I had a really good conversation with a a client yesterday about earning the attention of reluctant listeners — we were discussing them in relation to target audiences within a core story. The conversation led to the question posed in the title of this post, asked from the perspective of the person you’re taking to: What do you know, that I don’t know, that I would benefit from knowing?

[note]A reluctant listener is someone you’ve contacted who doesn’t find value in the conversation — they aren’t interested. Lack of interest can come from latent pain, belief they already know everything about the subject you’re discussing, they don’t recognize the problem you’re trying to solve, they don’t value the opportunity you’re trying to help them achieve, or they don’t believe they have the means to act.[/note]

To grab the reluctant listener’s attention, you have to hit them with the benefit: What’s in it for me?

At that point, your reluctant listener may become a skeptical listener, but now they’re listening. The next steps are mapping your difference and reasons to believe into the conversation as proof the benefit is real.

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