I read a book a couple of years back by Chip and Dan Heath called Made to Stick looking at why some messages are ‘sticky’ while others aren’t. It’s got loads of wonderfully helpful stuff in it and their acronym (with slight modification) has stuck with me and I still write it down on my sermon planning sheet today. It’s as follows:
- S – simple. Is your message clear, straightforward, trying to get across one main thing?
- U – unexpected. Is there a way in which you can get your message under the radar and make it memorable?
- C – concrete. Is it a set of abstract propositions or a concrete message with clear take-away?
- C – credible. Does it work? Will it make a difference? Does it relate to real life?
- E – emotion. Does your message reach the emotions not just the mind?
- S – story. Stories tend to stick with people longer than abstract ideas and propositions.
- H – humour. Does your communication connect with people – humour is one good way to do that.
I find this a helpful checklist to go through when I’m preparing to communicate – you might not hit all of them all of the time, but if you miss the lot you’ve probably got a problem. Later in the week I’ll post another helpful (and stolen) acronym for thinking about illustrations.