Amy Carroll » Speaking Tips » Making Your Messages Stick Part 6

Making Your Messages Stick Part 6

It’s my favorite!  It’s my favorite!

I’m going to finish up our Made to Stick series with two posts on my very favorite principle from Dan and Chip Heath–STORIES!

I think one of the reasons I love speaking is that it’s an outlet for stories.  I love to hear stories, and I love to tell stories.  Reading stories in fiction is one way that I process the very non-fiction world around me.  It always has been.  Turns out that I’m not so weird.  The human brain loves stories.  

Stories are sticky!  (In the best possible way.)  Here’s what the Heath brothers say:

“The story’s power, then, is twofold:  it provides simulation (knowledge about how to act) and inspiration (motivation to act).  Note that both benefits, simulation and inspiration, are geared to generating action.  In the last few chapters, we’ve seen that a credible idea makes people believe.  An emotional idea makes people care.  And in this chapter we’ll see that the right stories make people act.”

They give so many great examples in this chapter, but my favorite is how the “Jared campaign” got started for Subway.  Jared’s story is an amazing story and turned Subway’s whole business around, but it almost didn’t get told.  Why DID it get told?  Because someone was paying attention.

On one of the Next Step conference calls a couple of weeks ago, a woman asked a great question.  She asked, “What sources do you use for stories?  Where do you find the best stories?”  While this woman might have been looking for a book or website, it was still a very insightful question.

The best answer, though, is that the BEST stories come from your life.

I don’t know how you feel, but I’m challenged by that statement.  I don’t think my life is particularly entertaining or note-worthy, but I’m learning that it’s all about paying attention.  For example, I’ve noticed that some of the funniest people in my life (you know who you are–Carol, Jennifer, Aunt LeaAnna) always have hilarious things that happen to them.  How can that be?

I’ve finally decided that it’s not that they have some many more funny things that happen in their day.  They just pay attention, and they look at life through a perspective of humor.  If they followed me around, they might see some funny things in my life (almost guaranteed to see goofy things anyway!).

So let’s start looking.  Do you need a story about God at work?  Start looking for God at work (this one should be easy to spot).  Do you need a funny story about crazy people?  Start looking (we should have one of these within the next 12 hours).  Do you need a story about something profound a child says?  Go sit on a playground or your own living room and listen.

I’ll finish up next week with some specific categories of stories to watch for.  In the mean time, would you share a short story?



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One Comment

  1. I think you hit the nail on the head! Our greatest example for teaching through stories is Jesus. He used parables – stories relating to community and culture – all the time. Stories have a way of breaking down walls, sneaking in truth before an unsuspecting soul realizes it – especially one with defenses up.

    I have a funny…Last Valentine’s Day my 5 year old grandson was asked if he was excited about Valentine’s Day. “Nah,” he said. “I’ve given up on women. They’re too much trouble!”

    True story. One of my favorites!

    Bless you!