6 ways to ensure your message sticks in the minds of your audience

The author explores the acronym ‘SUCCES,’ from the bestselling book Made to Stick, and finds that it provides useful lessons for communicators.

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Those six ideas—Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional, and Stories—are also the chapter titles of the 2007 bestseller, Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Die and Others Survive, by Chip and Dan Heath. Here’s how you can apply these ideas to your job as a communications professional:

Simple. If simplicity isn’t a virtue, it should be. An effective communicator takes a complex idea or set of ideas and reduces it to something easier to digest—a sound bite, if you will. Southwest Airlines has executed this principle perfectly with their promise to be the low-cost airline. Its message is simple, and customers know what to expect.

Unexpected. How do you get a reporter to open your email? How do reporters attract eyes to their story? Unexpected headlines (or subject lines) are often the answer. Think about the news stories you remember days, months, or even years after they occur. They’re likely the ones that violated your perception of normality.

Concrete. Before you submit a press release or hit “send” on an email, ask yourself if your message is clear and concrete. Use simple language whenever possible. Provide examples when necessary. Don’t be afraid to practice your message on a friend or colleague before showing up for that big media appearance.

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