While reading this book on effective communication, it truly jolted me out of my normal tactics of communication. I can't count the number of times I'd be excited about an idea and try to inject my excitement into those around me only to be left wondering "How do I get them to care? Really care?" As I read, I saw how I've been doing things all wrong, BUT the Heaths don't leave you in your hopelessness. They equip you with numerous organized strategies to help make any idea stick. 

In summary, the 6 principles that make an idea stick (SUCCESs): 

  • Simplicity: Strip your Idea down to the very core.
  • Unexpectedness: Your Idea must be new; it must vary from preconceived notions of similar ideas.
  • Concreteness: Use practical stories and real world applications to explain your Idea.
  • Credibility: You as the owner of the idea must be or develop credibility as a person.
  • Emotion: Appeal to emotion as you articulate your idea. It often makes people act.
  • Stories: Telling the Idea in a story will captivate people.

These strategies may seem like common sense to most of us but the reality is that they're terribly under applied. Heath writes that "business managers seem to believe that, once they've clocked through a PowerPoint presentation showcasing their conclusions, they've successfully communicated their ideas," but "what they've done is share data." 

Sticky ideas shock, move and convince us. "If you want your ideas to be stickier, you've got to break someone's guessing machine and then fix it."

This text is for the communicator in all of us. Chip and Dan Heath offer several illustrations of how these strategies can be applied in various aspects of life while still being VERY readable. The Heaths call its readers to a standard of excellence without intimidating the novice.

 A few of my favorite sticky quotes ;) 

"Belief counts for a lot, but belief isn't enough. For people to take action, they have to care." 

"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." 

"One of the worst things about knowing a lot, or having access to a lot of information, is that we're tempted to share it all." 

“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." 

Let me know your thoughts below :) 
Until next time 

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  1. As someone who communicates daily as a teacher and young pastor this post made me want to go get this book. I loved the quote about belief being a lot but not enough, you have to make people care. That is a communicators top goal. Amazing!

    Tyreke Wesley

  2. First off... welcome to blogging and thanks for stopping by my blog to comment.

    I work in communications and every now and then, we are asked to promote new products or to present existing services in a different way. Getting those ideas to stick and getting people to buy into them is always a challenge. I find that I often have to create a need first. If I do that, I sometimes get lucky ;)