The title promised access to hidden knowledge – “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” I wanted to be successful and was thrilled to know that I only had to master 7 habits!
I remember ripping through the book in one day. Every few chapters I referenced the chart you see to the right. It was Steven Covey’s framework for elegantly describing the 7 habits.
To this day, I can quickly rattle off the 7 habits and even draw the illustration. Covey’s framework not only stuck with me but with millions of others who lived by his book’s suggestions.
If you analyze many of the top personal productivity and business books you’ll find similar frameworks at their core. We have “The Longtail”, the “Technology Adoption Curve”, Red Ocean vs. Blue Ocean, and the Lizard Brain to name a few. Non-fiction writers rely on these frameworks because they are a clever way to hack into your conscious mind and capture your attention.
In “Pitch Anything”, Oren Klaff observes that your lizard brain’s job is to conserve cognitive resources. Anything that is too difficult to understand at first glance is ignored or crudely simplified and sent to your neocortex to analyze, often in radically different form.
Frameworks on the other hand package complex concepts into easily digestible bits that are understood at a glance. The best frameworks are easy to visualize, use sticky hard-hitting words, and adopt common visual forms like a wheel, ladder, or the ubiquitous pyramid.
Smart writers use them because they effectively position themselves as experts, enhance understanding, and improves the chances that their articles, books, or posts will go viral.
Think About Your Blog Posts
The biggest challenge we have as professional bloggers is communicating clearly. We have little time to make an impression and our ideas need to stick if they are going to get shared.
Most bloggers approach this challenge by simply filling the page. There may be a loose outline but for most, blogging is a stream of conscious dump of ideas, images, and concepts. Although the final post makes sense to the writer, its finer points are hopelessly lost on the reader. The ever vigilant Lizard brain shouts “hit the back button” and the post is lost forever.
If you want your posts to stick then you need to use frameworks.
A Few Easy Frameworks You Can Use Now
While I can’t show you hot to create Covey like illustrations, I can introduce you to a few frameworks that will immediately make your concepts memorable and sharable.
Spend a little time to think through these frameworks. Once you get the hang of them you’ll see them pop up all around you.
Physical, Emotional, and Logical
A popular framework used by motivational and personal productivity experts. The writer uses the framework by breaking a concept into three parts: the inner core, the middle layer, and the outer exposed area.
Example: “The human mind has evolved in three stages: the inner brain, the oldest part of the brain that run on instinct and handles physical needs, the middle brain the seat of emotions, and the neocortex the home of the logical mind.”
Old Vs. New
This framework is useful for describing an important change or transition. It’s easy for the reader to instantly understand how to interpret and evaluate the information.
Example: “In the old days of marketing, brands were built on personal reputation and one-to-one customer service. Now, brands are built on creative messaging scientifically targeted on a mass-scale.
Inner Game – Outer Game:
My favorite framework that is as useful as a swiss knife. It works by describing the hidden mechanics of a concept and describing the outer manifestation of the inner game at work.
Example: “In order to experience real success in your career, relationships, and physical health you need to conquer the inner demons that can sabotage your success.”
Note how authoritative this sounds even though I’m not a career or fitness coach. Simply using the Inner Game Outer Game framework provides a structure that signals expertise.
Here is one more…
Theory and Practice
This framework divides the concept into two chunks: the scientific and/or intellectual foundation and the hands-on practical application. Combining these two aspects make it easy for the reader to satisfy their logical questions while demonstrating the everyday usefulness of the concept.
Scan this post to see how I used the Theory and Practice to describe frameworks.
Test Frameworks Out in Your Next Post
I will be talking about Frameworks and other proven blogging techniques in my free Webinar on Feb 22, 2012 at 7:00PM EST. You should sign-up (only 100 seats available). In the meantime, give one of these frameworks a try. If you run into trouble let me know in the comments below.