Fixated on Fascination

Discovering how you fascinate others can lead to more effective and persuasive communication.

May 11, 2012
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CU Mag: How can fascination work for a business?

Hogshead: We all know about great brands. We know that Apple uses the rebellion trigger because it’s innovative. We know that Starbucks uses the passion trigger because it focuses on the sensory aspect of the environment.

But let me talk about a different brand—Jägermeister liqueur.

Nobody likes the drink, but people love the brand because it is polarizing. It creates an experience.

When people go out, they want to order Jägermeister when they’re ready to dial up an experience. The lesson a financial institution can learn from Jägermeister is this: It’s not just about being the best.

It’s about giving something to your customers that is inimitable; something they can hold onto and share with other people—just like the guy who raises his hand at 2 a.m. and says, “Let’s do a round of Jägermeister.”

Subscribe to Credit Union MagazineIn the same way, a financial institution can create strong and immediate emotional reactions by standing out, by taking a stand, and by carving out a different space. By doing that you don’t have to spend as much time on marketing because you’re distinct and you stand for a set of values.

CU Mag: What do you hope people will take away from your presentation?

Hogshead: That if you don't learn how to be fascinating, you unlearn how to be boring.

Every person who’ll be in the audience at this event, and every person on the planet, was born with certain hardwired strengths in their personality. I call this the fascination advantage.

When you understand how you’re naturally fascinating to other people, you don’t have to artificially bolt it on. It’s not about personal branding. It’s about taking who you already are and applying that in your work, in your meetings with your coworkers, your boss, and your customers.

You can use it when you write an email to try to persuade somebody to come to a meeting, when you’re trying to get people involved in a cause, or when you want to get your kids’ attention over the television and Nintendo.

We all have a fascination advantage, but if we don't identify it we can’t use it. So I will be sharing with people what their fascination advantage means, and they will have the opportunity to take a test before they come to presentation that will help them do that.

“Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation,” has been praised by thought leaders such as Seth Godin and Tom Peters. Hogshead will address the America's Credit Union Conference in June.

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory ( will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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