How to get Attention: The 7 Triggers of Fascination

How to get Attention: The 7 Triggers of Fascination

Fascinating? Photo Credit: Angel~Lily

When I step on stage to speak, I get 8 seconds before the listener decides how to categorize me:

  1. worth attention, or
  2. time to check my mobile email

What are your first words?

When I meet someone at a conference, a party, an event…  again – we have 8 seconds.  Catch attention, or the other person is starting to scan the room for a more interesting conversation partner and beginning to plan her escape: “oh I must get a new drink”, “Is the toilet over there?”, “Oh I must say hello to Anna”…

In those 8 seconds, your whole life is judged on the power of your first words.  What are they?  There are 7 billion humans…  how do you stand out as different?  (you are different… but how to sum up a whole life in several words?)…

So often a speaker begins with:

  • “Hi”
  • “Good morning”
  • “What’s up?”

How does that help differentiate from 3 billion?

In-different = Boring

What does stop us for a moment?  What delays the escape routine of the listener?

There are 7 triggers of fascination.  Brands, people, even you use these triggers every day.  You have one that is your “primary” trigger.  What is your “primary” trigger?

  1. Power – Take command of the environment
  2. Pasion – Attract with emotion, irrational, irresistible charm
  3. Mystique – Arousing curiosity
  4. Prestige – Increase respect, aspiration
  5. Alarm – Driving urgency
  6. Vice – Creativity, Deviation from the norm, See things differently
  7. Trust – Connection through consistency and predictability

Sally Hogshead explains the 7 triggers in her TEDx talk:

What do you think?

11 Comments

  1. Cultural perspective : Sally addresses an American audience, which allows her to build to a conclusion 17 minutes later. (It works in the US). Most European audiences would want to hear the main conclusions in the first minute or two – so that they can ‘decide’ whether it’s worth investing in listening to the next 15 minutes. In Europe (or Australia) there is a 60 second challenge as well as a 9 second challenge.

    1. This “time to value” factor also varies with how “important” you are, or appear to be; how “famous” you are before you start speaking, and on the institution hosting you – TED is a recognised brand (although TEDx is a little bit of a dilution of the TED brand, with quality of speakers varying enormously).

      I would suggest that all speakers need to know the WIIFM for the specific audience and get it out there as soon as they have created readiness for the message (this can be very early if the message is not polemic, but might need to be delayed if the message is highly polemic or unexpected).

      Best from Doha airport 😉

  2. Did the test came out with Rebellion as primary, Passion as secondary – a Rockstar Archetype! My wife said it was the big ears that fascinated her!

  3. I think my first one is PASSION and my secondary is VICE.
    As a Coach i love to push my clients on the edge!

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