In December, Barbara Walters announced her 19th annual list of the year’s “10 Most Fascinating People.”
Making the top ten were actor/director Ben Affleck; Alana Thompson, 7 year old star of the hit reality TV show Honey Boo Boo; the governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie; Olympic Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas; E L James, author of 50 Shades of Grey; Boy Band One Direction; former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; multi-talented animator and director Seth MacFarlane; Prince Harry of Wales; and US Army General David Petraeus.
I’ve long been interested in what makes one person or company more fascinating than another. For instance, what made Honey Boo Boo more fascinating than say Mitt Romney?
Regardless of what you or I think of Ms. Walters’ list, the important point is to reflect on what makes a person or company interesting? If you want to persuade people to buy or seduce them in any way, for any purpose, being fascinating is key.
If you doubt this, look no further than the phenomenon of the online video “Gangnam Style.” Released in July 2012 by South Korean recording artist PSY, it became the first video to ever hit a billion hits on the Internet.
Why did this captivate people while other videos, people, businesses, events etc. won’t be remembered weeks, days or even hours after you first experience them?
Making yourself more fascinating and interesting is a shortcut to persuasion. It helps make you exciting and memorable which helps you wield influence and attract favorable attention.
This begs the question: are there common traits in fascinating people? Is it possible to make yourself more fascinating and if so, how do you do it? Is there a process?
Take a minute to reflect on the people you’ve met in your life. What makes someone stand out to you? What makes you remember one person over another?
Many would say deciding what traits make a person fascinating is a subjective thing. You might even cite Ms. Walter’s list as confirmation.
After all, if you look at Ms. Walter’s list, it’s difficult to see common traits that everyone shares. Although I’m sure we could come up with a few.
For instance, Gabby Douglas, Hillary Rodham Clinton and E L James were the “first to do something.” Douglas was the first African-American gymnast to win the Olympic all-around title. Clinton visited more countries than any previous Secretary of State. And E L James sold more than 60 million copies of her book, 50 Shades of Grey, surpassing Harry Potter as the fastest-selling paperback book of all time.
However, not everyone on her list did something for the first time and I’ve met some pretty fascinating people who’ve never been first at anything their whole life.
There’s “celebrity,” which I would say they all have a certain amount of.
You can’t list trustworthy as a common trait on the list if you consider General Petraeus’ resignation as the Director of the CIA, due to his extramarital affair discovered in an FBI investigation.
But, there are fascinating people who are fascinating BECAUSE of their trustworthiness. International author, David Horsager, M.A., C.S.P. did his graduate research based on trust. Searching for what makes top leaders and organizations, defined as financially successful and making a significant positive influence in the lives of those they served over a period of time, unique, Horsager found one thing in common. The common trait? Trust. He found that trust is not a soft skill, but rather that it is a measurable competency that can be built into an organization’s strategies and goals.
And as revealed in my book, No B.S. Trust-Based Marketing, Warren Buffet’s secret on how to attract him to your company and make it so that he might want to buy it, is based on trust. He buys trusted companies that have invested in trust.
All these contradictions make it hard to define what makes a person fascinating. Which is why I have become so intrigued with the work of Sally Hogshead, the New York Times Bestselling author of “Fascinate!” (In fact, I am even collaborating with her on a new exclusive process for dramatically improving marketing messages that I’ll reveal for the first time ever at SuperConference.)
Sally tested a population of 120,000 people and identified seven triggers and 49 personality archetypes that make people fascinating. She has identified that each person has their own, unique “Fascination Fingerprint” which can be used to strengthen virtually everything you do to communicate, influence or sell, whether it’s person-to-person or via media.
Each person has a different primary trigger, which explains why it’s difficult to pull traits off a list of fascinating people.
The seven triggers are: power, passion, mystique, prestige, alarm, rebellion and trust.
For example, people with a primary trigger of power fascinate by leading with control while people with the primary trigger of trust fascinate by building loyalty.
Understanding these triggers and your own “Fascination Fingerprint,” along with your strengths and weaknesses, will allow you to improve your ability to attract favorable attention and become more fascinating, therefore giving you the shortcut to influence.
NOTE: Want more insider information on how to leverage marketing and sales to improve your business? Click here to claim your special free bonus of $633.91 worth of marketing materials.