Fascination and Communication – What you can learn from Sally Hogshead

Are people fascinated by you? Do you have that certain something that makes people interested in you, curious about you, or even infatuated with you? Or, think  about someone who you are fascinated with. Maybe they are a friend or someone you have never met, but they have that certain something that draws you to them. What is it about them that has this effect on you? Turns out someone has been looking into this for awhile now. And her name is Sally Hogshead.

41Jd2TDOIhL 2515c34fe3202341fc005fb85c7d7e0bSally has written two books: “Fascinate” and “How the World Sees You,” and they are great reads for anyone interested in learning about their own personality and communication style. In these books, you will learn about attraction, persuasion, and personal connection. Pretty dang sweet. Sally Hogshead is an advertising wizard who has worked for years at creating enticing and effective advertisements for big businesses. She has studied and learned about fascination as it applies to brands and messaging, and over the course of these two books, she teaches how this applies to us as people.

Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation

Fascinate is a book about branding. More specifically, it is about 7 triggers that make things fascinating and how those 7 triggers apply to products and brands (these can also be applied to your own personal brand). The 7 triggers are as follows: Power, Lust, Vice, Alarm, Mystique, Prestige, and Trust. These triggers make us fascinated and possibly infatuated with a product or person. Power is the trigger of control. As the author puts it, “If you effectively trigger power, you will control others and they will defer to your massage.” Lust is the trigger of a pleasure. Vice is the trigger of the forbidden fruit. Alarm is the trigger of urgency. Alarm is present when people take quick action to avoid negative (or perceived negative) consequences. Mystique is the trigger of intrigue and curiosity. Prestige is the trigger of rank and respect. This is the “mine is better than yours” trigger .Trust is the trigger of predictability, which results in comfort, relaxation, and, well… trust.

Throughout her first book, Sally relates the triggers to brands and products, but there is a clear connection with how an individual might utilize these triggers as part of their own personal brand. Your personal brand creates an influence (or doesn’t) just like the brand of a big company, so it makes sense that these are connected. Then comes How the World Sees You: Discover Your Highest Value Through the Science of Fascination. In the introduction, the author mentions the influence her husband had on the creation of “How the World Sees You.” Her husband asked, “Why don’t you make a personality test so people can find out what their dominant triggers are?” and BAM! With a little tweaking, the triggers became communication strategies: power, passion, prestige, mystique, innovation, alert, and trust.

After reading the books, Sally invites the reader to go to her website and take the F-Score test. This is the personality test that allows you to discover “Your highest value.” And that is was is awesome about her entire presentation of these ideas. She identifies different communication strategies and then says “be more of who you are.” Be authentic, be real, be yourself. But also be aware of what you are not. Based on your results, the fascination test will give assign you an archetype based on your top two communication strategies. You will surely have a dominant strategy, and will have another strategy that is less dominant, but stronger than the others. You will also have a dormant advantage, or one that is on the bottom of your list. Don’t rely on that one… stick with your advantages.

So what kinds of archetypes are out there? Well, if you have a dominant strategy of power with a secondary strategy of innovation, you are “The Rockstar.” Rockstars are “bold, artistic, and unorthodox.” A primary trust and secondary mystique combination identifies “The Wise Owl,” who is “observant, assured, and unruffled.” Given that there are 7 communication strategies, having a primary and secondary advantage yields 49 different archetypes. After taking the test, I scored as “The Ringleader” with a primary power and secondary passion strategy. And holy smokes, after reading the archetype analysis, I felt like she was reading my mind.

Anyways, think about those you admire. How do they speak? Do they speak with confidence? Are they great listeners? Are they forward thinking? Motivating? We tend to like or dislike people based on a number of factors. But sometimes, you may like or dislike someone based on one single factor, or maybe because of a first impression. How we speak influences how people perceive us and what judgments they make (and they will judge). Given that you are not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, by communicating authentically and from a place of “your highest value,”  you can be confident in your delivery. You can be confident in your message. And you can be confident it will come across as authentic. Authenticity is honest. People respect honesty.

If you want to learn about fascination and what makes things fascinating, I highly recommend Sally’s  first book.

Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation

If you are more interested in communication and how the triggers relate to you, read her second book. You do not need her first one to understand the second, but it sure does help.

How the World Sees You: Discover Your Highest Value Through the Science of Fascination

Until next time,


by the way… She also has a TED talk!

