So Much to Say, So Little Time – Making the Message Stick

Most of you are probably familiar with the book Made To Stick, by Heath brothers Chip and Dan. I recently took a fresh look at one of the concepts that the brothers dive into in their “Simple” section…

How many of us struggle with having to fit all the things we want to say into the little bit of time we have on Sunday mornings? You know how it is – You want to communicate truths that are really going to impact people, but sometimes the clock paralyzes you and makes your message less effective than it could be. So how can you get important ideas to stick in such limited time? By making your core message simple, compact and meaningful.

As the Heath brothers say, “Compact ideas help people learn and remember a core message…. To make Made to Stick - How to Improve My Sermona profound idea compact, you’ve got to pack a lot of meaning into a little bit of messaging.” Okay… but most of us church leaders love to pontificate. So where’s the sweet spot? How do we actually go about that goal of packing a lot of meaning into a little bit of messaging? Here are three quick ideas:

–    Tap into existing schemas. In other words, call on something that your audience already understands in order to help them grasp the new information you are giving them. Example – You may not know what a pomelo is, but as soon as I describe that it is basically an oversized grapefruit, you will. Why? Because you understand a grapefruit.

–    Avoid the “Curse Of Knowledge.” Don’t get caught up in explaining any one thing so fully that you minimize its effectiveness. You don’t have to tell your people everything in one sitting. Find the balance between giving them an exegesis and making sure they understand how to apply core truth to their lives.

–    Use good metaphors. A good metaphor can help people wrap their head around difficult to understand information. Think about the common metaphor of the brain as a computer. Since most of us have an understanding of how a computer works, the metaphor gives us some essential insight into our own brains.

The bottom line is to keep your message simple, without watering it down. Find your core and then figure out how to express it in the form of a compact, meaningful idea. When you do, your message will stick!

I hope your sermon goes great this weekend!

Nelson Searcy

P.S. Looking for examples of this concept, just check out the Book of Proverbs for some examples of powerful, compact ideas.

Posted On: May 09, 2008
Posted as: Worship Planning
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