“Woo,” “Stick” and “Tip” are all words used to describe successful pitching. There are many great how-to books on ways to win over an audience. As public relations practitioners, we are constantly trying to find the best way to communicate key messages. Tiffany Derville mentioned in my Advanced PR Writing class that being able to express your key message is crucial to public relations.
The Art of Woo, by G. Richard Shell and Mario Moussa, discusses how to use strategic persuasion to sell ideas. “Woo” is a fun way of describing the act of winning someone over. I enjoy that the authors give specific steps on how “woo” works. Step one is to survey your situation, which reminds me of a situation analysis section of a public relations plan. Step two is to confront the barriers, which then reminds me of a problem statement. Step three and four discuss how to make your pitch and secure your commitments.
Made to Stick, which we are reading in my Advanced PR Writing class by Chip Heath and Dan Heath, explores the sustainability of message and ideas. This book is a wonderful compliment to The Art of Woo because it gives the reader tools to keep an idea constantly communicated and explains why other ideas “die.” Made to Stick breaks stickiness down into six principles; the first two are my favorite. Principle one is simplicity. A message needs to be easy to remember by the audience. Principle two is unexpectedness, which is my personal favorite. When someone is taken by surprised they listen. Even a pleasant surprise, rather than shock value, is still “unexpectedness.”
Selling ideas with strategic persuasion and making them stick is all proven in The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. He shares stories of ideas and products that have been able to “tip” into our lives and create moment for change. I’ve actually never “read” this book, however, I have listened to it on tape. During my drive to Seattle, Wash., I could picture all of the “tipping points” that Gladwell describes in his book. The Hush Puppies story is my personal favorite and I encourage everyone to read or listen to this entertaining and educating book.
So whether you are “tipping,” “wooing” or “sticking,” remember to always keep your audience and key message in mind.