Jonah Berger, a Wharton professor, wrote an observant piece on Malcolm Gladwell’s method for selling ideas. Berger, who also wrote the book, “Contagious: Why Things Catch On“, breaks down Gladwell’s communication skills into three simple factors.
1. KISS – Keep it simple, stupid: Be a careful of the curse of knowledge in trying to share too much information. Avoid jargons, and boil down complicated concepts into the key details and shares only those
2. Stories beat information every time: Rather than just providing information, Gladwell tells stories. Tales of hipsters in the East Village or a girls’ basketball team that seemed woefully outmatched. These stories surprise and engage the audience and they help the listener mentally simulate what is happening.
3. A good tease holds attention: Gladwell starts with a question in the form of a story, but doesn’t resolve that story right away. Instead, he launches into a second and even a third story before wrapping up the first one. But the listener stays tuned along the way because they want to know how the first story ends. By opening what researchers call a curiosity gap, or hole in the listener’s knowledge, Gladwell encourages them to pay attention to the rest.
I encourage reading the full piece here.