“Made to Stick” will help you with Presentation Zen
Posted by Mark Bennett on March 19, 2009
Folks on the TalentedApps team and our Oracle colleagues have been exercising deliberate practice in applying the principles from “Presentation Zen” to help make our presentations better at getting our message across to the audience in an engaging, memorable way. We’ve found that the concepts presented in “Made to Stick” help immensely in doing so. If you haven’t had a chance to check these books out, they are worth the time.
Here’s a very brief summary of what “Made to Stick” covers, taken from an example used in the book:
Do you remember the Subway ad campaign about the obese guy who lost a bunch of weight on a diet of nothing but Subway sandwiches? Most of us do – it was one of the most successful campaigns and turned Subway around, increasing sales by over 15% year over year – twice that of their competition. Did you know the campaign almost didn’t happen? It has a lot of the six elements described in “Made to Stick” that help make ideas stick:
- Simple – not simplistic, but having *one* core, profound idea. “Eat subs and lose weight.”
- Unexpected – it takes you from “Huh?” to “Aha!” A guy lost a ton of weight eating fast food! (“Huh?”) What mattered was which sandwiches he ate (low fat ones – “Aha!”).
- Concrete – not abstract. They showed his oversized pants, how much weight he lost (450 lbs down to 180 lbs), what sandwiches he ate.
- Credible – a guy who wore 60-inch pants is giving us diet advice! He’s been there!
- Emotional – we tend to care about individuals more than about a mass (which tends to just make us analytical and therefore detached – not what you want.) It also taps into the more profound levels of Maslow’s hierarchy; it’s about a guy who reached his potential with the help of a subway shop.
- Story – our protagonist overcomes big odds to triumph. It inspires us to act.
Gimmicky or not, the six elements turn out to spell SUCCES(s), a nice mnemonic.
When we are trying to get an idea or message across with Presentation Zen, we are after the same thing: get that idea or message to “Stick”. Simple messages are easier to remember. Unexpected things get people’s attention. Concrete examples help them imagine. Credible sources help them to believe. Emotional content gets them to care. And stories get them to act.
We hope you find both Presentation Zen and Made to Stick as helpful in your efforts. Please share your experiences and any helpful suggestions or sources.