Chip and Dan Heath’s Advice For 2014

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Ever since I read Made To Stick in 2011, I’ve been in love with Chip and Dan Heath.  They released Switch, which I read in early 2012, which was a great take on persuasion.  I signed up for their mailing list, and I received a great email on the last day of 2013 with advice for the new year: 4 research-backed tips for sticking to your New Year’s resolution.  To join the Heath brothers’ mailing list, sign up here.

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What I loved most about the email was the reminder of all of the free stuff on their website!  If you sign in, you will see the free resources divided by book title.  They have 8 items that go along with their book Decisive: How to Make Better Decisions in Life and Work including the entire first chapter, a workbook, a podcast, a book club guide, and a 1-page WRAP model summary for your desk.

You will also find resources for both Made to Stick (“Teaching That Sticks” is an amazing pamphlet for superteachers) and Switch as well as a completely free e-book and audio book for The Myth of the Garage, a collection of columns the brothers wrote from 2007 to 2011.

Do you know any authors who offer free resources on their websites?  Share with us in the “Comments!”

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The Power of Story

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In this interview, Made to Stick author Dan Heath discusses the importance of story.  In class today, my students examined stories and the importance of storytelling in presentation.  Stories are a powerful communication tool in advertising, marketing, and, of course, public speaking.  Students learned today that a story should be included in every single presentation they ever give from now on.  I encourage you to follow that same advice to make your presentations stick.

Presentations That Stick

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How can you avoid creating that death-by-bulletpoint presentation that everybody hates?  Made to Stick‘s Dan Heath gives three tips: 1) be simple, 2) show something, and 3) tease before you tell.  I love Heath’s tips in conjunction with Garr Reynolds’ advice.  In Presentation Zen, Reynolds emphasizes restraint, simplicity, and naturalness when designing visual presentations.

Heath explains that if your PowerPoint is overloaded with too many messages, your audience will remember nothing.  Simplicity is key for audience retention.  He says that a slide should be about communication – not decoration.  Presentations should be visual – like a demonstration.  Presentations should not be an entire speech typed out on slides.  Heath’s best point: “If you want to audience to value your message, you’ve got to get them curious about it” (Source).  The Heath brothers are so valuable in communication and presentation!  If you haven’t read Made to Stick and Switch, I highly recommend both books to help you create messages that are clear and engaging.

Design Tip of the Day

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In light of Seth Godin’s TED Talk on standing out from the competition (watch here) and the Heath brothers’ book Made to Stick, today’s design tip of the day will help your company or brand stand out from the competition.

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Nancy Duarte explains in slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations that “design and innovation go hand-in-hand with financial success” (Source).  Apple and Target, two design-centered organizations according to Duarte’s text, are perfect examples of companies that stand out from their competitors. How?  Apple and Target create messages that stick and create well-designed mediums to get those sticky messages across to audiences.

“12 paradoxes of graphic design” by Tobias Bergdahl explains one design paradox that Apple and Target know well:

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Target is definitely an example of a design-centered company.  Have you seen their website lately?  With their latest website update, Target makes use of font, color, and arrangement (among so many other design concepts).  Target’s ideas are succeeding, in part, because those products are presented so well.  Another lovely example of design and innovation is Kate Spade.  The Kate Spade website is one of the most beautifully designed websites I have ever seen.

If design and innovation go hand-in-hand with financial success, how can you incorporate design in your company to make your ideas resonate and to make your brand stick?  According to Nancy Duarte, you must think like a designer.  The best part: you do not have to be a formally-trained graphic designer to think like a designer!  (David McCandless teaches us this in his remarkable TED Talk).  Make 2012 the year your ideas resonate with others!  Here are 5 rules for visual presentation you can use RIGHT NOW to more successfully market your ideas to audiences.  Additionally, Chiara Ojeda’s “Thinking Like a Designer” is a must-read.

What design tips do you have for the budding designer who wants to make his or her brand resonate with audiences?