Your #1 threat to standing out: distraction

It’s not enough to be the world’s best if no one realizes you’re there.

In the battle to make a memorable impression, our talents and skills are hopelessly lost unless we find a way to fascinate our listener.

Meet your arch-enemies: distraction, competition, and commoditization.

  • Distraction threatens your connection with others.
  • Competition threatens your ability to stand out and win.
  • Commoditization threatens your relationships and loyalty.

Today, let’s dive a little deeper into the threat of distraction…

Distraction is a jealous seductress. It refuses to share your listener’s attention.

It whispers, “Pay attention to this shiny object!”…“Hey, over HERE!”

Distraction lures people away from you and your message by tempting them with a Facebook notification or a text from a friend. Distraction prevents you from earning the attention of prospective clients.

It’s true: like the dog in the Disney movie Up (“Squirrel!”), your listeners can become easily distracted. Any real, electronic, or imaginary squirrel crossing their path threatens to take their attention away from your message.

When your listeners get distracted:

  • Customers shift from vendor to vendor.
  • Co‑workers move on to the next email in their inbox.
  • Employees go from almost putting out one fire, to the next smoldering issue.

Today we’re distracted by voicemails and emails and texts and snaps and tweets and IMs. We get pings, beeps and buzzes all day long.

How do our brains respond? We may think more quickly in this age of media assault, but we also become distracted even more easily.

Web browsing has carved away at our ability to focus.

Every time you introduce yourself, you have about seven seconds to engage your listener. This is your window of opportunity to make a connection.

If you earn their interest during those seven seconds, people will be more likely to engage further.

If you fail to add value in that golden window, they’re less likely to listen to what you say next, let alone remember or take action on it.

You need to “front-load” your value.

Cut to the chase.

Get to the point.

Make it short and sweet.

The pressure is on.

Distraction ruins flow

On an MRI scan, a fascinated brain is in a state of relaxed focus.

On the other hand, a distracted brain lights up in an unpleasant state of crisis and confusion. As you kick into high gear, you burn more glucose and oxygen. Your brain is only about 2% of your weight, but even in normal conditions, it burns about 20% of your energy.

In a state of distraction or stress, your brain function is compromised.

If your listener becomes distracted while you communicate, they are more likely to feel confusion or doubt your message.

On the other hand, if you communicate authentically and purposefully, your listener is less likely to feel overloaded or confused.

When you use your Fascination Advantages® to highlight your most valuable traits, you’ll get into a natural flow. You’ll communicate clearly, and be more likely to leave a lasting impression.

Your audience will feel more confident in you, and find value in your message.

When your communication adds unique value, people will seek more opportunities to connect with you. The more value you deliver, the more likely your colleague, client or prospect will be to return for more.

It all begins with a captivating first impression.


Discover how YOU fascinate. Click here to take the Fascination Advantage assessment, or log into your account here.


How have you used your Advantages to battle distraction in your listener? Tell us in the comments!

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About the author

Sally Hogshead

Sally skyrocketed to the top of the advertising world in her early 20s, fascinating millions of consumers for clients such as MINI Cooper and Coca-Cola. Since then, she’s published two New York Times bestsellers on the science of fascination, and is one of only 172 living members in the Speaker Hall of Fame. Over a million professionals have taken the Fascination Advantage® personality test to discover how others perceive their communication.

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