Over the years, numerous business ideas, philosophies and approaches have flooded our world, particularly with the proliferation of the Internet. But what makes one idea catch on with the masses and others fall to the wayside?

“Made to Stick,” by brothers Chip and Dan Heath, is an attempt to explain this peculiar fact and many others like it. Why is it that some ideas “stick,” remaining vivid in memory and calling on people to act, whereas others just fade away? Is it in the nature of the ideas themselves, or does it have something to do with how they are “packaged”? And if the latter, are there lessons to be learned about packaging that will help people who are trying to influence public opinion and action?

The brothers ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú who are experts in organizational behavior — have written a book that lays out the six core ingredients and illustrates them with powerful examples. A useful mnemonic device, the components are organized by the acronym “SUCCES.” To stick, ideas should be Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotion-evoking and entrenched in Stories.

We?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢ve provided a brief overview of the book and these six basic principles:

Principle 1: Simplicity
How do we find the essential basis of our ideas? To narrow an idea down to its core, we must prioritize and narrow thoughts. Saying something short is not the goal. You need a one-sentence statement so insightful that a person could spend a lifetime learning to follow it.

Principle 2: Unexpectedness
How do we get our audience to pay attention to our ideas, and how do we maintain their interest when we need time to get the ideas across? We need to be counterintuitive. We can engage people’s curiosity over a long period of time by systematically “opening gaps” in their knowledge- and then filling those gaps.

Principle 3: Concreteness
How do we make our ideas clear? We must explain our ideas in terms of human actions, in terms of sensory information. This is where so much business communication goes awry. Mission statements, synergies, strategies, visions-they are often ambiguous to the point of being meaningless. Speaking concretely is the only way to ensure that our idea will mean the same thing to everyone in our audience.

Principle 4: Credibility
How do we make people believe our ideas? 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 for the world of ideas. When we’re trying to build a case for something, most of us instinctively grasp for hard numbers. But really, the goal is to ask help people ask questions that inspire them to think how an idea might apply to them on a personal level.

Principle 5: Emotions
How do we get people to care about our ideas? We make them feel something. Statistics usually don?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t elicit emotions. We are wired to feel things for people, not for abstractions. Sometimes the hard part is finding the right emotion to harness.

Principle 6: Stories
How do we get people to act on our ideas? We tell stories. Research shows that mentally rehearsing a situation helps us perform better when we encounter that situation in the physical environment. Similarly, hearing stories acts as a kind of mental flight simulator, preparing us to respond more quickly and effectively.

To read further, visit www.madetostick.com.

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