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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Made to Stick: Post #4--Concrete

Concrete: Our senses make things real and memorable. The vision of a sweating glass of ice tea on a humid July afternoon is a far more powerful and memorable image than simply saying that it’s hot July afternoon. Our brains are wired to our senses and, therefore, we remember concrete images better than abstractions—such as using the word “currency” vs. “a crisp five dollar bill.” We’ve all heard of Aesop’s Fables. This ancient Greek slave told us memorable stories about universal truths. Remember the Tortoise and the Hare…about how slow and steady wins the race? I’ve personally experienced the value of concreteness that comes from writing business fables—fictionalized case studies that put concepts into action. People love such fables because they get to “see” what the author is talking about. Finally, there’s a fascinating segment in the Made to Stick called “Brown Eyes, Blue Eyes” that describe how a teacher taught a class about prejudice…both effective and powerful.

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