Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Make the message simple - stupid

Chip Heath in an interview in McKinsey Quarterly (free subscription), offers a lot of very useful and well researched, tips on how to make messages compelling.

One of the insights I liked a lot is:

When messages are abstract, it’s frequently because a leader is suffering from the “curse of knowledge.” Psychologists and behavioral economists have shown that when we know a lot about a field it becomes really tough for us to imagine what it’s like not to know what we know—that’s the curse of knowledge. If you’ve ever had a conversation with your IT person about what’s wrong with your computer, you’ve been on the other side of the curse of knowledge. The IT person knows so much that he or she can’t imagine knowing as little as the rest of us. And we’re all like that IT person in our own domain of expertise: prone to be overly complex and abstract.

As one who does this a lot, Its a very helpful idea.

A recommended read because of the quality of research behind his thinking and a lesson for everyone in PR.