What Makes Messages Stick?

The last chapter that I’ve read before going to bed was about making your messages stick. Garr’s Presentation Zen talks about six key principles which compress nicely into the acronym SUCCESs:
simplicity, unexpectedness, concreteness, credibility, emotions, and stories.
He uses two quotes to illustrate the need to use this acronym as you baseline when trying to bring forward a certain message. Check out the following two statements, and think of that both are trying to give you the same message.
Your CEO might say:

“Our mission is to become the international leader in the space industry through maximum team-centered innovation and strategically targeted aerospace initiatives.”

JFK said:

“…put a man on the moon and return him safely by the end of the decade.”

The first one nags you to sleep where the second one visualizes it for you.

Every idea can be reduced to its bare essential meaning. Check out the perspective of you audience, and ask the question: “So what?!?”. What’s the core message you want to bring…

“SEX!! DRUGS!! Now that I have your attentation, let’s talk about…” Get the interest of you audience. Forgetting what I just did; the best way to do that is to pose questions or open holes in people’s knowledge and then fill those holes.

Speak of concrete images, not of vague notions. Reduce abstract concepts to concrete, simple, but powerful (and memorable) language.

You might be a specialist in you field, but your audience might not know/honor this. Back up your statements with statistics; but put these it in terms that people can visualize. Steve Jobs once gave a presentation about the success of the iPod. Instead of referencing the billions In sales, he put in perspective and said: “… that’s 20.000 iPods being sold every day …”

People are emotional beings… make the feel something! What do you think would capture the moment. A slide full with bullet points about the aftermath of a hurricane, or pictures showing the suffering of the people involved.

We communicate by stories. When you were a kid, your parents probably told you bedtime stories. When you got/had/have a mentor, (s)he’ll probably illustrate his/her points by telling a story. How does religion pass it’s believes? Yup, by telling stories…

Check out the sample chapter, or buy the book…

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