Everyone will tell you that in the age of distraction it’s harder than ever to get attention. Actually that’s not strictly true. It’s not difficult to interrupt the rock star as she checks into her hotel to ask for a selfie—just a quick tap on the shoulder, fake smiles and you’re done. It’s easier than ever to spam whoever you want to reach because most people are just an email address and a click away.
If your goal is to get and leverage someone’s attention for a split second (even if that someone is the Queen of England), then of course you can. And link bait works for a little while.
The kind of attention I think you’re after though, isn’t this meaningless, fleeting interaction. It’s based on mutual respect and trust—the kind of interaction that’s wished for, welcomed and wanted. It’s given, not taken; anticipated, not simply tolerated.
The best way to get attention then is to give it unconditionally first.
To really understand the worldview your customers and colleagues.
To anticipate what people need and want.
To do things without considering what the payback might be down the line.
To create experiences without calculating what the return on investment will be tomorrow.
To stop expecting and begin caring.
To start whispering, “I see you”—instead of screeching, “LOOK AT ME”.
We don’t have to follow the pack or conventional wisdom and we don’t have to look for an angle to leverage. We each get to choose how we show up in the world and how our businesses are run.