Have you ever been accused of knowing too much? Have you ever tried to explain something technical to someone else and have them give you a puzzled look? It seems so simple to you, yet it seems so hard to make others understand. The more elaborate details you throw their way the more confused they become.
It’s the dreaded curse of knowledge. You may have years of study in your field with hundreds of hours of hands-on experience. You have all the industry acronyms and catch phrases. The person you are sharing with doesn’t know your language. The more you try to communicate the more you rely on specific terms. The communication totally breaks down.
The more you know, the harder it is to relate to those that don’t know.
In their new book, Made to Stick, Chip & Dan Heath explore this concept with some helpful examples to help you share your knowledge with others and make it stick. Their formula for success can be found in six guiding principles.
These six items will help you share your idea, product, or teaching lesson with others in a way that grabs their attention and draws them into your story. The idea you are sharing suddenly comes alive and the full color picture is emotionally implanted into their minds. In simple terms… Your Ideas Stick.
Let’s take a look at the first concept of simplicity.
The idea here is to take the huge knowledge base of an idea and refine it down into a core concept. You break off the outside shell, clear out any peripheral junk and get down to the shiny core. It sounds easy, but the curse of knowledge hinders us from seeing the core. We get stuck in the peripheral areas. We work daily in the outlying areas and for many of us the core idea or principle has long been forgotten. We actually know too much!
If we can start with the core and work outwards our message will come across loud and clear.
Core messages help people avoid bad choices by reminding them of what’s important.
Let’s take the example of blogging. The whole subject has many pieces.
There is the…
- Software: Blogger, Typepad or WordPress
- Hosting: Our own or using a hosted service?
- Domain Name: Do we use a dot.com or other name?
- Keywords: What words describe our site?
- Color Scheme: What colors describe us?
- Graphics: What pictures and icons share our message?
- Advertising: What kinds of ads, if any, will be on our site?
- Newsletter: Will we publish a blog newsletter?
- Audience: Who will read our blog?
Yet all of these are peripheral issues. The real core of blogging is..
Sharing Our Story With The World
Once we discover what our story really is we can add the peripheral items. We can choose the software, add the colors and finish it off with our own custom graphics. We can then choose an appropriate domain name and keywords. We will soon find our audience and fine tune the whole process. Soon we can start our own newsletter and add more value to our readers. We take our message to the world.
Yet what usually happens… Most people start from the outside and try to work inwards only to find that there isn’t a core at all.
Of the thousands of blogs that are created everyday, how many make it past the first or second post?
The peripherals can get us started but without a core to work from the whole thing quickly falls apart.
The bottom line… What is Our Core Message?