Got Your Attention?: How to Create Intrigue and Connect with Anyone

Got Your Attention?: How to Create Intrigue and Connect with Anyone

by Sam Horn

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Did you know:

• Goldfish, yes, goldfish, have longer attention spans than we humans do?

• One in four people abandons a website if it takes longer than four seconds to load?

Imagine if there were ways, in a world of impatience and INFObesity, to quickly intrigue busy, distracted people and earn their interest, trust and buy-in?

Imagine if there was a process for pleasantly surprising decision-makers and convincing them you're the right person for the job, position, project or contract?

You don't have to imagine it, Sam Horn has created it. Sam's innovative techniques have helped her clients close deals and raise millions of dollars and will be your “secret sauce” to getting funded, hired, elected, promoted or referred.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781626562523
Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers
Publication date: 04/06/2015
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 216
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Sam Horn, the Intrigue Expert, is an international keynoter and communications strategist who has trained the world’s top entrepreneurs and executives. Her books POP! and Tongue Fu! have been featured in the New York Times and Fast Company and on MSNBC. She has given a TEDx Talk, served as pitch coach for the British Airways Face2Face competitions, and is the former executive director and emcee of the Maui Writers Conference.

Read an Excerpt

Got Your Attention?

How to Create Intrigue and Connect with Anyone

By Sam Horn

Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2015 Sam Horn
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-62656-252-3


Ask "Did You Know?" Questions

It's not overly dramatic to say your destiny hangs on the impression you make. TV journalist Barbara Walters

It's daunting, isn't it, to think the destiny of something you care about depends on your ability to create a favorable impression for it in the first minute?

That was how Kathleen Callendar, founder of PharmaJet, felt when she told me, "I've got good news and I've got bad news. Springboard Enterprises is giving me an opportunity to pitch to a room full of investors at the Paley Center in New York City."

I told her, "That is good news. Springboard has helped female entrepreneurs like Robin Chase of ZipCar receive more than $6.4 billion dollars in funding. What's the bad news?"

"I'm going at 2:30 and I have only ten minutes. You can't say anything in ten minutes. How can I possibly explain our team credentials, clinical trials, and financial projections in ten minutes?"

"Kathleen, you don't have ten minutes. Those investors will have heard sixteen other pitches. You have sixty seconds to break through the afternoon blahs and earn their attention."

Here is the intro we crafted that not only helped Kathleen win buy-in and funding, it helped her be named one of BusinessWeek's most promising social entrepreneurs of 2010.

Did you know there are 1.8 billion vaccinations given every year?

Did you know up to half of those vaccinations are given with reused needles?

Did you know we are spreading and perpetuating the very diseases we're trying to prevent?

Imagine if there was a painless, one-use needle for a fraction of the current cost.

You don't have to imagine it, we've created it. It's called PharmaJet, as this article shows ...

And she was off and running. Are you intrigued? So was everyone in that room.

Let's put this in perspective. The PharmaJet team used to open their presentations by explaining they were a "platform for a medical delivery device for subcutaneous inoculations."

Yikes. That intro would have lost people at hello. Yet that is how many people open their communications, with blah-blah-blah explanations that cause listeners to think "duh" or "huh?" They've already concluded this is "hard work," and they switch their attention to something more enjoyable or urgent. Kathleen had a competitive advantage because, one minute in, everyone was already curious and eager to know more.

How Else Can the "Did You Know?" Intro Be Used?

You can't just give someone a creativity injection. You have to create an environment for curiosity.

#1 rated TED talker Sir Ken Robinson

In case you're wondering if you can use this opening online and in print, as well as in person, the answer is a resounding yes. If fact, you may choose to follow Sean Keener's example. Sean and his BootsnAll team used a "Did you know?" opening in a sixty-second video posted on the home page of their website. He tells me it has helped their new product, Indie, become an instant success. His intro starts with:

Did you know you used to need a travel agent to book a multi-city trip with five stops?

Did you know it used to take up to forty-eight hours to book a five-stop trip?

Did you know it used to take up to five days to receive a price quote for a five-stop trip?

Imagine, if for the first time ever, you could plan and book a five-stop trip yourself, without ever having to use a travel agent?

Imagine if you could get your own price quotes for a multi-stop trip? Imagine if you could do all the above in less than an hour?

You don't have to imagine it; we've created it. It's called Indie.

Intrigued? So have been the thousands of people who have watched that video and were sufficiently intrigued to click on the link to find out more.

Ready for an example of how this opening can be used in print? Imagine you're writing an e-book on how to get hired in today's tough job market. You could start with this opening:

Did you know that:

* Of the 3.6 million job openings in 2012, 80 percent were never advertised?

* 118 people (on average) apply for any given job and only 20 percent get interviews?

* In 2013 in the United States, 53.6 percent of bachelor's degree holders under the age of twenty-five were jobless or underemployed?

Imagine if you could:

* Find out about quality jobs that were never advertised?

* Dramatically increase your likelihood of getting an interview this week?

* Learn ten new, yet proven ways to stand out in today's supercompetitive job market?

You don't have to imagine it. This sixty-page e-book shares real-life success stories of individuals who found jobs in three months as a result of these techniques. In fact, ....

Isn't that more interesting than most "tell 'em what you're going to tell 'em" openings that leave you thinking, You're insulting my intelligence. Just get to it! And in case you're curious, the statistics in this sample e-book copy are true. An Intrigue Agency team member found them, in less than five minutes, by GTS (Googling that Subject).

Three Steps to Crafting a "Did You Know?" Intro

Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known. astronomer Carl Sagan

Please get out your W5 Form so you can craft an opening that introduces something your decision-makers don't know so you can have them at hello.

Step 1: Open with three startlingly relevant "Did You Know?" questions

Introduce three things your decision-makers don't know, but would like to know, about the:

* Scope of the problem you've solving

* Urgency of the issue you're addressing

* Dramatic shift in a trend you're discussing

* Unmet need you're filling

Be sure to cite reputable sources, (e.g., Wall Street Journal, Forbes) to add gravitas and so people know you're not making up your numbers. No vague, sweeping generalizations; (i.e., "Millions of people are out of work" or "Unemployment is rampant"). Find out exactly how many people are out of work as of that month, so people trust your data and can trust you're telling the truth.

Are you thinking, Where do I find these facts, experts, and verifiable statistics? GTS–Google that Stuff. Use your favorite search engine to ask:

* What are shocking statistics about ____________________ (your subject)?

* What recent research has been done about ___________________ (your topic)?

* Who is an expert on ____________________ (your issue)?

* What are the most popular articles about ____________________ (your problem)?

* What are changing trends about ____________________ (your target market)?

* What are the best websites or most popular blogs ____________________ (your cause or industry)?

In minutes, you may discover a well-known think tank just released data that proves the problem you're addressing is growing exponentially and has more drastic consequences than anticipated.

You might find a study showing your target demographic is spending a growing percentage of their income on your type of product every year, and there are huge profits to be made.

The goal is to come up with startling "Really? That's news to me!" facts that affect the money, time, safety, convenience, health, performance, risk, or norms of the issue you're focusing on.

Craft those facts into three one-sentence "Did you know?" questions. Why only three? Some people think the more evidence they present, the more likely they are to get a yes. Wrong.

A May 7, 2011, Newsweek cover story entitled Brain Freeze reported that piling on information backfires because people shut down in the face of too much information.6 They're not about to say yes to something they can't grasp. It's far more effective to cherry-pick the three most impressive aspects and make them as pithy as possible so people grasp them the first time they hear them.

Step 2: Use the word imagine linked with three "Who wouldn't want that?" attributes of your proposed solution.

The word imagine pulls people out of their preoccupation and helps them actively process what you're saying instead of passively hearing it. They're no longer distant. They're fully focused on you instead of distractedly thinking about the UPOs (unidentified piled objects) stacking up on their desk.

