Pulling All The Triggers

Sally Hogshead examines the meaning and mechanics of fascination, and offers seven ways for individuals and organizations to increase and improve upon their ability to get attention and keep it, as well as to influence others.

Hogshead’s book is the result of multidisciplinary research, but fascination, it turns out, is as much art as science  — to be most effective, you have to know how and when to use the triggers. And it is generally best, Hogshead advises, not to use all the triggers at one time.

But there are exceptions, including when Hogshead is speaking and wants to prove her points. When I interviewed Hogshead for the November issue of Convene, she employed me how she uses all seven triggers when she speaks. It’s also a sneak preview: Hogshead will speak Jan. 9 at Convening Leaders in San Diego.
1. Passion. “It is very important for the audience to feel that they are bonding with  me from the second I walk out on stage, I want them to feel like we are  we are doing this together.”
2. Trust: “As soon as I walk out there, [the audience] knows I am a leader in my field, they already know I have done a tremendous amount of research. Trust is not something I can build on stage, trust is something that can be built through experience and repeated exposure. I make sure that audience knows that everything I am saying is not  my opinion, but is backed up by research.”
3. Prestige: Every aspect of my keynote is polished to a perfect degree, my slides have all been developed by award-winning designers. I make sure that every piece of the experience, from the way I am introduced, to the way my  materials are handed out gives a very high-end experience for the audience.
4. Power. “When I speak, I am in command and control of what I am talking about . That helps {the audience] understand that this is a message that they absolutely need to hear — that this is urgent.”
5. Alarm: “I used the alarm trigger to explain what happens if people don’t fascinate. I want them to really understand that it used to be okay to not fascinate … but today there is too much competition. I use the alarm trigger to get people really plugged into the problem. I need them to be a bit uncomfortable hearing my speech, so I can give them the solution and so they understand that there is a lot at stake here.”
6. Rebellion: “This trigger is one of my favorites. Rebellion is about creativity and surprise. While I am talking, I love to give the audience either a surprise or do something in a completely innovative way. I love walking out into the audience and asking people to join me on stage for an exercise  or challenging the audience in a way they didn’t expect … I love pushing the boundaries of how a speech would normally go.”
7. Mystique: “When an audience is curious, they want to know more. I give them enough information to understand the insight. But I don’t want to spell everything out to the nth degree.”

Barbara Palmer

Barbara Palmer is senior editor and director of digital content.