This Article is About
greener pastures
distraction
grabs
emotion
paragraph
feelings
brain
audience
journey
Pay Attention To Gaining Attention!
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Pay Attention to Gaining Attention!

If I want your attention for longer than this first paragraph than I’ve got my work cut out. Generally, a live audience will turn off after 10 minutes. When it comes to articles, such as this one, an author doesn’t have the privilege of so much time.

Entertain, educate and enlighten, and do it right now, or your audience is gone. Clicked out, logged off, gone!

A few years ago, during my Trainers Training, we were encouraged to put a lot of thought into the structure of our message. I spent time thinking up metaphors for the message that I was imparting. I made the stories colourful and engaging.

I painted a picture with words and feelings that would resonate with an audience and make them feel connected. “I have a message here that is wonderful, enlightening and worth the journey with me” my words would tell the audience.

I began my presentation with enthusiasm and the promise of more to come. The key to all this is staying until the end!

A Narrative To Learn From

It’s important to tell narratives, present timely information or create experiences rich in emotion. This will stimulate and arouse interest. When a narrative evokes emotion it not only grabs the attention of the reader but it also helps the brain to learn.

The brain is more interested in meaning than details. It likes structure and a concept to focus on before being introduced to the information that needs explaining. In short, your brain appreciates a reason why it’s focusing and engaging in the information being presented.

Where Is This Going?

Knowing where your article is headed in advance allows the reader to focus on what you have to say without the distraction of unconsciously sorting the information.

Most of us can remember sitting in a lecture or class that was dry and boring. Even if the body remains the mind is fairly quickly holidaying in greener pastures. This is exactly the same when reading an article.

The brain can only focus or “spotlight” on one thing at a time… and most of us are already breathing. The mind delights to be active, learning and busy.

In Trainers Training I began a presentation. But it wasn’t just the beginning. I was already looking toward the ending. Beside me was the audience. We were setting out on a journey of discovery together and, as the leader, my goal was to reach the end with everyone still traveling together.

It’s a good approach when writing an article too.


Street Talk

Another great article Heather informative as usual. Most of us have lost the ability to tell stories round the camp fire as our ancestors did many years ago. Using emotion, emphasing certain points raising and lowering the voice etc. It goes without saying we need to try and capture it here and without the reader seeing us we have to be creative in our writing. Something I'm still trying to grasp.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Mark I think you've hit on the most important element : creating an emotional connection with the audience. Whether it's a live presentation or an article this is one of the key components in a good presentation. Thanks for your comment. It consolidated a learning for me!

Reply
  about 7 years ago

I love narratives to make a point! Good advice, Heather.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Thanks Patty

Reply
  about 7 years ago
C4rmen  

Great approach Heather! A well crafted article written from the heart cannot be beat :)

Reply
  about 7 years ago

You are encouraging as always C4men!

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Some valuable information here Heather, thank you.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Thanks Penny.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
joe witt  

Whether you are writing for a book, article or movie, consider your audience to have an IQ 20 points higher then normal. Not that they don't need information, but don't over explain everything, people have an innate grasp of many things. Advice from a writing teacher I got once, I always liked it. Nice article Heather

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Oh that's good advice! Thanks for sharing Joe.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Am I doing this wrong? I have been writing off the cuff since I joined SA. I guess if it is how you do it best run with it.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

What is 'wrong' Shawn? As I've said to others this article was not meant to be over analysed or a definitive on right and wrong. Perhaps your writing is so wonderful because you do know your direction and can expound 'off the cuff' so readily. To be honest once the idea is simmering in my mind that's exactly how I do it too! By the way, it was your excellent garlic article that inspired my last 'smell' article! It's amusing how the same subject takes us in different directions! I love this part of SA. Thanks for stopping by!

Reply
  about 7 years ago
Barbara9  

excellent article

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Thank you Barbara!

Reply
  about 7 years ago

That was an article flu of useful advice. At least to me. I had not written anything long since university and I have to admit it takes time to form something good to keep your audience. You are so right about that! Hopefully it becomes easier with time. thanks for sharing this.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Maria, you're doing wonderfully! I think seeing so many others enjoying your articles and leaving positive comments attests to that! I know it is a growing thing. I look at my earlier articles with a little cringe and that's not so long ago since I wrote them. Who knows, perhaps I will feel that way about the ones I'm writing now in the future. What is life if we're not evolving?

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Point taken! And thank you for your kind and encouraging words. :-)

  
  about 7 years ago
AnnMarie  

Your article struck a chord...especially with the line...'The brain is more interested in meaning than details.' That's me to a tee. I'm not detail oriented - which makes me an inept gossiper. I don't remember (care about?) the details but always remember the meaning and how I feel about it. I don't remember conversations verbatim but remember the context clearly. Therefore, what you say here is great food for thought when attracting attention. Thanks for another great article, Heather.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Thanks for your thoughtful comment AnnMarie. Everyone here has a wonderful writing style in their own right. Glad the article provided some thought for others. Someone commented on FB yesterday that when he's criticising or commenting on others he's lost focus on his own stuff. If you're an inept gossiper I think that's brilliant!

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Good informative and interesting article Heather...

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Thanks Kevin.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
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