How do you come up with the three "Who wouldn't want that?" attributes? Think back to Kathleen Callendar and PharmaJet. What did her decision-makers care about? Those reused needles, so we emphasized they were "one use." No one likes painful inoculations, so we clarified they were "painless." Decision-makers always care about money, so we indicated her offering was "a fraction of the current cost." Do you see how we distilled her solution into a succinct ideal scenario that evoked a "Who wouldn't want that?" response? That's your goal.

Step 3. Transition with "You don't have to imagine it; we've created it. In fact...."

Provide precedents and evidence so they know this isn't speculative or pie-in-the-sky; this is a done deal, and you and your team are ready to deliver it. Share a testimonial from a named client who vouches for you. Hold up an article that reports your results. Reference a benchmark showing what you're suggesting is not an unproven risk. It's been done before, successfully.

One final reason the "Did you know?" intro is so effective: All the above can be condensed into a rare and welcome sixty seconds. Other communicators are still telling the audience what they're going to tell them, and you have already earned their attention and respect and they're eager to hear more.

I hope you'll try this opening for your next high-stakes communication. It has made a dramatic difference for many of my clients, and I know it can help you connect with your decision-makers in record time.

Action Questions: Ask "Did You Know?" Questions

Are you doing what you're doing today because it works or because it's what you were doing yesterday? TV host Dr. Phil McGraw

1. What's the situation on your W5 Form? Instead of telling people what you're going to tell them, how can you open by asking three "Did you know?" questions?

2. How will you help people picture your ideal scenario with the word imagine and distill three aspects of your proposed solution into a "Who wouldn't want that?" scenario?

3. How will you bridge into "You don't have to imagine it ..." and provide empirical evidence so decision-makers know this isn't too good to be true; it is a done deal and you're ready to deliver it?


Show Them the Fish

A lot of times people don't know what they want until you show it to them. entrepreneur Steve Jobs

Jobs was right. People don't know unless you show them.

Here's what I mean. Did you read the book or see the movie Jaws? Do you know the backstory behind its iconic cover? Bantam Books president Oscar Dystel rejected the original cover, which simply depicted the word Jaws in white text on a black background. Dystel was afraid readers would think it was about a dentist. He ordered his design team back to the drawing board with the admonition, "I want to see that fish."

The designer came back with the famous image of a woman swimming in the ocean, unaware that a huge shark is lurking beneath her. That eye-catching image proved to be so popular that the film studio asked to use it for the movie poster. It may have been years since you've seen that cover art, but I bet you can still picture it in your mind.

That's the power of turning your idea into an image that tells its story. Not only is it more likely to capture people's attention, but it gives your idea staying power. Would Jaws have grossed more than $470 million and be one of the "top ten most successful movies of all time" without the memorable cover art that told the story in a single glance? I don't think so.

Act Out the Problem so They Want Your Solution

When you advertise fire extinguishers, open with the fire. advertising legend David Ogilvy

Entrepreneur Cari Carter understood the importance of "showing people the fish." Cari was participating in a competition called "The Dolphin Tank" (a kinder, more compassionate, version of the TV show Shark Tank or The Dragon's Den where entrepreneurs pitch their products to a panel of investors to win funding.)

As a judge, I had an opportunity to review Cari's business plan in advance. She had created a hook, called Cargo, you put in your car to hang your purse on. I thought, Really?! You're building a business around a hook that holds a purse?

Cari, however, intrigued everyone in the first minute. She carted a full-size car seat to the front of the room, set it down on the floor next to her, and put a purse on it. She stood up, faced the group, wrapped her fingers around an imaginary steering wheel, and started "driving" while saying:

Have you ever been driving along and you had to STOP all of a sudden?

Your purse falls off the passenger seat, and your cell phone falls out. You're scrabbling around trying to retrieve it and stay on the road, all at the same time? Imagine never having to worry about that again. Imagine having a hook that you ...

At this point, a man stood up and said, "I'll take two. One for my wife and one for my daughter."

Wow. Cari went from a skeptical "Really?!" to an enthusiastic "I'll take two" in sixty seconds. That's the power of showing and asking. Cari did several smart things that contributed to her capturing and keeping everyone's attention.

