December 18, 2007

Unexpected = Sticky



In this post, I briefly mentioned the principles of sticky ideas from the book, "Made to Stick."

Since I wrote that post, I've read the book, and I highly recommend it if you're looking for ways to make your presentations more memorable with ideas and concepts that stay with your audience long after the talk is over.

The six principles of a sticky ideas are Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional Stories: SUCCESs.

Here's one of my favorite examples from the book - an example that has "stuck," by the way.

Read the following two descriptions of a pomelo. Here's the first:

"A pomelo is the largest citrus fruit. The rind is very thick but soft and easy to peel away. The resulting fruit has a light yellow to coral pink flesh and can vary from juicy to slightly dry and from seductively spicy-sweet to tangy and tart."

Here's the second description:

"A pomelo is basically a supersized grapefruit with a very thick and soft rind."

As an example of simplicity they tie in the concept of the pomelo with the concept of something you already know - a grapefruit.

This is why analogies are useful in presentations; they help your audience associate your concepts with something they're already familiar with.

On to the point of this post, about the principle of unexpectedness.

I was watching a Sarah Silverman performance recently, and she said something that was so funny, because of a little twist that gave the joke its humor. Here's the joke:

"When I was in high school, I went out with my dad's best friend.

That's embarrassing, you know, my father having a 14-year-old best friend."

That's not what you expected, was it?

Have you used something unexpected in a presentation? How did it work for you?

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