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The Persuasive Power of Focus

Mar 15, 2008
We live in a world of distractions and this, I feel, is an understatement. We have so much coming at us from all arenas. . . Even as I sit here typing this, I'm getting alerts that I have new e-mail, I'm getting instant messages from my assistant, I've got my kids vying for attention, the dog wants to play, nature calls, I'm thirsty, the phone rings. Phew. It's exhausting just to write a paragraph with all of the other things intruding on concentration and focus.

There's an old saying that goes, 'If you chase two rabbits, both will escape.' As we become increasingly fragmented and scatter our energy, we are not giving adequate attention to the important task at hand.

Alexander Graham Bell said, 'Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun's rays do not burn until brought to a focus.'

There are so many things we can and may be thinking about when we are interacting with a prospect or client. Our internal dialogs may have us worried about our breath or maybe we've got something stuck in our teeth. We might be worried about what the mechanic is going to tell us when we call them back or if the kids got to school on time. Issues large and small will battle for our attention and really what we need to be doing is focusing on our prospects and moreover, focusing intently on our prospects criteria and values.

You can think of focus like a flashlight. If we aim our flashlights at a wall in front of us, we might be able to see quite a bit. When there's something that we really want to focus in on, you narrow the beam so that it penetrates deeper, with less distance.

I like to imagine that the client is a white board which I have wiped clean, and I've wiped myself clean, and they are writing themselves onto that board of which I'm becoming a part of. By focusing on identity as persuaders, this is a key area for which we can develop parts, a key area that we can frame and reframe and it is a very powerful area.

One of our main objectives in persuasion is to learn to shine that light in various ways to best understand and provide what it is that our clients and prospects want. Next time you're interacting and find yourself drifting into your own head, take a deep breath and really focus that beam on them shutting out all other distractions.
About the Author
Kenrick Cleveland teaches strategies to earn the business of affluent clients using persuasion. He runs public and private seminars and offers home study courses and coaching programs in persuasion strategies.
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