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

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

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

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? 😉

©2001-2006 Psychotactics Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
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