You Have 9 Seconds To Fascinate A Client – Spend 1 Hour With Sally Hogshead First

Sally Hogshead had to unlearn how to be boring.

Thanks to web browsing, the average attention span is now approximately nine seconds, according to a BBC report. That happens to be the same attention span as a goldfish.

Why is this important for marketers and advertisers? It means you’d better make a good first impression, and fast.

Look: a squirrel!

Still with me?

Whether you’re a brand, or a bachelor trying to find your soul mate on, you have only nine seconds to make an introduction, to make a connection. If you fail, you may never get another chance.

So how do you make the most of micro-attention spans? Sally Hogshead has the answer: Fascinate.

As the author of “Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation,” Sally has to be at her most fascinating every time she speaks. And she certainly didn’t disappoint during her keynote presentation at a recent Linked Orange County gathering.

Your best is not enough

It doesn’t matter how great your product is if nobody sees it. Sally emphasizes, “being the best is not enough. It’s only enough if people know about it. Quality is not enough if you fail to fascinate.”

Sally is a marketing pro who views her craft as a form of “artificial fascination.” The longtime copywriter/creative director maintains that we don’t really need to use artificial means to fascinate and captivate.

One of Sally’s key findings is that fascination comes naturally—our brains are hardwired to fascinate and be fascinating. “You’re born with everything you need. You just need to identify it and express it,” she says.

“We don’t have to learn how to be fascinating. We have to unlearn how to be boring.”

The former "Miss Personality" hasn't lost it.

Persuasion through fascination

Fascination is the most powerful way to influence decision-making. Sally explains, “If people are distracted, you don’t have the ability to change their behavior. If you want to persuade them, you must first understand how to fascinate them.”

During the course of writing her book, she studied neurology, history, psychology, and biological anthropology. Not to mention online dating: “the epicenter of the Fascination Battle Royale.”

If you want to create more moments of being fascinating to other people, learn the “Seven Triggers” and how to recognize them in yourself and others.

The 7 triggers of Fascination

  • Power – You take command
  • Passion – You attract emotion
  • Mystique – You arouse curiosity
  • Prestige – You increase respect
  • Alarm – You create urgency
  • Rebellion – You change the game
  • Trust – You build loyalty

Whether you realize it or not, you already use the seven triggers. The aim of Sally’s book is to show whether you’re using the right triggers in the right way, to get the results you want. The seven steps can be applied to any type of communication challenge.

Fascinate was originally written for brands and messages. But Sally found that human beings are more fascinating than brands. (Plus, she was looking for better ways to get her kids to eat their vegetables.) So her newest research applies more to individuals.

During her Linked OC appearance, Sally “beta-tested” a brand-spanking new “personality branding” exercise on her audience. Since I wouldn’t want to spoil the experiment—or the storybook ending of her presentation—just pick up a copy of Fascinate for yourself or look for the updated edition of her book to be published in 2012.

The Catalyst meets The Intrigue: Sally Hogshead and Mitch Devine at Linked OC. Photo by

In the meantime, sign up at to receive updates and take the free F-Score Personality Brand test to discover your own natural strengths of persuasion.

By the way, I happen to be a combination of Passion and Mystique (aka “The Intrigue”).

How about you? What’s your personality brand? Take the test and share your results in the comments. (Unless you’d rather not because your primary trigger is Mystique, in which case I’ll understand.)

11 responses to “You Have 9 Seconds To Fascinate A Client – Spend 1 Hour With Sally Hogshead First

  1. So it’s not even 30 seconds anymore…just 9? Wow. That’s not enough. I’ll have to check it out and see if I can impress in less.

    • It’s not much time, is it? Sally previewed some of the info from her updated book by doing an exercise with the Linked OC group where we came up with our own brief elevator speech based on our primary and secondary triggers. It was almost hard just to get that out in 9 seconds!

  2. Thank you so much for the wrap up of Sally’s event. I took her test prior to the event and found that my first two triggers are Mystique and Prestige, which means I have a complex mind and reserved demeanor. Yep, that sounds like me!

    I’ll have to pick up her book to learn how to dominate my triggers and fascinate the pants off people around me. =)

    Thanks again, Mitch!

  3. I’m REBELLIOUS and PASSIONATE, but don’t give off an air of PRESTIGE. Sounds about right.

    A self-titled “elevator speech specialist” told a group of us translators at a keynote address that we have seven seconds to wow a person that we’ve just met. Getting stark, isn’t it?

  4. Can’t decide if I particularly like my F-score assessment or not. My first two triggers are prestige and power. Prestige I can see, but power makes me uncomfortable. Guess I need to pick up the book! Thanks, Mitch for sharing this info!

    • There’s probably more to the “power” trigger than you might think. For example, it’s also about having choices and being able to decide. Thanks choosing to comment, Susan!

  5. This is soooo fascinating … Thanks so much, Mitch, for sharing Sally’s great info! Happy Thanksgiving!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *