Writing to Be “Fascinating!”

We are a world of people who love to be fascinated.

We obsess over our favorite celebrities, their lifestyles, relationships, and illnesses.

In her book, Fascinate, Sally Hogshead claims that the ability to create fascination is one of the most powerful ways of influencing behavior. She says, in fact, that it is “more persuasive than marketing, advertising, or any other form of communication.” While I don't agree with all her conclusions, I do recommend her book.

So how do you make yourself, your ideas, your products and services more fascinating? The answer is surprisingly simple. Human beings are fascinated by a fairly narrow band of phenomena. Some things to keep in mind when writing to influence, with the end of creating more fascination in mind:

  1. Curiosity. Who among us does not understand the intense allure of curiosity? This powerful point of fascination is magnetic in its ability to draw people into your story, to make them want to hear your message.
  2. Fear. While I absolutely do not advocate the invocation of fear as a tool of manipulation, the recognition of pre-existing fears can be a powerful illumination for your communications. Know what makes people afraid, and you know how to engage them in conversation.
  3. Power. Whether they admit it or not, nearly everyone wants more influence over others, in some way. “Power” in itself is neither good nor evil, but its appeal is nearly universal.
  4. Identification with the object of their admiration. This is the very source of intense devotion, the driving force behind “fans” of all kinds. When we grant a person or even an organization our admiration, we experience an intense desire to be identified with that person or organization.

What is it about you, your company, your organization or product that already fascinates your customers?  Are there ways in which you can focus more on those aspects that are natural points of fascination for your audience? Are people fascinated with the wrong things about you? Are you?

All questions worth considering.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Susanchartock

    Hello Ray,

    I think fascination peaks curiosity in it’s own specific way. It certainly beats droll and
    drab hands down.

  • Hope you know your F score Ray. Sally is fun to listen to and read.