Lessons in Business Writing, Part 2

Posted: February 2, 2014 in Editing
Tags: , , , , , , ,

This post is a sneak peak of an Examiner post that will be published on 2/12/2014. Be sure to check out Examiner.com on that day to find out how to make your  cover letters and resumes stand out with memorable writing.

Making yourself and your writing memorable

Malcom Gladwell’s Tipping Point: How little things can make a big difference and Dan and Chip Heath’s Made to Stick: Why some ideas survive and others die take a look at the concept of “sticky ideas.” Sticky ideas are so memorable and powerful they change people’s behavior and are triggered by an overall feeling of pleasure at the initial encounter. The best way to describe a sticky idea is an incredibly effective slogan. Sticky ideas are a kind of word of mouth epidemic that is as catchy as Paul Revere’s “The redcoats are coming!” It was the right message delivered at the right time to the right people by packaging it in a relevant, contagious, and irresistible way.

Gladwell describes a tipping point as a sudden and radical change brought on by a critical moment of absolute certainty that it will stick. The Heath brothers define a sticky idea as being a simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, and emotional story. Sticky ideas are understood, remembered, and retold because they leave a lasting impact. Strip down (not dumb down) to the core. The essence of your main message should have a clear purpose to prevent the reader from suffering decision paralysis–the inability to move forward because excessive ambiguity produces irrational anxiety.

To construct an effective sticky idea consider the following questions:

  1. Find the message’s essential core. What selling point do you want people to remember?
  2. Make the audience to pay attention and maintain their interest.
  3. Get the audience to believe what you say. How can you build credibility?
  4. How can you get people to care about your selling point?
  5. Stay away from statistics. What story will make the audience take action?


For a formal rhetorical analysis using in the Made to Stick SUCCESs model visit: https://wordplay11.wordpress.com/2013/12/10/disney-press-release-revisions/.

To view the original Disney press release visit: http://thewaltdisneycompany.com/disney-news/press-releases/2012/06/walt-disney-company-sets-new-standards-food-advertising-kids.

To view the revised Disney press release visit: https://wordplay11.wordpress.com/2013/12/10/original-disney-press-release/.

Watch to find more advice on making your writing stick


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