Do you have a message? Do you want it to stick and spread?
Keep it simple, silly.
Because words, words and words can hide your message.
You have to chomp through the apple because the seeds hide in the core. If you want the apple to multiply, you have to spread the seeds.
The Heath brothers didn’t exactly say that, but that’s my simple-minded takeaway from the first chapter of their book, Made to Stick.
“Finding the core” means stripping an idea down to its most critical essence.
The French aviator and author Antoine de Saint-Exupery once offered a definition of engineering elegance: “A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”
My paraphrase: A writer knows she has refined her message not when there are words to add, but when there are no words left to take away.
It’s about forced prioritization, killing your babies. It’s about analogies and metaphors. Sentences instead of paragraphs. Two bullet points instead of five. Easy words instead of hard words.
Simple messages are core and (profoundly) compact.
Lots of meaning and images packed in a few words.
Like a proverb.
“A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”
“I am the Light of the world.”
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs.”
“You are the salt of the earth.”
If you want your message to stick and spread, keep it simple.
I’m taking part in my first book study over at High Calling Blogs, discussing Made to Stick by Chip Heath & Dan Heath, learning why some ideas survive and others die. Pop over there and read the discussion.
Note: That piece of duct tape? It feels real, with bumps and wrinkles!
At the Core of Action by Monica.
The One Time Something I Did Went Viral by Glynn.
Six Steps to Going Viral by L.L.
When Knowledge Becomes a Curse by Erin.
Enough by Lyla.
The Curse of Knowledge by Nancy.