Monday, February 19, 2007

Some recent Signal vs Noise posts on communication

Some recent Signal vs Noise posts on communication:

1) and 2)

Both of these concern Chip and Dan Heath's book Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die.

1) is about the usefulness of counterintuitive-seeming statements, for getting people's attention.

2) looks the book's notion of "the Curse of Knowledge." They quote an interview with the authors that mentions it:

And that brings us to the villain of our book: The Curse of Knowledge. Lots of research in economics and psychology shows that when we know something, it becomes hard for us to imagine not knowing it. As a result, we become lousy communicators. Think of a lawyer who can’t give you a straight, comprehensible answer to a legal question. His vast knowledge and experience renders him unable to fathom how little you know. So when he talks to you, he talks in abstractions that you can’t follow. And we’re all like the lawyer in our own domain of expertise.
The amazon description of that book says it's "an entertaining, practical guide to effective communication. Drawing extensively on psychosocial studies on memory, emotion and motivation, their study is couched in terms of "stickiness"—that is, the art of making ideas unforgettable."

3) '[On Writing] Describing a slice instead of the whole pie'
Here’s a look at how four great writers describe an amazing athlete. Note how all three spotlight a single play to explain a larger idea. By zeroing in on a specific moment, they are able to explain to readers what general, big picture platitudes can’t.
4) What being a speechwriter is like, and how it's similar to doing graphic design.

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