Two weeks ago I wrote a review of Made to Stick and planned a follow-up post regarding libraries. Libraries are not great at marketing themselves and Made to Stick offers simple ways to improve communication. In Made to Stick, the Heath brothers talk about identifying the core. When you cut through all the jargon or extraneous sentences, what are you trying to say? What’s the core message you’re trying to communicate?
How do ideas stick in our minds? What is it about those ideas that makes them so hard to shake? In Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, Chip and Dan Heath answer these questions and more in a way that’s entertaining and easy to understand.
In the introduction the Heath brothers lay out the keys to making ideas stick. Ideas need to be simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, emotional, and contain a story. Each chapter that follows focuses on one of those topics.
One central idea to the book is the curse of knowledge. How do experts communicate with non-experts? In other words, how does our knowledge blind us to the perspective of a novice? The more familiar a person is with a topic or an area of study, the easier it is for them to talk abstractly and assume their message comes across. Meeting your audience in the middle ground is not the same as dumbing down your message.