How is it that some stories get through the ages and others don’t? How do you find the right formula so that a story remains etched in people’s memories?

As a creator , we often have to tell the idea of ​​our project .

A book, a mobile application, a political project, a training course, a music album … Each project idea deserves a story that everyone remembers .

In the book Made To Stick , authors Chip and Dan Heath managed to bring together 6 principles common to all stories that have lasted in time.

1. Simplify your message

Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing more to take away.

An idea must be kept simple , concise and keep only the essentials .

To say three things is to say nothing.

2. Make your message unexpected

How to get people’s attention?

The most basic way to capture attention is as follows: break a pattern , a model, well anchored in the minds of your interlocutors.

Use surprise to grab people’s attention.

Naturally adhesive ideas often come up with surprising “facts”:

  • The Great Wall of China is visible from space.
  • You only use 10% of your brain.
  • You should drink eight glasses of water a day.

How to keep their attention?

Common sense is the sworn enemy of sticky messages. If people already intuitively understand what you’re trying to say to them, what’s the point of bothering to remember it?

For an idea to endure, it must generate interest and curiosity .

It must create gaps in people’s knowledge before filling them.

We tend to give the facts up front. But our audience must first realize that they need these facts.

The trick to convincing others that they need our message is to start by highlighting this or that knowledge that they don’t have. By asking them a question, for example, or a riddle.

3. Make your message concrete

Naturally tacky ideas are full of clear, bright images that people won’t soon forget.

By presenting everything in the form of concrete images, the ambiguity and abstraction of meaningless sentences are left far behind.

People understand the idea and remember it because they can see it in their mind.

4. Make your message credible

What makes people believe one idea and dismiss others as implausible and patently wrong?

In general, we tend to draw our own conclusions:

  • Listen to the authorities we know and trust - or at least that we respect in the absence of proof of incompetence.
  • Speak with other people who have personal experience in the relevant field.
  • Take note of what people we admire (maybe professional athletes or sometimes celebrities) approve.

There are several things you can do to strengthen the credibility of your idea:

  1. Add concrete details .
  2. Incorporate statistics that support your key points.
  3. Transfer credibility from one area to another.

5. Give emotion to your message

If I looked at the mass, I wouldn’t do anything. I look at the individual and I act. Mother Teresa

Thinking in statistical terms puts people in a more analytical frame of mind. They are then less inclined to let the emotional chord vibrate.

Charities do not ask people to donate for “African poverty”.

They ask people to sponsor a single African child or provide a cow to a village.

  • Appealing to a person’s personal interest

What do people care about? By themselves . Hence the interest in appealing to their personal interest.

It is the benefit of the profit that you must explain. In other words, consumers are not buying 0.5 millimeter forests. They buy 0.5 millimeter holes so they can hang pictures of their children.

The “ what do you have to gain? ”, Must be a central element of any speech.

6. Make your post based on a story

People remember stories much more easily than a list of facts.

Stories give people the energy to take action.


The six principles help people:

  • Pay attention (Unexpected)
  • Understand and remember (Concrete)
  • Believe and Agree (Credibility)
  • Feel concerned (emotion)
  • Act (History)