In a world filled with text messages, Snapchats, Facebook messages, and tweets, our generation’s attention span is shorter than it’s ever been. And, as a result of this, keeping people engaged is a skill, which in my opinion is required, in today’s world. Especially if you want to stand out.
Being able to captivate the attention of others makes you fascinating. It allows you to charm them, keep their focus on you, and develop relationships that can last forever. The people who do this effectively are the ones we call charismatic, charming and natural-born leaders.
While it may seem that being “fascinating” is based on experience, in reality, it’s based more on communication.
There are a few tricks that will help you keep almost anyone’s attention and, therefore, make you the most likable person in the room.
1. Don’t tell facts, tell stories.
It’s never cool to sound like a history book. No one wants to hear you answer questions with just plain answers — that’s boring, and you will lose your audience’s attention. They can do that themselves on their iPhone with Google.
Instead, speak through stories. When someone asks you what you do for work, don’t just say your title; tell the story of that one time you went to the company karaoke party and people started dancing on the tables.
Those are the things people want to hear.
One of the first lessons entrepreneurs should learn, whether it’s sales or leading a team, is to pitch a story, not a business. Our brains are naturally built to pay more attention to a narrative than a list of facts. Your client will be more engaged. Your team will naturally want to work smarter.
Research has shown that most people can’t stand not knowing how a story ends.
Why do you think people sit through movies that they hate? Because stories — whether good or bad — captivate people. Use this to your advantage.
2. Make fun of yourself.
The world is filled with too many people who are worried about their reputations, and what others think of them. To protect their reputations, they keep all conversations at surface level. This, as expected, leads to surface-level relationships with their audiences. It’s the worst thing you can do. You’ll never be able to captivate. Period.
If you want people to engage in deep conversations with you, you can’t have them just kind-of-sort-of like you. They need to have a strong emotional connection, whether good or bad. So, open up!
The best way to do this and keep it light-hearted is to make fun of yourself! Not only will you get the other person laughing, but you’ll also encourage them to do the same. You’ve just allowed that person to feel secure, open, and comfortable with you.
3. Use small touches for close conversations.
Don’t try to force this or you’ll look super awkward and make the other person feel uncomfortable. With that said, small touches at the right time can make all the difference in people paying more attention to you.
A great example of this is when you see basketball coaches put their arms around players. Whenever they do this, the player gives the coach complete attention. A small touch can go a long way.
When you’re speaking to someone closely and paying a compliment, gently put your hand on the side of his or her arm. You’ll notice his or her eyes will be more focused, and the body language will be more engaged toward you. It’s not creepy, it actually works.
Try some of these out and let me know how well you’re able to keep someone off their phone, or keep someone from checking their Twitter feed.