How To Keep A Customer's Attention: The Power of 'Knew' and 'New'

If you were to step into a disco today, you'd run bang, smack into a hit song by Madonna.

It's a song called 'Hung Up.'

And then your fingers would start snapping. Your feet would go tappity-tap. And you'd find the tune familiar.

...Even though you've never heard the song before

So what's in the song (or the album for that matter) that locks you in? How come the songs instantly get your attention? And more importantly, why is it that they manage to keep that attention?

And can Madonna teach you a trick or two, that you could use for your Powerpoint Presentations, your salesletters, your brochures and your speaking?

You bet she can.

Because she using the Power of 'New' and 'Knew'

'New' as in something you don't know.
'Knew' as in something you do know.

'New' as in something dramatic, that you've ne*ver heard before. 'Knew' as in, 'hey I've heard that before and it's cool.'

In fact, Madonna's album, 'Confessions on the Dance Floor' takes snippets from forty years of dance music. Stirred in between Abba, the Pet Shop Boys, Giorgio Moroder, Tom Tom Club, Stardust and the Jacksons are little chunks of music from Madonna's existing albums.

If you stop and listen carefully, you'll hear sounds from 'Like a Prayer, ''Papa Don't Preach', and 'Die Another Day'.

Aha, so that's why you were tapping those feet!

But what has tapping feet got to do communication?

Notice how this article started? It started with some 'new' information. When something is 'new' it has a sense of crunchiness, that instantly grabs you by the throat and forces you to pay attention.

You were expecting to read how to keep the attention of your customer. Instead Madonna and her hit song whooped into the first paragraph.

That's the factor of 'new.'

Then as you read further, you'll hit a patch where you say: "Aha, I knew that!" and you'll kinda ease into the rest of the words, as you take in the information.

And that's the factor of 'Knew.'

The factor of 'Knew' is a nice feeling. It's warm, fuzzy and cuddly. It takes away the fear of the unknown.

And it gets your feet tapping.
And your brain smiling.

To get your customer's attention you need to use 'new'

No, no. Not the exact word. But you need to have a newness in your communication. So when I present the 'Brain Audit', I set a chair in the centre of the room.

I then proceed to sit down on the chair.
Then I stand up.
Then I sit down.
Then I stand up.
Then I sit down.
Then I stand up.

It's new. It's different. It gets the customer's attention.

I then switch to the factor of 'knew'...

I then talk about how the chair isn't likely to break, despite me sitting and standing up all day (probably all year).

And the audience knows that.

They know that the chair is built to take many, many sit-down-stand-up routines.

And then I talk about how advertising and marketing doesn't have the same robustness as a chair.

That marketing and advertising relies on guesswork and hoping that somehow customers will see the ad and buy something.

And then I bring in the 'new' concept of the Brain Audit, that pretty much shows you how your customer is thinking.

Before I head off again, into the 'knew'...

In effect, my speech is peppered with 'knew' and 'new'

And if you listen to the audio on Triggers (available with your Premium copy of the Brain Audit) you'll hear the constant move between these two factors.

But why is it so important to use these factors?

Because as you get attention with something 'new', eyes pop; ears become Spock-like, and your audience's brain goes on red-alert. When you bring in the familiar factor of the 'I knew that', the audience relaxes.

And relaxing is a good thing too. Because too much of 'new' would keep your brain always on tenterhooks; always on overload.

You experience the overload at many workshops and seminars. You get such a lot of brand-new information, that you suck it up like a sponge.

Then like a sponge your brain kinda sags. And leaks sprout. And you lose bit of information. Suddenly, it seems like a good idea to take a toilet break; eat a muffin; do anything but keep listening to this fire hose of new stuff (powerful as it may be).

Real power comes from alternating 'knew' and 'new'

As long as you can keep the flow going, you can keep the attention of your audience right through a book, a presentation, or just about any communication.

Use the factors well, and watch how your audience's brain goes 'tappity-tap, tappity-tap, tappity-tap.' Use it badly and your audience goes to sleep or simply walks away.

But you 'knew' that already, didn't you? ;)

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