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Made to Stick

Made to StickWhen communicating, are your messages getting through to recipients in the intended manner and tone, with the correct understanding?

Communication is one of the most important skills to learn – it is necessary in so many facets of life. Strong relationships with friends and family, as well as with colleagues at work, all depend, to some degree, on effective communication.

In their book Made to Stick, authors (and brothers) Chip and Dan Heath present an overview of six key elements that can make a message “stickier” – that is, more memorable for recipients. Not surprisingly, the elements can be summarized using a simple acronym that is easy to remember, “SUCCES”.

In general, effective messages tend to be at least several of the following:

Simple. They are tangible and can easily be processed and understood.

Unexpected. Think for a moment about some ads that you’ve seen. Have any caught you off guard? As outlined in a recent blog post, a bus shelter ad for the movie District 9 certainly did!

Concrete. Language is abstract, but life is not. When possible, try to be concrete and tangible in messaging. Avoid industry lingo or slang, particularly when communicating with an audience who might not be familiar with the terminology.

Credible. Internal and external credibility are required to get a message across.

Emotional. How can we make people care about our ideas? We need to create empathy and appeal to our audience  – taking into accout who they are.

Stories. Stories stimulate and inspire, and they tend to withstand the test of time.

If you get a chance, I definitely recommend reading the book. Chip and Dan also have a regular column in Fast Company.