It’s not enough to have a great idea.

You must be able to clearly communicate why the idea is good.

The less words the better.

The old adage of the elevator pitch still works.  Could you pitch your idea to a potential investor from the floor to the top (without stopping at every level as if Buddy the Elf jumped on board)?

Great ideas are easily understood.  People gravitate to the idea, and to you.  This is why talking about your idea is so important.  If it takes you longer than ten floors to communicate your idea, you probably have more work to do.  As Einstein said, “If you can’t communicate it simply, you probably don’t understand it well enough.”

This sounds easy.  It is anything but.

Simple, powerful phrases take a long time to build, but they have a long lasting effect.

Here are some examples:

  • Steve Jobs: What is an iPod? It’s like having a thousand songs in your pocket.
  • The One Campaign: Making Poverty History
  • Nike:  Just do it.
  • Chick-fil-A: Eat More Chicken.
  • Your English teacher: i before e except after c
  • Your History teacher: Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492.

These phrases are what we call sticky. You remember them. You carry them with you.  And most importantly, you pass them on.

Take a look at the way you currently describe your idea, product or business.  Is it catchy? Do people remember it?  How would you know?

Well, here’s a simple exercise.  Ask people.  Try out your pitch and then ask them what they heard.  If you receive blank stares, you have more work to do.  If they repeat back a phrase, your idea is sticky – and that’s where you want to be.  (With the possible exception of that fact that your English teacher was wrong: receive.)