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Chantal’s Influence Tips 63: How to make your Ideas Stick! Part Two – Simples


The first of Chip and Dan Heath’s 6 SUCCESS strategies to make your ideas stick in the mind of your audience is SIMPLICITY.

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” Einstein


Simplicity doesn’t mean dumbing down. It doesn’t mean sacrificing substance. It simply means helping people understand, remember and buy into your ideas.


Whilst incredibly clever, our brains haven’t evolved sufficiently to deal with the huge amount of information being thrown at us. And to add to the challenge, there’s often a limited window of opportunity with which to do that. People are already overwhelmed with information.


 When it comes to selling your ideas or convincing someone to take action, less is often more.  I’ve seen countless sales pitches, proposals and presentations where a brilliant idea is obscured by unnecessary information and mixed messages.


There are 3 aspects of Simplicity that Chip and Dan explore. Factoring these in to your communication will ensure that you avoid losing or confusing people and instead, engage and involve them.


1. CORE: Clarify the core message.
Journalists are paid to write great stories that sell. To do this they have to identify ‘the lead‘. This is the core of the story. If they get caught up in too much detail, they describe it as ‘burying the lead’.
I see this a lot in business presentations and day to day communication. Often it’s because people are too focused on what they want to say, rather than what the other person needs to hear in order to get the message.


Define the ‘lead’ in your idea and eliminate anything that isn’t essential to the listener.


Ask yourself: What is the essence of my idea? What do they need to hear, see or experience in order to grasp it?  If they could only take away 2 things from what you say, what are they?


Bill Gates said he wanted to see ‘a computer in every home’. It was a clear, simple vision and a concise message. If you can’t express your core message/idea in a simple concise message, then it may get lost in translation.


Here’s a way to test this out:
a) If you had to describe your idea/message in 30 words, what would it be?
b) Now, if you had to reduce that to 20 words whilst keeping the essence, what would it be?
c) What about 10 words.
d) Now what about just 3 words ?!


“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery


Be consistent in your delivery of that message.
This means that everything you say and do will reflect and reinforce that message.


For example if your core message is ‘straight talking gets results’  then going round the houses when you communicate this is a major mismatch!


Apple is a great example of this. Every touchpoint with them, whether it’s via their technology or their stores, is designed to give you a consistent experience that demonstrates what they stand for.


So in summary:- SIMPLICITY means
1.Define, refine and clarify the core message
2.Share it with Brevity
3.Be Consistent in how you communicate it.


Next week, we’ll explore the UNEXPECTED principle.
Chantal Burns ScreenshotChantal Burns

Executive Coach, Speaker and Bestselling Author of

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