- You can either read this for the first time and take back some key points to implement in your life/work.
- If you have already this book, this would be a good read to remind what you read long back in just10 minutes.
- Or if you are an avid reader and have not read this book yet, read these snippets and if it sounds interesting please go and order your copy right now from flipkart or amazon. :)
In the end it's the takeaway from the article that matters. Understand the concepts by reading the full book, since it explains with apt examples.
This book gives 6 key points to put down your ideas in the best way to your audience and become successful. Improves your communication in corporate as well as personal life.
Read on... If you have any doubts about the book or skeptical before buying it, don't forget to comment your queries below. We'll get Sandy to reply for you. :)
1. Kidney heist - When a person is sitting in a bar, a lady walks to him and asks him if she can offer him a drink and he says ok, when he opens his eyes he is lying in a bath tub covered with ice cubes and there is a note which says "Call 911" and a phone is placed in a table next to the bath tub. When he calls 911, they are already aware of the situation, they ask him to check if there is a tube behind his back, he checks and says it is. Immediately they say that one of your kidney has been harvested and wait pediatrics are on their way.
2. Now how few ideas stick and others don’t -> CSPI's popcorn's bad effects -> compare that with greasy food and show the audience that is equal to all of that together.
3. From a study we come to know that not all ideas require stickiness, but some ideas may be 1 in a week require to stick -> So how are we going to do this?
4. All sticky idea share same traits, which make them sticky
5. There are 6 principles which make the ideas stick:
a. Simplicity - If you are idea is not simple, it might not stick. We must create ideas which are both simple and profound.
b. Unexpectedness - We need to violate people's expectations. We can use surprise (but surprise might not work always).
c. Concreteness - We must explain ideas in terms of human actions. (Like ice filled bath tubs)
d. Credibility - Try before you buy philosophy.
e. Emotions - How do we make people care about our ideas -> People from a study we come to know donate more to a person than a group of people
f. Stories - We can tell stories
6. There are no licensed stickologist :). We know that the above principles are quiet easy to follow yet we are not able to make ideas stick. Why is that?
7. Its because there is a villain in our story :) -> Curse of knowledge
8. Tappers and listeners -> When the tappers tap they can listen to the sound. For egs: happy birthday in their mind, but the listener thinks its just a beat of drums without any music -> When they are tapping they do not know how listener will hear -> this is the curse of knowledge. Once we know something, it is hard for us to understand how it would be to not know it :). Our knowledge has cursed us.
9. The tappers and listeners are CEO's and workers, teachers and students etc. There is enough of differences (There is tune playing in your head when you are explaining something, but it is just a tap of drums for audience)
10. There is absolutely no way by which we can unlearn what we have learnt, except for the below 2:
a. One way is to not learn anything
b. Take your ideas and transform them
11. 85% of the award winning ads were said to follow 6 principles mentioned above
12. By following the 6 templates -> We could teach creativity
1. Finding the core of South west Airlines - CEO of South West Airlines once said anyone can run this company provided they understand what I tell you in 30 seconds, We are the "Low Fair Airline", so if a flight attendant comes and asks you that can we serve Chicken salad instead of peanuts from Houston to Dallas, then we just ask one question, does serving chicken salad makes us the "Low Fair Airline", if yes go ahead else no :). There can be concentric circles, where the innermost circle will be "The low fair airline", outer circle will be "Have fun". Having a birthday song singing for a flight attendant would be fine because it still makes them the low fair airline, but if there was a celebration then it would incur loss for cleaning :)
2. Burying the lead - Inverted pyramid is what the journalist adopt -> they put the most important information in the beginning unlike a novel writer who puts the most important information during the end like a suspense thriller. Burying the lead means burying the most important part somewhere in the end. We should unbury the lead.
3. If you say 3 things you don’t say anything - It’s the economy stupid.
4. Why is prioritization so difficult - Think about a situation, where students after the exams were asked would you go on a trip, when asked if you failed would you like to go they said yes, when asked if you pass would you go they still said yes, then in both the cases they were willing to go -> but when the results had not come, they wanted to wait for the result before going -> this is uncertainty principle . Paralysis can also be affected with choices. Decoy effect.
