Tuesday, November 9, 2010


The Six Principles of Sticky Ideas *:

1. Simplicity ~ To make an idea simple, first find the core of your lesson, then anchor it in knowledge that your students already have. You must relentlessly prioritize. Sound bites are not the ideal, proverbs are. Ideas that are simple and profound. What do you most want to get across?
2. Unexpectedness ~ How we get our audience to pay attention to our ideas, and how we maintain their interest when we need time to get the ideas across. To make it work use the power of curiosity and mystery. Use the unexpected.
3. Concreteness ~ Concrete, sensory experiences etch ideas into our brain - think of how much easier it is to remember a song than a credit card number, even though a song contains much more data!
4. Credibility ~ How we make people believe our ideas. This can come through personal experience.
5. Emotions ~ How we get people to care about our ideas. Transforming the idea from something that is analytical or abstract or theoretical and make it hit you in the gut or the heart.
6. Stories ~ How we get people to act on our ideas. Stories have a unique power to engage and inspire.

It was as I was taking notes on this to use for teaching (it has completely altered my lesson planning, I am loving the simplicity and challenge of it!) and analyzing what it would look like to apply this to writing, that I had the thought: I wonder what the number one thing is I would want to impart to my kids? What do I want to stick with my family about me the longest?

I know this book is not a narrow-your-life-down-to-one-thing book, but I tend to think that way. I do well with goals, with a focus, with an intentionality that helps me think clearly when I am overwhelmed, when the interaction levels are loud and repetitive, when I am going on too little sleep. (The classic scenario of an introvert mother.)

I asked myself what is the most transformational thing to me about other people? What changes me? What sticks to me about people? What do I consistently notice?

And you know what it came down to? Words. The power of words. Particularly kind words. They are safe, transformational, encouraging, a gift, an avenue to engage, a reminder of value, a turning point in discussion; kind words build relationship and create listening. They earn respect and create beauty.

I have lots of questions about this. How does this look in writing? In art? (With hormones!?) When my kids have not just stretched my last nerve thin but are dancing up and down on it with baseball bats?

But I think if there is one thing that I had to narrow down that I want to be known for by my children; that I want to give to them; that they know they could expect from me - it is kind words.

{*These are notes I took directly from the book. You can also go here to get a summary of this part of the book sent to you by email. I still recommend reading the whole book, each chapter was excellent in explaining every point.}

This is part two of four parts I am writing this week about a new teaching style I am learning, kindness and a great book. I should add that I do not know the authors nor have I been asked by anyone to write about this book.


Hi I'm Sarah said...

I am looking forward to your insights and applications from Made to stick. I have been pondering how this could be done, writing, or speaking in ways that make an idea stick for some time. (actually since the Go in 2000 when I heard young man talk in such a way)It is after all the largest part of what my life is about just now. I read recently the seven laws of teaching and the old language was rich but combersome. I long to express the gems of truth I can see in it, in a fresh way. Instead I am stuck quoting...see by lastest blog posts. So I am keen to see what God can teach me through your series. Thanks!

Misha Leigh. said...

Sarah - I would love to hear about the guy you heard speak - what stuck out to you? What did he do? (Always love your thoughts, thank you!)

Jessica said...

great advice, for blogging, parenting . . . life. I am bookmarking this one. thanks! (and what a great goal-kind words. how simple, and how revolutionary!)

Amanda said...

What a wonderful world we would have if everyone made kind words a priority! I often think that a lot of adult dysfunction can be explained by a lack of kind words in childhood. What a gift you are giving your children!

Michelle said...

I will have to admit that after reading through a lot of the book I am struck by how often I complicate things in my teaching. I taught in a public school setting (middle and high school) before having children, so reading these principles is really helping me rethink some areas that are causing frustration. And the kind words - oh, I so need to focus on that!

momart said...

Picked up this book just yesterday. It's a perfect fit for my graphic design husband but the relation to teaching intrigues me further. In the world of homeschooling, it might prove to simplify what I complicate, and simplifying has been a theme for me this year. Taken further to parenting-I wonder at the diversity we would hear if everyone answered Misha's question to herself. Maybe I'll ponder it on my blog sometime this week.

Misha Leigh. said...

Michelle - ME TOO. It is so simplifying how I think about planning lessons! Plus simplifying how I impart any lessons, too. I am so thankful we had this book recommended to us.

Momart - I love that idea! I actually woke up this morning thinking about it again. I would love to hear what people would say - I think the diversity in it would be the most beautiful mosaic of priorities and love.

If you do blog about it, will you link to it so we can see it? I would love to read what you write!

Also for those of you who don't have the book - if you click on the link that is at the top of this post, it will take you to a page where you can request an email file from the book about teaching and sticky ideas. For free.

Hi I'm Sarah said...

Lets see what I can remember from 11 years ago....I forgot his name I bet that would ring a bell for you...tracy was very involved with him then. He spoke about us being wooed into God's ways...speaking to the bride wallowing in the mud not about the dirt on her dress but the glory that was awaiting her. Drawing her out of the sin to pick up her identity in the eyes of one who loved her truely. I remember thinking that is just what I need....a promise of my true petential, a hope that I was meant to be something good, that I was lovable. Graham Cook is also a speaker I have listened to extensively who speaks about God being the kindest person he knows and never says anything without mentioning that in some way or the other. he fights for goodness and is the most positive prophetic person I have ever listened to. Truely life giving. Hope that helps.

Misha Leigh. said...

Sarah - I love hearing what you remember. It's encouraging to me that kindness sticks. I am thinking about this from every angle right now. Your thoughts are always an inspiration!