Effective Communications: Make the Complex Simple

Complex Simple cover of Made to StickFor any business, effective communications is all about making the complex simple.

Your proud research-backed venture may have a world-beating product, all positioned and priced correctly. But if you are falling into this very common communications trap, the success you believe you deserve will always elude you…

Making the Complex Simple and the Curse of Knowledge

Entrepreneurs work very hard and are passionate about their work. Weeks, months and often years of thinking, toil and investment typically underpin any launch.

But as people work so they learn and acquire knowledge. Unfortunately, entrepreneurs become so invested in their work that they become afflicted by what bestselling authors, Chip and Dan Heath, call ‘The Curse of Knowledge’.

According to Chip and Dan (Made to Stick) as people acquire subject knowledge so they move further away from others who have no knowledge of that subject.

“A CEO might have 30 years daily immersion in the logic and conventions of business. Reversing the process is as impossible as un-ringing a bell. You can’t un-learn what you already know.”  (P20)

Overcoming the curse of knowledge is possible if you don’t learn anything. Alternatively, read Chip and Dan’s brilliant book all about creating sticky ideas and then apply what you read.

‘Made to Stick’ will allow you to make the complex simple because it gives you a clear understanding of how to structure any communication to a new audience.

Applying the principles of Made to Stick (MtS) will mean the days of writing emails, press releases, presentations and pitches (that leave people scratching heads and not engaging) will be gone.

6 Principles of Sticky Ideas make the Complex Simple

MtS covers 6 key communication principles that nearly (and quite deliberately) spell an appropriate and thus memorable acronym:

  • Simple
  • Unexpectedness
  • Concreteness
  • Credibility
  • Emotions
  • Story

Using research and many examples, the book then shows you how to apply each principle.

To improve business communications, invest £10 and a couple of days reading. As a book, MtS is invaluable and ever-present, yet its price tag is equivalent to the time it takes a half-decent consultant to remove her coat.

Whilst I can’t do the book justice in 500 words, let me share the power of MtS’ first principle – ‘Simple’ – so you sense the brilliance that awaits.

Whatever you are communicating, MtS makes clear the need to first boil down the core message of what you want to say, This means stripping out un-needed words and surrounding noise so what you communicate has greatest impact.

Finding your core message is not about sound-bites. It’s about creating and communicating ideas that are simple and profound. Proverbs are the ideal.

Dining out in Iraq – Communicating Simple

As a ‘Core’ example, later on in the book (P186) the Heath brothers refer to the Pegasus Dining Hall which was positioned just outside Baghdad Airport during the Iraq conflict.

‘Floyd Lee’ was in charge of Pegasus and he made this army ‘canteen’ the go to place to eat for all military personnel. Even though Floyd used the same ingredients as other dining halls, people risked life and limb to eat there.

Prime rib was marinated, tables were decorated, imperfect ingredients were ‘culled’ and perfect trays of food were designed by chefs, inspired by and compelled to follow Floyd.

So what was Floyd’s mantra, his proverb that resonated so fast, so deeply and with such stickiness?

“I’m not just in charge of food service. I am in charge of morale”

Made to Stick is a brilliant piece of writing that changes thinking and helps to organise the communicator’s mind. Where before you may have doubted your words, now you will find confidence and certainty.

And whatever the stage of your business you will always know the value of making the complex simple.

Buy Made to Stick today.

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