5. Idea Clinics - How an idea can be made stickier
6. Finding a core and communicating it to others - So that he will not be required to keep telling them again and again
7. Simple = Core + Compact
8. Suppose we have decided on the core and if we need to compact it, how are we going to cram too many things. Try remembering these letters, JF KF BI etc or try remembering now JFK FBI :) when we group we try to remember more easily. How is that remembering JF or JFK different, is it not remembering too much of information when we think of John F Kennedy instead of just JF, its because we already have developed muscles to remember everything about JFK, its just that we are not putting a pointer to this location which is easier. We have just seen that compact is not just enough to remember things, we have to have profound compact ideas which will stick, we have to tap the existing memory terrain of our audience. We use what is already there :)
9. How do we convert a freshman into an architect, Pomello is a large scale grapefruit (Now we are using grapefruit which is already there in your memory). Grapefruit is a schema which is already present in your brain. If you think about the other explanation that too had schema like tangy, citrus etc but these schema's are at a lower level and Grapefruit is at a higher level which comprises of all these schema's. It also consists of inverted pyramid (large grapefruit like)
10. Try this - how does "Maximize shareholder value" sound when compared to "The low fair airline" -> Which sticks? The 1st one is more accurate but not simple, second is simple but not very accurate, which one would you trade? Its always better to have sticky ideas than accurate ideas.
11. Why Hollywood movies refer other old movies as an analogy like Aliens - Jaws on a space ship (Its because they use our previous schema)
12. Using metaphors - Disney calls it employees cast members, they wear costumes not uniforms, they act not work, customers are guests. Like disney subway also creates a metaphor - they are called sandwich artist (but this metaphor does not make any sense, in dress, in presentation etc as in contrast with disney)
1. When an air hostess told safety instructions -> Everyone was attentive and everyone applauded :)
2. 1st part of communication is to get attention, most parents demand attention (Boby look at me :))
3. The most basic way to get someone's attention is to break the pattern -> People are always tuned into some pattern, we become attentive only when something changes
4. Our brain is designed to be keenly aware of changes
5. How do I get people's attention and how do I keep it? -> These are the 2 questions which will be answered in this chapter
6. Surprise and Interest get our attention
7. But can we plan unexpectedness? Is this not an oxymoron?
8. Consider a car commercial -> Where a car with a beautiful upholstery and a family is driving in a road with cup holders and everything fine, when suddenly a speeding car comes and a loud beaming sound appears at the background with glass shattered and a message pops up -> didn’t you see that coming? No one does -> Buckle up always. Now this commercial is unexpected because it violates our schema for car commercial
9. Whenever our guessing machine fails, unexpectedness arrives. Surprise arrives when our schema is violated
10. Surprise brow - When we are surprised our eye brows goes up, thereby making us to see once again or double check whether we saw it correctly
11. Avoiding gimmickry - An ad in super bowl where growling wolves attacked band players was a surprise but no message at all. It was a contrast with the car commercial. The car commercial reinforces the core message
12. To make an idea sticky:
a. Have a central core idea
b. Bring about the unexpectedness by breaking the audience's guessing machine
c. Fix the guessing machine by telling them the idea
13. Nordie who turned the tyre for a customer, who gift wraps the items brought at Macy's -> this is Nordstorm's motto. They tell unexpected stories about Nordie to the new joinees to violate their existing schema
14. By inducing mystery -> We can keep the attention of the audience till the end. By creating mystery the writer makes dust interesting
15. 1st level unexpectedness -> is violating the schema -> there is a boom and we refine that, when we say about a nordie's customer experience our previous customer experience schema is called and it is contradicting it all happens in a second and then it is refined, whereas in a mystery it’s a journey through which we will travel -> this is 2nd level of uenxpectedness
16. The Gap theory of Curiosity - George loewenstine - curiosity happens when we have gap in our knowledge, when we want to know something but we don’t, then an itch is generated -> the gap has to be filled, because of this we sit through most irritating movies to know the end. Crossword asks what is the 6 letter word, mystery novel asks who did it? :). Gaps start with knowledge. George says it’s the opposite, more knowledge you have you start to think of more gaps. One who knows the capitals of 40 states instead of 17 known by his friend thinks he does not know 10. That’s why gossip is so famous, because we know everything about an actor or actress but the curiosity is just because we do not know very few things :).
