Captivology was a challenging book for me. On the one hand, I totally agree with the premise of the book—that we should be aware of the things that capture people’s attention, and use those things to get our message across. I think that’s what good speakers, and good leaders, naturally do.
On the other hand, I am also very aware of how those things can be used to manipulate people. Honestly, there is nothing that can be done about that; I can’t control what other people do. But I can seek to be wise, and act with integrity, in my own use.
It was interesting to me that there are different things that capture people’s short or long-range attention. I’d never thought of that, but it makes sense. Any technique, like surprise, that works in the short-term will wear out in the long-term. It gets old, and then becomes predictable—which means it won’t grab our attention.
The influence that comes with having a reputation will be longer-lasting. People who are experts in their fields have people’s attention because of who they are and what they’ve done, not because of some attention-grabbing technique. Again, that makes sense.
The two areas it seems like there is particular application for, at least in a church context, are in preaching/teaching, and in community awareness.
All of the things that can be used to capture people’s attention could be used in a sermon setting. One of the biggest challenges any communicator faces is in getting, and keeping, people’s attention. I think we can often take it for granted; I wonder what the impact would be if we consciously tried to incorporate some of these ideas into our styles or delivery? I’ve never been intentional about that, but I intend to try, and see if it makes a difference.
In terms of community awareness, I think the sad truth is most churches are invisible in their community. There is little, if any, awareness of who a particular church is, or what they do or stand for. Using some of these ideas to build awareness, or in other terms, to build an identity, could be a very powerful way of letting people in our community know we exist.
I heard a pastor recently talk about his church’s vision for the year, and one aspect of that was letting everyone in their area know they exist. He wasn’t assuming that everyone would come to his church, but wanted everyone to know who they were, so that anyone who was looking for a church like theirs would be able to find them. He didn’t want anyone to miss out because they didn’t know about his church. I think these ideas would apply very directly in building that kind of awareness.
So what was your reaction? How would you apply some of the ideas in Captivology? Share your thoughts—I think we could all benefit from them.
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