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Stories Only Stick if They Are ‘Sticky’ – Part 4: 'Credible'

This is a six (and a ½!) part series which breaks down the different elements featured in “Made To Stick” by Chip and Dan Heath.


A former acting student of mine, Gabby has Muscular Dystrophy and has been confined to a wheelchair her entire life.

When Gabby was a teenager she wanted so much to be in theatre. To act and direct and teach. But the theatre teacher in her high school would never cast her in a production.

Do you believe the story that I just told you?

Probably. However…

If Gabby were sitting in front of you at this moment and telling you this story would it be more CREDIBLE?

Yes, because it is her experience. And because she would be sitting in front of you in a wheelchair which would bring, not just a point of view of her experience, but a visual element of fact to her telling of the story. If she tells the story, she instantly brings more credibility to how the world sees her, than if I tell her story second-hand.

However, when I tell the story there is still an element of credibility because we know that all too often in society those who have a visible disability are only seen for their limitations, not for their capabilities.

That’s why credibility is sticky:

1. It goes to the experience of the person – either because they have studied it OR because they have been through it; OR

2. Because the culture reflects it and it is therefore accepted as credible.

AND then there is DATA...

(There is more to discuss about credibility so consider this a holiday cliff-hanger....

Part 4 1/2: DATA will come after the New Year!)

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