Messages Made to Stick

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Halloween traditions changed in the 1960's and '70's when rumors circulated about strangers putting razor blades in apples and candy.
Halloween events were held at schools and parents warned children not to eat snacks that weren't pre-packaged.
In 1985, researchers studied every reported Halloween incident since 1958 and found no instances where strangers caused children harm by tampering with their candy.
How did the candy tampering story spread across the country despite a lack of evidence? Why was it remembered and believed by millions? The story had what Chip and Dan Heath call stickiness.
In their book Made To Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, the authors detail the formula for sticky messages: S implicity - Strip an idea to its core U nexpectedness - Capture people's attention C oncreteness - Explain ideas in human terms C redibility - Make ideas believable E motions - Get people to feel something S tories - People remember and act on stories S ix Principles of Stickiness The principles make sense and we have all probably heard similar suggestions before.
Yet most of our messages aren't remembered and communication problems impact organizations, teams and families on a regular basis.
Why? It could be because we rarely apply the Six Principles of Stickiness.
Here's a real life example: "We are a multinational corporation engaged in socially responsible operations, worldwide.
We're dedicated to providing products and services of such quality that our customers receive superior value while employees and business partners share in our success and our stockholders receive a sustained superior return on their investment.
" Simple? Unexpected? Concrete? No, No, No.
Does it stir emotions? Tell a story? What's the product? Why should we care? How about this one: "Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have.
When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D.
It's not about money.
It's about the people you have, how you're led, and how much you get it.
" --Steve Jobs, CEO, Apple, Fortune, Nov.
9, 1998 The message captures your attention in human terms.
The statistic is memorable and the story resonates.
You feel something.
The message is SUCCESSfully sticky.
But you don't have to be CEO of a Fortune 500 company to reach and influence your target audiences.
Apply the six principles and you too, can make your messages stick.
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