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Does your communication Stick?

February 8, 2012

People usually forget 90 percent of what they learn within 30 days*

Urban Myth? Or Research?

Ok, test it yourself, without looking at any notes. Try to recall any meeting, presentation or workshop you’ve attended 30 days ago. How much of the main theme do you remember?

Ok, now a different test: Which is the last movie you saw, do you remember the main story? Note: I’m asking you to recollect the main theme/plot to an extent that you can communicate it to someone else.

Stories stick in our minds especially if they are unusual, or strike an emotional chord and/or are visual.

WHY MY AWESOME REPORT GOT IGNORED… UNTILL – that’s the title of the story of how I got into Visual Thinking (Read it here). It’s very short, but I’m sure if I ask you 30 days later about it. You will remember the key idea.

Making our ideas stick in people’s mind is the biggest challenge most communicators face.

3 kinds of stories

Most stories fall largely into three buckets. Three essential kind of plots.

Challenge Plot-David vs Goliath


The Challenge Plot – Think David & Goliath. Just those two words David & Goliath are enough to kindle your memory.




ConnectionPlot Romeo & Juliet


The Connection Plot – Think Romeo & Juliet.





Creativity Plot - Newton & Apple


The Creativity Plot – Think Newton and the apple falling on his head. A mental breakthrough. A person solving a long standing puzzle, or attacking a puzzle in an innovative way.




Here are all three together

Story Plots

Here’s another way at looking at the three story plots

Three kinds of stories

I’ve also noticed that some of the best sales people usually always have a good story to share regarding their products, services and clients, which helps them explain their ideas much better.

What do you think? What’s your experience been? Do share in the comments below.

* Research:

This blog post has been inspired by the research from the book “Made to Stick” by Chip Heath & Dan Heath.


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