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!