The usual storytelling advice is to keep your story in suspense: the twist of your story should come at the end. One recent study published in the online edition of the journal Psychological Science suggests that this common belief may be wrong: story spoilers don’t spoil the storytelling. Instead, knowing how the story ends actually makes it more enjoyable.
Continue reading “Story Spoilers Don't Spoil Storytelling”
Most of us think that having more choices means more freedom, and more freedom is better. Yet, the research on choice overload suggests that the opposite is true: when people are faced with too many choices they tend to make no choice at all.
Continue reading “Choice Overload: When Too Many Choices Lead to No Choice”
Clarity and Social Advocacy
Clarity is especially important if you want to move people to action. If the spread of social innovations depends on particular people or groups taking certain actions, the clarity of your message may be the hinge factor. In social advocacy, likewise, clarity of your message may easily outweigh numerous other factors. This might explain why many social advocacy campaigns fall flat. Often, charities and other NGOs come up with simple and engaging messages, but their call to action is less than crystal clear, and this lack of clarity is usually enough to break its overall effectiveness.
Even more generally, if your message lacks clarity, it may fail to move to action even if it is simple and vivid. Simplicity usually backfires if it sacrifices clarity. And clarity is also one of the best indicators of competence.
Continue reading “The Power of Clarity”
That which is easy to understand is usually more persuasive. Also, vividness can boost your persuasion if you follow the three rules. If you want your language to be vivid and easy to understand, consider embracing the art of plain talk and imitating the Chinese language.
Rudolf Flesch, the Art of Plain Talk, and the Chinese language
Rudolf Flesch was one of the pioneers in the plain English movement. He is perhaps best known for his readability formulas, including Flesch Reading Ease and Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level. Many government institutions in the US and elsewhere use these readability formulas for official publications.
In his “The Art of Plain Talk” (1946), Flesch suggested turning to the Chinese language to learn the art of plain talk.
Continue reading “The Art of Plain Talk”