How to Deliver a TED Talk: Make Your Message Sticky

Posted on by in Reading Between the Lines

“I have a strong preference for three’s since that is the stickiest number.”

How to Deliver a TED Talk by Jeremey Donovan, page 39

I like the word “sticky.” It was first brought to my attention in the book written by the Heath Brothers titled “Made To Stick.” The idea is that many marketing messages come and go while getting lost in the clutter of today’s bombardment of “me too… only better.”

The challenge to today’s marketers (and that defines just about every man, woman, and child on the planet) is to capture the attention of a defined audience, deliver a message of value, and have it remembered for more than five milliseconds. In other words, we want our messages to “stick” around.

Click on the book to grab your own copy of "How to Deliver a TED Talk"

Click on the book to grab your own copy of “How to Deliver a TED Talk”

I am about to misquote the next number, but it has been said that in 2016 we are introduced to more information in a single edition of The New York Times than we were in a lifetime back in the late 1880’s.

Please don’t quote me on that. But you can quote me on this:

The Knowledge Doubling Curve

Buckminster Fuller created the “Knowledge Doubling Curve”; he noticed that until 1900, human knowledge doubled approximately every century. By the end of World War II, knowledge was doubling every 25 years. Today things are not as simple, as different types of knowledge have different rates of growth. For example, nanotechnology knowledge is doubling every two years and clinical knowledge every 18 months. But on average, human knowledge is doubling every 13 months. According to IBM, the build out of the “internet of things” will lead to the doubling of knowledge every 12 hours.

This translates to the fact that we are being introduced to a whole bunch of information, and in order to maintain some semblance of sanity, we only pay attention to what interests us at the time. Therefore, we must make it easy for readers and listeners to read our stuff and listen to our recommendations.

Enter the magical number three (3). Three by the very nature of things can be considered a very sticky number. The reason for this is because it has become a working member of our DNA.

Examples:

The Three Little Pigs.

A, B, C

1, 2, 3

Moe, Larry, & Curley

Three Strikes and You’re Out

The Nina, The Pinta, and The Santa Maria

Small, Medium, or Large

Telephone Area Codes

Red, Green, and Yellow stop lights

The Three Musketeers

Three Blind Mice

You get the idea. Three is a number we can all get our heads around.

So, the next time you want to paint a picture of a destination or steps to take when giving directions, try “sticking” to the number three. It will work in your favor as your instructions will be internalized more easily.

“I strongly recommend that you consider taking a European River Cruise on AmaWaterways for three reasons:

  1. Their ships are impeccably clean
  2. Their crew is attentive and makes you feel like you are the only ones onboard.
  3. The food on Ama Ships is to die for.”

Clean, attentive, and delicious. Bada bing. Bada Bang. Bada Boom.


Mike presents a business-building webinar on the third Thursday of every month sponsored by AmaWaterways. To receive monthly invitations send Mike an email with the words “business training” in the Subject Box. You will also receive a link to the recorded version.

For information on Mike’s Fourth Annual Training Cruise, email Mike at mike@mikemarchev.com with the word “cruise” in the subject box.

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