17. Some people might have too much gap about a topic which is abyss instead of a gap, in that case we need to fill up most of the abyss into a gap :)
18. Here's what you know and here's what you are missing :)
1. Wolf running for a grape which he could not get, walking away he said "It must be sour"
2. California is one of the 5 Mediterranean areas in the world. Its very precious. Break a big idea into small concrete ideas.
3. Understanding subtraction - What is concrete? If we can examine something with our senses then that is concrete -> Engine is concrete, customer satisfaction is abstract. While teaching maths which is abstract -> we can explain in concrete terms like 2 people are playing, then 2 more joined and 1 left -> How many are playing -> Now this is concrete rather than abstract
4. Concreteness is a basic principle of understanding. Concrete is memorable. People are better at remembering concrete ideas rather than abstract ideas.
5. Velcro theory of memory - What is it about concreteness that makes ur remember, actually everyone have a concept about memory that it is file storage system and when we want we can pull that particular file required. But think about it, each of the idea needs different filing system. Now think about the place where you spent your childhood, What is the definition of watermelon, what is the definition of truth, etc each of the command makes us feel differently because different sets of neurons are working because some are abstract and some are concrete. Memory is then more like a velcro (velcro consists one side of more number of loops and other side with more number of hooks) similarly our childhood memory has lots of loops tied to lots of hooks but whereas abstract concepts may have one or two hooks tied to loops :)
6. Brown eyes and blue eyes - A school teacher wanted to teach discrimination which was abstract, she chose a concrete example and divided the school into 2 groups, one with the brown eyes and other with blue eyes and said those who had brown eyes were superior, they get to sit in the front, they get extra time for recess and a special color collar has to be worn by blue eyed students. Then a brown eyed student asked the teacher how could she be the teacher because she too had blue eyes, then the next day teacher said there was a confusion, blue eyed students were superior and brown eyes not -> Instantly blue eyed student had gratification and had a glee. They performed better academically than yesterday. This is a simple way of explaining discrimination
7. If concreteness is so good, why do we slip into abstractness -> Its like americans travelling across the globe and talking in english slowly and loudly in order to be made understood by other local people (This is curse of knowledge)
8. Concrete allows co-ordination - Think about this situation -> Where there are 2 software engineers working on developing world's best search engine. For one it might mean to render all the world's information and for the other it might mean speed -> Hence if we are not concrete it is quiet difficult for co-ordination
9. Concreteness egs: Take a paper and a pen and set your timer for 15 secs and follow the instructions. Instruction1 - write down all the things which are in white in color. Instruction 2 - Reset your timer and write down all the things which are white in your refrigerator -> The second one gives more results than the first. Concreteness is a way of focusing your brain. Think of another egs: list down 5 silly things which you remember children doing and other one is list down 5 silly things which you remember your child has done. So if its so easy for our brains to focus on things when the idea is concrete think about a 4.5 million dollar deal?
10. Lets look at how PSI vs Unicef Chairman dealt with diseases due to less consumption of water, PSI gave a credible message that we needed to drink a lot of water …blah blah .. Etc vs Unicef Chief carried a packet of 1:8 salt and sugar and took it out and said did you know mixing this with 1 litre water can save your children which costs less than a tea :)
11. Making ideas concrete - Use a prop to make ideas concrete. There was a hamburger helper brand under cherios which is a famous brand but was not doing well, and the company named their annual goal was to increase the sales of hamburger helper. New joinee who joined the team went to a dozen homes and found that the mom's found it difficult to find the brand their kids would not reject from 30 flavors instead of 1 or 2. When the company did this their sales grew drastically :)
1. When the whole world had a problem long back with ulcers they did not know what was the cause, when 2 pathalogists from Perth found out after a research that bacteria was the cause for this, there was no celebration because medical research outcome are expected from specialized researchers or doctors not staffs. After too much of non acceptance, they did another research, at first they scanned their body and found that they were healthy and Marshall drank a glass full of bacteria which caused ulcers and after a week or so he developed burning sensation and found that he had ulcer after the scan and when he took the antibiotic and re-examined and found that the ulcer had vanished. But still people did not believe him. After nearly 15 yrs after their research they accepted and gave a nobel prize
2. Finding credibility - What makes people believe in a idea, we believe because our parents or friends believe, we believe because of authorities or religious or past experience etc. Why do we care when Opera likes a book or Michael jordan likes Mc Donalds -> We care because we like Mike and if Mike likes Mc D we too :)
3. It's not the same when a shampoo ad says that it is the best dandruff shampoo in the world as when your friend who has used the shampoo tells. Sure your friend gets the trust point because the shampoo company wants to sell their shampoo but your friend does not.
