The Brain Chemicals that Get and Keep Attention

Published by Klint Ciriaco on

Photo Credit: [email protected]

I don’t listen to an audio book more than once, but the my most recent download showed how to get and keep attention by inducing brain chemicals in the brain. Heck, I ended up buying the book version and read it multiple times. 

The book is called Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff (not an affiliate link).

Klaff makes a living by pitching deals to people with millions of dollars in their pockets. We’re talking in the $5M to $50M range. If he fails, the companies he represents who have families to support get strapped for cash. One of the things he has to do to succeed is get and keep his counterparts’ undivided attention during his pitch.

In his book, he shares the value of figuring the the ingredients that make up attention. After all, if you want to get attention, it’s best to know what it’s made off.

It turns out, attention is made up of two brain chemicals. The first one is…

Dopamine

Dopamine is the chemical of reward and desire. Shopping, eating a tasty treat, seeing attractive images, and many more, can induce dopamine in the brain. 

The important to know is the task itself doesn’t induce dopamine. The anticipation of doing it does. Think of going on a vacation. Most of the time, planning is more exciting than the vacation itself. 

That said, be careful when producing dopamine in others because you want them to keep anticipating. Once you give them the pay-off, it’s game over. 

It’s like watching a video on facebook. When a content catches your attention, you watch long enough to find out the punchline. Once you feel satiated, you resume scrolling for the next entertaining story. 

This is why you also need to induce norepinephrine in your audience’s brain. 

Norepinephrine

Norepinephrine is the chemical for tension. Think of the most gripping movie you’ve seen. Your eyes were glued to the screen most likely because you were experiencing tension.

You can get your audience to release norepinephrine in their brains by getting them  to feel stressed. You do this specifically by putting them in a high stakes environment. 

But, don’t go overboard. There’s nothing more annoying than a person who reeks of gloom and doom. 

For example, TV commercials, news stations, and digital ads that take this too far tend to annoy me. I’ll never open my wallet for them. Nor should you. 

Application

Klaff shows this knowledge in action by sharing a handy tool called the push/pull method. You first reject your audience and then “attract” them back to you. Here are some examples: 

Enrolling Students to a Course: 

We won’t allow you here if you’re the type to make excuses and blame others for your failures. In our experience, those who don’t take responsibility for their actions tend to fail. 

But that’s not you. You patiently sat through our presentation, asked questions about how to succeed, and even shared a story about how your team failed, but you didn’t blame anyone except yourself. 

Pitching to Investors

We don’t want your money because we can generate enough profit to keep our business afloat. The last thing we want is work with someone who only sees numbers on our foreheads. 

But, it’s no secret in the industry that you are a benevolent mentor. Not only are you competent, you also care for the people you’re working with. 

Hooking Readers to Your Story:

I gave Jamie a hug for the last time and then jumped off the top of a building.

I’m obviously still alive. Otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this letter.

How to Practice

Writing 

I personally practice this in some of my writings. I use the push/pull method specifically when selling. It’s not the only tool I have in my persuasion toolkit, but it’s one of the handiest ones. 

You could practice writing headlines, a scene for a script, or a sales copy, with this method. This increases the chances of getting your audiences’ brains to be filled with dopamine-norepinephrine mix. 

Vlogs

You need to get your audience’s attention within the first three seconds of your video. Not only that, you have to keep them watching. The longer your audience watches your videos, the platforms you’re using will reward you with more views. 

The beauty of practicing through vlogs is you’ll have metrics to track your improvements.

Youtube has a way of showing at what point most of your audience are dropping off. Facebook also has a metric called 3-second video plays – the number of times your video has been watched for at least 3 seconds.

In-Person Interactions

Practice this technique in meeting rooms, pitching rooms, interviews, or in your store. Unlike writing and making vlogs, you’re going to feel more pressure at first. 

But just like everything else in life, you’ll eventually get comfortable as long as you get your reps in. 

Conclusion

The tool you learned in this article is one of many in the book, Pitch Anything. Some of the things you’ll find in it are the following: 

  • Raising your status if the person you’re pitching to is richer, more popular, and powerful than you. 
  • The behavior that lots of salespeople do that kills a deal. 
  • Bypassing the analytical brain when pitching. 
  • And more

Even the book itself is rigged to induce the brain chemicals that keep and get attention. It’s why I keep reading it. If persuasion is one of the skills you want to learn, reading Oren Klaff’s book will not disappoint you. 

Enjoy. 

-Klint

Categories: Application