If you are so great, why don’t you get attention like this?

attention - meercats In the world’s most over-communicated culture in history, it is little surprise that attention is in short supply, and incredibly valuable. In fact, if we don’t get attention to ourselves and our ideas, they effectively don’t exist to client, prospects and others crucial to our success.

In the year 2000 the average human attention span was down to 12 seconds. Now it is eight seconds.

We are now experts at tuning out. Our mantra might be “How may I ignore you today?” Trouble is, in business and life attention is like oxygen – without it we die.

So getting and keeping attention is job one for anyone in business. For someone aspiring to be professionally preeminent, it is even more important. So when was the last time you got attention of the quality shown by the Meerkat in the photograph? How can we get more of that in future? And when we get it, how can we sustain it?

We can all name companies with hundreds of PR professionals and who spend millions of dollars on marketing who still can’t move the attention needle. So what’s the secret?

I’ve made a life long mission of study and work on these questions, and the best answer I’ve come across is deceptively simple: “First, enter the conversation already taking place in their minds.”

This simple advice wraps up the incredible power of context, empathy, and so many other factors that separate those who cut through deeply and consistently from the noisy and ineffective majority.

So why do so few manage to implement this simple answer? Essentially because they sit on a pile of capital or something equally distracting and they are seduced by their own delusions. No matter how clever or important we think we are, others are simply not interested in us or our ideas until we connect them to something they are already interested (better still: fascinated) in.

True leaders in any field learn to get over themselves and become fascinated in what others think about, and the language they use to express it. Hard to do? Sure, that’s why so few even attempt it. But the rewards are exceptional, because this master practice is the key to the lock of extraordinary success in business and in life.