4. The power of details: Adding details to the story makes the audience believe. It makes it more believable when the details are added. For eg: consider another urban legend, A boy and a girl go on a car in a long road, but the car is stuck and the girlfriend thinks the guy wants to make out so this is his plan, but they are seriously stuck and then the guy goes to a nearby house to get some help, its been hours since the boy friend has gone… there seems to be some screetching sound in the car above which the girlfriend thinks is the branch of a tree. She gets out to look for the boyfriend only to see him hanging from a tree dead and his foot nails were screetching the car top :)
5. Vivid details boost credibility, but we also need to make use of meaningful details that support our core ideas. When a company says their core idea is diversity, every one thinks its just for the sake of telling, but when the owner tells there is a 90 yr old who dances with us, he joined us at the age of 73, he is now been with us for about 17 yrs and he can dance very well now but did not know how to dance before. Now everyone thinks diversity is correct
6. Beyond war - Use of vivid details can increase credibility and other way is using statistics, but statistics can be eye glazing. We need to use statistics in a more human way. When we see a child running with scissors we panic, but when we read that there are nuclear weapons being developed we don’t panic in any way. Now it is very important to make people understand this. So to demonstrate this Inskow would take a metal bucket with him wherever he goes and while talking he would drop a BB into the bucket and he would say this is Hiroshima bomb and would talk about it. Next he would drop around 5 BB's and say this is the latest nuclear weapons blasted etc. Next he would drop 5000 BBs and that would make enormous sound, he would say this is the total number of nuclear weapons currently present in the world. The number 5000 might seem small but when the statistic is used in a more human way it makes sense.
7. Steven covey in his book said Only 37% said what their organization is trying to achieve and why, only 1 in 5 said they knew their tasks, only 20% fully trusted their organization. After hearing this we know its more abstract statistics. Covey immediately super imposes with a metaphor, he says if you were to consider the same statistics to a football team, then 4 in 11 would not even know which is their goal post, only 2 out of 11 would know what is their position -> Now this statistic immediately sticks :) Now this schema is more vivid than the organization statistic :)
8. Statistic are good source of credibility when they are used to illustrate relationships. As per the earlier example from CSPI, Silverman compared the popcorns with burgers and other fatty foods, what would have happen if he had compared with lollypops and said one pop corn is equal to 1700 lollypops.
9. Use statistic as an input not an output, we normally come up with a solution and start looking for a statistic rather than having the statistic and then coming with a solution. When we are using statistics, the less we use the number the better.
10. We have seen 2 ways by which the idea can gain credibility -> One is by providing details and other by statistics. There is another way which we call a particular type of example (Sinatra test). Sinatra test - if you can make it here you can make it anywhere. Safe express went to distribute bollywood movies, but the producers were concerned about piracy. Here comes credibility -> Safe express said they distributed Harry Potter's 7th book to all the stores in India. They were to be delivered by 8 not too early not too late. This is the Sinatra test. He could have said that his delivery was 98% instead of Sinatra test. Sinatra test makes you think if Safe express can distribute Harry potter books without piracy they can do it with movies too :)
11. Outsourcing the credibility to the audience is another most important way to gain the credibility. Asking the audience to try for themselves. For egs: Reagan asked his audience are you better off now as compared to 4 years before. If the answer is yes its fine, if no then it can backfire.
