Posted by: Bill von Achen | October 1, 2009

Made to Stick, Some Observations

We had a good turnout for this morning’s book club discussion about Chip and Dan Heath’s best-selling book, Made to Stick. 

If you haven’t read Made to Stick, there are numerous summaries on the web about the principles found in this book (just Google ‘Made to Stick” to find them), so I’ll spare you the details.  But, briefly, the main point, as summarized by the authors, is that:

“A ‘sticky’ idea is understood, it’s remembered, and it changes something…If you use these six traits (Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional, and Stories) in your communication, you’ll make your ideas stickier.”

This morning, we discussed how we use, or can use, the concept of stickiness in our day-to-day communications.  Some of the suggested ideas for using ‘sticky traits’ included:

  • Making sales presentations to prospective customers more personalized and engaging;
  • Increasing the effectiveness of our communications with employees;
  • Grabbing and holding an audiences’ attention in a formal presentation;
  • Incorporating the approach in our written communications.

 But for me, the winning idea was…

 …to use the Made to Stick traits to prepare or revise a brief, persuasive summary of what we/our companies do (the classic ‘elevator’ speech).

Of the books we’ve read so far this year, Made to Stick was rated the best (with a score of between 6.0-8.5, on a scale of 1 to 10) by the majority of those present, although some of us thought that the book could have been a lot shorter (leave out some of the examples). 

For those who would like to learn more, a good first place to look is the Heaths’ Made to Stick web site,  Check out their resource page for a brief white paper entitled “Making Your Presentation Stick,” which presents several useful ideas in a few short pages.  (You’ll need to register at the web site to download a copy.)


  1. Hi Bill,

    Made to Stick is indeed a great book and contains a wealth of information that we can (and should) use in our communications.

    I have just completed the fifth post of seven in a series that I am writing on how to make our speeches and presentations stick. It is based on the book and Dan Heath even dropped by to leave a nice comment.

    I try to draw out (succinctly) the key ideas for each trait of stickiness and then show a video of a speech that, in my view, demonstrates the trait.

    The link is at the end of this message, and I hope that you and your readers find it helpful.


    John Zimmer

    • John:

      Thanks for pointing us to some additional resources on this important subject!.


  2. Read it. Loved it. Validated my decision to step outside the boundaries in my latest project and created something that was fresh. Concept was well received!

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