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Earn Their Attention

You don’t grab it.

You earn it.

Perhaps, that’s the most fundamental challenge all businesses face.

If you can’t earn it, it doesn’t matter how good your product, service, or course is.

Change the way you look at things

In 2012, I was invited to give a talk about personal mastery.

Everyone from the organization was going to be there.

As usual, I’d procrastinate until a couple of days before the talk to start my preparation.

By then I was starting to get nervous.

One day would pass and I’d still have nothing to show for.

Now, I was starting to get really nervous.

Just two hours before the talk, I had an epiphany.

I asked myself this question: “what if I change the focus of my talk?”

I went from “what can I do to impress them” to “what would make this talk a worthwhile investment of their time“.

The talk, as you’d probably guess, was a huge success. Many would come up to thank me and shake my hands. Some even wanted a photo together.

So what was it that I did?

What influence our brains

Via Patricia Wolfe:

Two factors strongly influence whether the brain initially attends to arriving information and whether this attention will be sustained.

Wolfe’s thesis was in the context of classroom practice. However, these two factors are no less relevant in the context of our business.

The first factor is meaning. According to Viktor E. Frankl, “Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.”

We can only do something meaningless for so long. Beyond that it becomes unbearable.

The easiest way to help anyone see meaning in something is to appeal to the benefits they associate with it. As Professor Theodore Levitt famously put it, “people don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole!”

Help your audience see the benefits they can gain from choosing your products or services and you’ll be more likely to earn their attention.

The second factor is emotion. Theodore Roosevelt told us that “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

While meaning can earn the attention of your audience, emotion will drive them to act in the way that you intended. That is, if you’re specific.

Nothing happens until your audience takes action by making enquiries about your offering or pull out their credit card.