3 Ways To Keep Someone’s Attention

by Paul Castain on March 16, 2011

We are living in a world that is now in a constant state of distraction!

There are just way too many things that distract us from the kazillion alerts we have set, to our blackberries and even our need to multitask!

Here are 3 ideas to help you navigate this challenging landscape.

Numero Uno: Shorten Your Messaging!

I learned this one the hard way as some of my emails a few years ago were the equivalent of mini novels.

So what do people do when then get a mini novel email or even one that is just too lengthy by their definition?

They scan it or they make a note to get back to it later. Sadly, they might just delete it.

Not cool!

Guy Kawasaki, in his book Enchantment, suggests that we keep our emails to no more than 6 sentences. I’ve heard others who try to keep it so the whole email can be read in the window of a blackberry without having to scroll.

Some other messaging guidelines to think about

Voicemails . . . no more than 15 seconds. 10 would be ideal.

Powerpoints: (if you must) No more than 10 slides with strict adherence to the . . .

“1-6-6 Rule” 1 theme. 6 bullets of no more than 6 words each on each slide.

Numero Dos: Use “3’s” To Help People Process

I’ve seen this technique used with customer service agents reciting back an order number, sales reps using selling points bundled in “3’s” and even  this sentence where I just used “3’s”.

Numero 3ish  Be Interactive.

The longer we talk, or write the easier it is to pack your mental bags for an outer body experience so . . .

When you present (formally or informally) follow the 2 minute rule! This is simply asking a question or involving the other party every 2 minutes.

Note: This is particularly important on conference calls where you have a high degree of multitasking, people playing brick breaker etc. 🙂

Don’t forget to make your emails more interactive by ending them with a question.

Make sense?

See . . . that was me practicing what I preach!

Until next time, make sure you shorten your messaging, package your thoughts in 3’s and make it more interactive!

Paul Castain is the Vice President of Jedi Mastery for Castain Training Systems where he works with organizations and individuals to achieve higher levels of performance. For more information on how Paul can help you and your company click here dude.

Today’s News: I had a blast doing this interview over on Print Media Centr. Come check it out by clicking here!

  • Dan Christian

    Thanks again Paul. You’re bringing me into the 21st Century AND…..
    now I feel like I know more than my children.

  • You’re too kind Dan!

    Thank you!


  • Your counsel is spot on. Especially the part about PowerPoint presentations… a big part of what I do is help make these presentation decks shine for my clients and these types of tips can be the cornerstone to better presentations.

    The email tips are outstanding as well. I know many marketers who use FAR too many words. They have too much to say and want to say it all. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to believe BECAUSE of that, their email doesn’t get read at all…BACKFIRE!

    Thanks, as ever, for sharing your wisdom! :o)

  • Jan

    Dan I couldn’t agree more. Isn’t it a great feeling?

  • Paul… I’m currently reading a book that teaches anyone how to craft their dominant selling idea (DSI) into a short script or statement that reveals the benefit to a prospect or customer immediately… its called “Micro Script Rules” It’s not what people hear, its what they repeat.

    plus I had a telephone conversation with the author yesterday and found out he has even more treasures to share…

    One of the best books I’ve read this year that address the subject of getting your message across in a simple direct but memorable way…

    I told Bill Schley (the author) that every sales manager should read his book…

    hope you dont mind but I listed it in my Amazon store here:

    I sincerely love this book so much because as a sales veteran I know you only have a few minutes to get the prospects attention… so much more today than before because of the constant distraction..

    Thanks for reminding others of this critical strategy….john

  • Paul,

    ‘Thanks for your tips with “Digital Door Knocking” aka E Mail. I always try to have something of value for them to even read it and short enough they won’t delete it!

  • John Fitzgerald


    Love the Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?
    It was the rule of 3 used very subtly

    have agreat day and Happy St Pat’s Day–veryoen is IRISH today

    John Fitzgerald

  • Paul, Awesome post and loved the interview. Your honest,real and effective sales and training experience shines through. I mostly appreciate the forethought that basic human relations will continue to be the base of communication. I purposely seek to create the traditional handshake and “discuss over coffee” interactions with key prospects and business partners. I frequently use the unique prospecting and follow-up techniques I learned from you: sample bag drop off or recommending a book or article that may be valuable to an existing client or partner.
    A true benefit for all.
    Thanks Jedi Master!
    A grateful past student,

  • Sandeepgaddam


    This definitely makes sense!

    Thank YOU

  • Very nice of you to stop by . . . thank you!

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