1. Mother Teresa once said - If I see the mass I will not act, but if I see one I will act. Same thing happened in a research conducted by Carnegie melon university - If the charity is towards children worldwide vs. charity for a single girl somewhere in Africa -> More donation were given towards charity for a single girl
2. Thinking about statistics or many people make them more analytical. Another experiment conducted - One group were given analytical problem and other were given think about a baby -> And were given Rokea girl's story and asked for charity -> the people who were asked to think about the baby gave more -> this is shocking.
3. People normally donate for the concrete ideas not abstract things like poverty. They donate for a single child for a year -> this is a hook
4. Teenagers normally smoke though they know cigarette smoking is injurious to health (there is no credibility issue here) -> We have to make them care. There was a tobacco ad which was aired -> Where the ad opens with a huge building and few students in a car -> the note below says just outside the tobacco company, a group of students get out of the car and start dumping small bags into a huge bag and by the time the ad is finished the whole place is covered with bags -> One person takes a mic and shout hey do you know how many people die daily because of tobacco - 1800 -> This idea sticks vs Think don’t smoke by the tobacco company (This is analytical) vs the previous one which is emotional -> It brings out the anger
5. How do we make people care about the idea? -> Simple don’t have to create a new emotion -> The word unique means one of a kind, but if you see any newspaper over a 20 yr period there are more than 70% usage of the word unique -> So either the uniqueness bar has been reduced or the number of unique things have increased. Surprisingly the word unusual is reduced, unique should be a subset of unusual. What we use unusual has become unique now. When our father uses the word cool, cool loses its coolness.
6. Fighting semantic stretch - Sportsmanship has lost its meaning by stretching too much, hence honoring the game and dishonoring the game was introduced. When most people start using the same semantics it loses the real meaning, so we need to get into a new turf
7. What matters to people more? People themselves matter to them. Try to generate self interest in any headline you write -> This is most important. For egs: They laughed at me when I sat at the piano, but when I played….
8. WIIFY (What's in it for you) should be central aspect in any speech. Don’t say people enjoy when using good year tyre instead say you enjoy using a good year tyre.
9. Maslow did a research what motivates people. Maslow's hierarchy tells that we need to have basic levels to achieve the higher levels, but most tell this is a bogus. Everything happens simultaneously. We always think that others are in the low level of the hierarchy and we are at the top :)
10. Pegasus's army canteen is the best. As compared to others they serve the best food with fresh watermelons, kiwis and grapes etc. Pegasus uses the same food supplies as other army canteens, it’s the attitude that matters. The time you are in here, you forget you are in a army canteen.
11. Clinic - Why do we use Algebra? Where do we use it? -> best answer was -> Teacher said you will never use it. If you practice weight lifting, are you going to lift something heavier in the future, no it helps you lift your grand children tomorrow without any effort. Similarly maths is a mental weight training program to help you become better lawyers, better doctors better etc
12. Always remember the concept of Tappers and listeners "Curse of knowledge" -> Day in and day out we come to work without the outer world knowing or being opaque of what we are doing
13. We can make people care about our idea, by removing their analytical hat.
1. Stories tell wisdom -> Right stories will make people act -> Egs: Story of a nurse who told what the disease was when the color of the baby turned from pink to blue black
2. We all tell stories daily in our work instead of directly getting into the point.
3. Stories are strongly tied with entertainment and not instruction -> There was an interesting research conducted by 3 scientists -> The group was divided into 2, one in which protagonist was attached to an object (Jim wore his sweatshirt) and in other he was not (removed his sweatshirt) and a couple of sentences later, there was a reference to sweat shirt and now the 1st group read the sentence faster than the 2nd group (Its because while reading we are visualizing or simulating and when the shirt was removed it was of least importance to us, now when we again have to search that and map It takes time) :)
4. There was a research conducted with a specific problem and divided the group into two and told the 1st group to visualize in detail the problem and how it occurred and the 2nd group was asked to visualize that the problem is solved and we are free now and looking back at the problem -> A week later we found that the 1st group performed excellent when compared to 2nd group -> Its always better to think about our past than to think about our future
5. Why does mental simulation work -> Imagining someone tapping can trigger tapping sensation within us, when we imagine someone flashing a light on us, the sensory reactions take place within us. When we drink a lime water and imagine it’s a water -> We tend to have less tingy taste.