1. She used a prop to help us see what she was saying.

I'm sure it was a hassle to haul that car seat into the Long Beach Convention Center. It was, however, well worth it because it created curiosity. We were all wondering, What are you going to do with that? Instead of being another "talking head," Cari had our attention before she even said hello.

2. She "made us look."

Our attention is where our eyes are. If we're not looking at a speaker, we're not listening to that speaker. Cari gave us something interesting to look at, so we focused on her instead of our digital devices.

3. She opened with the "fire."

Instead of describing her startup, she demonstrated a "fire" (a situation where things went wrong), which made us want her "fire extinguisher" (her solution to that situation). We remembered a time that happened to us or a loved one and voluntarily decided we wanted her product, so we could prevent that from happening again.

Don't Show and Tell, Show and Ask

I believe that if you show people the problems and you show them the solutions, they will be moved to act. philanthropist Bill Gates

Many of us grew up doing "Show and Tell" in elementary school. A premise of INTRIGUE is "It's smarter to ask than tell. And it's even smarter to 'Show and Ask.'" Why? It verbally and visually engages your audience.

Here's another example of how "showing and asking" can help you win buy-in.

I was working with a client who had created a "receipt aggregator." A what?! Exactly. Anytime you tell someone about your product and you create confusion, you're better off turning your description into a demonstration. So that's how my client opened her presentation. She took a carry-on suitcase with her to the front of the room and rummaged around it while asking:

Have you ever returned home from a business trip, tried to track down your receipts, and couldn't find them anywhere?

Or did you find crumpled-up pieces of paper like this (pulling up wadded-up, water-stained receipts) but couldn't make sense of them?

Did you check all the pockets of your suitcase only to realize you're missing receipts for your biggest expenses?

Did you know 67 percent of road warriors claim they haven't asked for reimbursement of travel expenses because they couldn't find the receipts?

Wouldn't it be wonderful to never have to worry about that again? Imagine a ...

See how this works? Halfway through her opening, people were laughing because they identified with what she was saying. Asking "Have you ever?" or "Did you?" or "Wouldn't it be wonderful?" questions while acting out a frustrating situation is an effective way to win buy-in because people think, Been there, done that, don't want to do it again. You know you've connected when people say, "That just happened to me yesterday!" or "You're talking to me!"


Excerpted from Got Your Attention? by Sam Horn. Copyright © 2015 Sam Horn. Excerpted by permission of Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Introduction: What is INTRIGUE and Why Is It Important?

Part I: I = INTRO: Open with an INTRO that Has People at Hello
Chapter 1: Ask “Did You Know?” Questions
Chapter 2: Show Them the Fish
Chapter 3: Share What's Rare
Chapter 4: Turn a No into a Yes
Chapter 5: Psych Yourself Up, Not Out

Part II: N = NEW: It's Not Enough to Be True; It Needs to Be NEW Chapter 6: Create the Next New Thing
Chapter 7: Keep Current
Chapter 8: Look at the World with Reawakened Eyes
Chapter 9: Cause Aha's with Ha-Ha's

Chapter 10: Keep it Brief or They'll Give You Grief

Part IV: R = REPEATABLE: If People Can't REPEAT It; They Didn't Get It
Chapter 11: Craft a Phrase-that-Pays

Part V: I = INTERACT: Don't Just Inform, INTERACT
Chapter 12: Never Again Deliver an Elevator Speech
Chapter 13: Create Mutually Rewarding Conversations
Chapter 14: Facilitate Interactive Meetings and Programs

Part VI: G = GIVE: GIVE Attention First
Chapter 15: Customize to Connect
Chapter 16: Listen Like You Like to Be Listened To

Part VII: U = USEFUL: If It Isn't Actionable, It Isn't USEFUL
Chapter 17: Establish Real-World Relevance
Chapter 18: Offer Options, Not Orders

Part VIII: E = EXAMPLES: Don't Tell Stories; Share Real-World EXAMPLES
Chapter 19: Illustrate Ideas with Dog on a Tanker Examples
Chapter 20: Put People in the SCENE

Summary and Action Plan: What's Next?
Chapter 21: Expand Your Influence—For Good

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