Getting ideas to stick…

August 14, 2013

Photo courtesy of Amazon

Photo courtesy of Amazon

I just read Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath.  I liked many of the ideas in this book, and how they can help me to improve how I teach our students and inform our faculty and make the concepts they need to know “stick” with them.

Anyone who has to talk about library resources and databases knows that it is quite easy for this subject to bore the audience.  So, how do we get the audience’s attention and make our message resonate with them once we leave the room?

The Heath brothers have developed the following acronym for how to make ideas stick: SUCCES.

S   Simple

U   Unexpected

C   Concrete

C   Credible

E   Emotional

S   Story

Not every message has to have every element, but these essential components can help to keep your message in the forefront of a person’s mind.

In the conclusion, the Heaths lay out how you have to use the above elements to make something stick; you must make your audience:

1. Pay attention (Use the Unexpected)

2. Understand and remember (Use the Concrete examples)

3. Agree/believe (Establish your Credibility)

4. Care (Use Emotion)

5. Be able to act on it (Use a Story)

How can I incorporate these into a presentation where we are discussing our face to face and online services?  Below are my ideas:

  • Tell the simple, core message as a question: once I introduce myself and say what I am going to talk about, ask the question “what’s in it for you?” (this may use the Unexpected in a small way.) Then answer: first, we provide continual support for your curriculum, and second, we link students with the resources they need to make them successful in your class.  We do this all seamlessly, through both face to face and online venues.  This uses the S (Simple) factor.
  • Show that “This is your library”–point out the picture on the screen of our physical library, but also show my smart phone and a laptop (or the computer) and also highlight me as a physical resource.  This uses the Concrete, so they realize that the library is not just the physical library, but we can be anywhere we are needed.
  • We are helping students over 70 hours per week, in person, online, via chat, with skills that help them become lifelong learners.  Encouraging students to use the library and our services can mean the difference between success and failure for these students.  Bottom line: Our services, which give this support where and when you need it, will enhance a student’s success.  This is an Emotional way to get to the audience.

We will see how these ideas work, and whether they “stick” with the audience, or at the very least make the presentation more interesting.

Made to Stick also stresses how you have to be aware of the world around you, and observe and FIND the stories and ideas that you can use.  As stories tend to be one of the strongest connections that people remember, this can be a path I take in the future once I gather these stories to make the concepts stay with students and faculty long after I leave the classroom.

Take a look at this book and test drive the concepts to make your message more meaningful!

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