A few years ago I read an incredibly helpful book by Chip & Dan Heath titled Made to Stick. They suggest six qualities that make ideas “sticky.”
- Simplicity – Like proverbs that are simple, but also profound. Not just sound bites.
- Unexpectedness – Using the element of surprise to capture an audience’s attention. Breaking their ability to predict what’s coming next.
- Concreteness – Moving from theory to practice, from idea to example. “This is how it actually works.”
- Credibility – Building trust and confidence among hearers. How do you help hearers believe?
- Emotional – Don’t just inform the mind. Touch the heart. Help people realize why they already care.
- Stories – Jesus’ parables are a powerful illustration of this value.
One insight that hit home for me was what the authors call “the Curse of Knowledge.” They suggest…
“Once we know something, we find it hard to imagine what it was like not to know it. Our knowledge has “cursed” us. And it becomes difficult for us to share our knowledge with others, because we can’t readily re‑create our listeners’ state of mind.” (Heath, Chip & Dan. Make to Stick. New York: Random House, 2007, p. 20.)
For example, when we have been Christ followers for years, we begin to forget what it was like to come to trust Him in the beginning. We can have unrealistic expectations of our friends who do not yet follow Christ.
For me, as a Christian leader, I’ve been on a spiritual formation path for twenty years now. It takes more effort for me now to remember how it felt to go through a process of recovery from being driven and hyperactive, living most of my life on the edge of burn-out.
All of us have opportunities to share ideas, insights, understandings with others. This book has helped me think about how I might grow in my practical effectiveness. I’d encourage you to read it.