6. Mental simulation can also build skills -> Mental practices help us build skills. A right kind of story is a right kind of simulation.
7. Story of Subway - Subway ran an ad campaign 7 under 6 -> Which was simple, not unexpected, not concrete numbers are not concrete, it was credible, not emotional and not a story unlike Gerard's story. Gerard was 420 pounds and had 60 inch waist and took up this sub way diet and went on to reduce upto 180 pounds. This was recognized by a marketing team and the ad was aired and it became a huge success. This is a story which is simple, unexpected because it challenges our existing schema that fast food can reduce weight, concrete, credible, emotional and it is a story. :)
8. 3 basic plots from a huge list - Challenge plot, connection plot and creativity plot. If we want to energize someone these 3 plots have to be used.
9. Challenge Plot - Story of David and Goliath are example of Challenge plot. Key element of Challenge plot is that the opposition seem to be a daunting task for the protagonist. Challenge plots are more inspiring, they help us take on new roles etc. Kick off meeting should have Challenge plot.
10. Connection Plot - Any plot which builds a connection between demographics, religions, race, people, neighbors, etc are all connection plots. Think of Romeo and Juliet, Titanic are all connection plot. They help us be more tolerant, love others etc. They are more found in chicken soup stories. Christmas party should have Connection plot
11. Creativity Plot - Apple falling in Newton's head, Solving a long standing puzzle, Ingersoll Rand made boring Grinders, one team was given 1/4 of the time to make a new grinder, others said it was impossible. When they came up with a confusion as to what material to put for the outer part of the grinder -> Plastic or metal. If this was for general discussion, it would take months, but this team needed to work quickly. They made up stories like if you drag a grinder in a road and knock that off which would be better? . When Gerard article hits, we know that guy faces huge obstacle and over comes them -> This is Challenge plot.
12. With an argument -> We are telling people to judge but with stories we are telling people to engage and get involved.
13. Nordie gift wrapping a gift brought at Macy's is more sticky than Keep customer satisfaction to the best :). Curse of knowledge has bewitched few presenters :) Presenters can keep tapping but listeners will not listen to what you tap -> Use stories so that what you tap can be listened and understood well :)
14. It's as difficult to create an idea as to spot an idea. The barrier to spot an idea is we are too much taken with abstraction rather than the concrete. If Nordstorm manager tells his employees that customer satisfaction has to be increased by 10%, then they would not have recognized these stories.
15. Spotting requires - we need to tear down that wall. Think about buying a gift for your loved ones as an analogy, if you know that your dad is a gadget freak, and you want to buy him a christmas present and if you happen to spot a air controller gadget on December 8, you are more certain to buy it because you were wearing a concrete glass which filters 1000's of ideas into few. :)
16. Think about how many ideas were spotted than created in this book -> Most of the ideas were spotted. If you are great spotter you will be a great creator.
17. Speakers and Stickers - Experiment by Chip - Students are given data from government websites and asked to talk about 1 minute, the students were divided into 2 groups and were asked to give a speech and others were asked to rate each. Half the group were told to think of it as a serious task, others were chilled out. After a 10 minutes they were asked what they remembered. In the average 1 minute speech only 1 in 10 tell stories. 63% remembered stories and only 5% remembered statistics. There are few villians here, we need to concentrate on the idea than the presentation :). There are few more villians, decision paralysis (difficulty to choose) -> We need to devote the time to the core concept.
18. Making an idea stick - Communication framework - It has got the audience to:
a. Pay attention (Unexpected)
b. Understand and remember (Concrete)
c. Agree/Believe ( Credible)
d. Care (Emotional)
e. Able to act on it (Story)
19. The book could have been just told in few pages, but because of the curse of knowledge we had to give all the above. :)
20. Symptom - No one is listening to me, solution - Surprise them, Symptom - I lost them half way through , Solution - Create mystery or puzzles which will uncover itself slowly, Symptom - Whatever I tell never transfers into actions, Solution - Tell a story or concrete examples.
I know it was a long long post :) Hope you got a few key things to be followed, next time you got an idea to be conveyed.
Let us know your comments on this article below.