Amy Carroll » Speaking Tips » The Power of Simple

The Power of Simple

Walking through the woods in NC where I live is an adventure.  We’ve got a bevy of venemous snakes to keep your eyes peeled for in addition to that lovely three-leafed plant, poison ivy.  When you get home, you may also have to rid your clothes of a nuisance that we call “hitch-hikers”.  Do you know what I’m talking about?  They’re the seed of some plant that sticks like glue to your clothes.  Ridding your clothes of these seeds after a walk in the woods is a chore!

A few months ago, a reader asked me what I meant by “sticky messages”.  I wanted to give you the visual of our woodsy “hitch-hikers” to let you into my brain.  I want my messages to be just like those little seeds–so “sticky” that they’re hitch-hikers that don’t simply fall off as my audience walks out the door.  I want my message to ride home and seriously mess with the lives of my hearers.

There’s one very simple way to make sure our messages are sticky.  Keep them simple.  The old-school 3 points and a poem may be wonderful to listen to but often hard to remember.  Andy Stanley, in his message-transforming book Communicating for a Change, is a huge proponent of the one point message.  Here are a few tips to keep a one point message meaty and full of rich content:

  • The point should not be a dumbed-down sound bite.  It should be a proverb.  In Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath, they explain that these points should be short, concise statements with long experience.  Think of the golden rule as an example of a very sticky statement.
  • Creating a “sticky statement” based on a truth or principle from scripture gives you a core that a whole message can be written around.
  • Make the statement so relevant that people will bump into it in their every day lives within 24 hours.  This is a principle that Lysa TerKeurst taught me.  In her She Speaks keynote last year, her sticky statement was “Let God chisel.”  It’s the rich truth that God uses the hard circumstances of our lives to make us more beautifully into His image.  Just consider the myriad of applications that each woman in the room could make.  It’s a relevant truth that will be applicable immediately.

Creating a core, sticky statement is just one way to make your messages sticky or memorable.  What ways have you used to make your messages memorable?



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  1. Always helpful…Thanks! Hmmmmm, I’m not sure how I make my messages memoralb and that’s not a good answer. I have a lot to learn about speaking intentionally. And I’m delighted Amy and Karen are here to help.

  2. Amy,
    Ever since you taught me to use sticky statements, I’ve tried to be more intentional with them — both in speaking and in writing. For those new to sticky statements, it does get (somewhat) easier with time. I must confess that when I wrote today’s blog post, you were in the back of my head! 🙂 Thanks for sharing your passion with the rest of us!


  3. Great post! May all of our messages be hitch-hikers!!
    Love you!

  4. Sherry Gilley says:

    As cliche as it is, I use a common object to create an unconventional connection to the main topic. I’m a hands-on, see-it, touch-it, taste-it kind of girl. I’ve found many others in the audience are as well.