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  • Writer's pictureHai Xiang

How to Capture People's Attention in Few Steps

Updated: May 5, 2020


1. In a world of seemingly unlimited information, attention is the scare resource everyone is competing for.


2. Like a fire, lasting attention must be built up gradually. There are three stages.

  • First of all, grasp people’s immediate attention, which is governed by the body’s automatic responses and reflexes > like an extremely intriguing pop of icon, a shouting etc.

  • After immediate attention is the short attention: create something novel.

  • Short attention is sparked by the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is produced when we see something new.

  • Long attention: something aligns with your interest and values.


3. Capture immediate attention by using sensory cues that cause automatic reactions.

(1) Using contrast > change the online “purchase now” button from green to red will improve sales by 33%.

(2) Symbols or ideas.


4. Adapt your message to the audience’s frame of reference to hold their short attention.

  • “gun control” implies government intervene, which begets hatred, while “gun safety” becomes more acceptable among audience > find our how your audience think towards certain words.

  • Highlight the importance of your products by invoking the fear out missing out.

  • Limiting access to your product or selling only one product a day will make your product precious.


5. Keep attention by understanding people’s motivations and helping them achieve their goals.

  • The beeps of smartphone may come from a text from friend, a notification that leads to something fun > that makes us constantly check phones to capture that pleasure.

  • Extrinsic reward > motivate us for a brief well, but don't hold our attention.

  • Intrinsic reward > more effective in meeting satisfaction.


6. Use people’s trust in experts, authority, and the crowd to build reputation.

  • People are afraid of being socially alienated.


7. Harness your audience’s fundamental need for recognition and acceptance.

  • Attention is reciprocal, we pay attention to the ones who pay attention to us.

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