This is an excerpt from an online interview between Tom Peters and Dan Heath. Dan is the co-author of the new marketing and communication strategies book, Made To Stick. Read it within a context of how you can make your keynote message simpler so that it can stick with your audience...
TP: You use the word "elegant" frequently in the book. Can you talk about that word and what it means to you?
DH: Well, the first trait of stickiness is simplicity. Our gravest fear is that when people see "simplicity" in our book, they'll think of it as dumbing down. They'll think of it as stupid sound bytes or monosyllables. What we mean is something very different. What we mean is that simplicity is about whittling down your idea to its core. You could think about the metaphor of design elegance and how really great products aren't necessarily about maximizing the number of features. Often they're about stripping down the number of features to the most essential set, like the Palm Pilot or the iPod. That is the metaphor we want to apply to ideas. The really painful thing about simplicity is that it forces us to jettison some of the really important ideas that just aren't the most important.
Like a famous trial lawyer says, "If you tell the jury ten things, no matter how smart those things are, by the time they get back to the deliberation room, nothing will be left. Ten things are the same as no things."