Does your district have a mission statement that you think is simple and effective? How can you harness the power of stories to build advocacy for education? Central Rivers AEA can provide help in the areas of graphic design, printing, and video production to tell your district's story. Contact Beth Strike, Director of Creative Services for more information.

The Power of Stories

Chip and Dan Heath, the masterminds behind the New York Times best-selling book “Made to Stick” offer these six recommendations for increasing the likelihood that your message will “stick” once it’s communicated. “Sticky” ideas are simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, emotional and utilize the power of stories.

  • Concrete, simple and inviting will get your message across.
  • Keep it simple. What’s the core idea? You truly have to understand the topic in order to boil it down to its most simple form.
  • Utilize the “power of three” principle. People don’t have the ability to retain more than three things at a time.
  • Make it unexpected. When you try not to offend anyone you engage no one.
  • Make it concrete. Avoid using educational jargon whenever possible.
  • Language either invites or alienates. (e.g. Asking “why” automatically puts the other person on the defensive.)
  • Use opinion leaders that others trust to help carry the message.
  • Use stories.
  • Great stories contain the same three ingredients, 1) concrete; 2) unexpected; and 3) use emotion.

In this short video, Dan Heath, co-author of “Made to Stick” discusses why most mission statements fail to engage others. Does the process described in the video sound familiar? Most school district mission statements are created with a great deal of input from stakeholders which can be an incredibly powerful. However, when we allow “political wordsmithing” to take precedence over communicating simply and clearly, we run the risk of creating messages that confuse rather than educate.