Mindset – Carol Dweck and how your mindset affects everything

If you are developing a skill of any sort, are a teacher, parent, or leader, or have a relationship with another human, there is one book you must read. Mind you, there are a lot of books you can read about effective teaching, mastering skills, faster learning, motivation, performance psychology, risk taking, and all sorts of topics relating to being more awesome. The aforementioned topics all include the brain, the mindset, practice, etc, and are worth reading about, but it should be noted there is one book that all of the others reference. That book is Mindset.

Mindset: The New Psychology of Successmindset

Written by Carol Dweck, a researcher at Stanford, the book effectively explains how some people can grow to be great, and others struggle. She explains the difference between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset. To summarize, if you are the type of person that thinks, “I am smart because I was born that way, and I am awesome because I was born that way, and I have a fixed set of capabilities,” Then you are more likely to cheat, give up early, blame others, and end up as a lame version of your potential self. On the other hand, if you are the person who thinks, “I can learn and do anything if I work at it enough, and I can develop skills and knowledge proportional to the focused effort I put in,” then you are more likely to take risks, persevere, own your fate, and become a much more awesome human.

Why is this? Carol Dweck does an amazing job in her book describing exactly why, but to summarize it is simply a result of the mindset. If you have a fixed mindset, then you think you are born one way or another, and everything you do either supports or refutes that belief. If you are smart because you were born that way, you then live your life protecting that belief. Anything that demonstrates the contrary is clearly wrong… “no no no, I did not struggle with that test (or task) because I don’t know the info,  it is because your questions were dumb, and stuff. No one could ace that test.” On the other hand, if you believe that your intelligence and skills are developed through practice, your thoughts and actions become different… “I struggled with that test (or task) because I did not practice enough and am not experienced with it. With more practice I can get better and will do better the next go ’round.”

She writes:

“Many of the most accomplished people of our era were considered by experts to have no future. Jackson Pollock, Marcel Proust, Elvis Presley, Ray Charles, Lucille Ball, and Charles Darwin were all thought to have little potential for their chosen fields. And in some cases, it may well have been true that they did not stand out from the crowd early on. But isn’t potential someone’s capacity to develop their skills with effort over time? And that’s just the point. How can we know where effort and time will take someone?”

What is more interesting is how your language can effect others and the development of their mindset. This is particularly important when it comes to kids. If you praise a child, “wow you are so smart,” you are reinforcing a fixed mindset. In the face of adversity, they are more likely to cheat, blame, and quit. If you praise a child, “Wow, you must have worked so hard at that,” you are reinforcing a growth mindset. They will then be more likely to show grit, persevere, and be more creative with problem solving efforts. This is not just a probable outcome. Dr. Dweck has shown this over and over in her research. The same goes for feedback after a failure. She gives a great example of a father providing feedback to his daughter after she lost at a gymnastics meet. The young girl was new to the sport and was outperformed by girls with much more experience. Her father did not pull any punches:

My summary of the father’s feedback:

“I know you wanted to win, but those girls have been in the sport and practicing much longer than you. If you want to compete and win, you are going to have to put that time and effort in as well.”

He could have said, “oh it’s ok, you tried your best,” or, “the judges were insane to give you those scores.” But he did not. He provided feedback that insisted “you can learn, practice, and achieve more, but only with more growth.”

As a influencer (leader, parent, teacher) the types of questions you ask will illustrate your mindset and what you think of others. Imagine you are trying to teach someone a new skill. Regardless of their mindset, you may be thinking, “Can they learn this? Are they smart enough to learn this information?” If these are your thoughts, then you believe in a fixed mindset. You believe that a person is born with a particular level and ceiling of intelligence and you are assuming that this new skill is possible or impossible to learn based on their ‘natural talent.’ However, if you ask, “how can they learn this, and how can I teach this most effectively?” then you demonstrate your view of the growth mindset. Of course they can learn new things, you just have to teach it in a way they can understand it. No right-minded person is born with inability to learn algebra, multiple languages, or philosophy. You can learn anything. You can develop any skill you want. You can grow.

I used to think I had a growth mindset. After reading this book, I realized I had a growth mindset in most areas, but a fixed mindset in a few aspects of my life. I have also heard others comment on the same realization. This goes to show that your mindset in a work environment may be different that your mindset in a relationship environment, novel environment, or a teaching environment.

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success should be required reading in schools and businesses alike.

Read this book. You won’t regret it.