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Your Attention Please: How to Appeal to Today's Distracted, Disinterested, Disengaged, Disenchanted, and Busy Consumer Paperback – August 28, 2006

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Adams Media (August 28, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593376871
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593376871
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,144,710 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Keep it "Short. Simple. Sweet," Brown (Customers for Life) and Davis, an employee communication consultant, advise business professionals in this cheery but disheartening primer on reaching an American public suffering from "brain overload" and "attention deficit trait." The authors' recommendation: treat every potential reader or viewer like a restless teenager. There's plenty of commonsense advice—keep information easy to digest, break up communications into bite-size bits, directly address consumers' desires and understand your audience. But it's hard not to recoil at the implication that all of today's consumers are scatterbrained or at the authors' impossible suggestion to "love your audience members unreservedly." And no, business professionals can't fake it: their "love has to be real—not manufactured or manipulative—and unconditional." While keeping prose at the recommended seventh-grade level, business people must communicate in an "authentic voice... it should be the real you." Laid out in bullets, sidebars and extra-wide margins, this basic volume is for professionals with as little patience with prose as their target audience. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Paul B. Brown (Boston, MA) writes the "What's Offline" and the "Off-The-Shelf" columns for The New York Times. A former writer and editor for Business Week, Financial World, Forbes and Inc., Alison Davis (Glen Rock, NJ) is the co-founder and CEO of Davis & Company, a leader in employee communication consulting.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 11 customer reviews
Write about stuff they want to read.
Kevin Milden
This amazingly compact book is packed with invaluable information and instruction on how to create writing that's clear, concise, and compelling.
Gian Fiero
A good read and probably one that should be included in a Writing Course for some college.
Craig Frooninckx

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Milden on November 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
When I initially picked up the book I thought it was going to be about how you can keep a person's attention around a product or service. A marketing book of some sort. To my surprise it ended up being much more than just that. The book provided tips about how to write stories, articles and communication that will keep your audience engaged. This is the book I have been looking for. I found it on a little book store on my vacation and I will recommend it to everyone I know.

A couple of things I learned in one day:

1. The audience is busy. Less than 600 words for short articles. 1200 words for long articles. This will make your writing more accessible to busy readers.

2. Write about stuff they want to read. It's about me and my time is limited. Too often we choose subjects that we ourselves find interesting but the reader just doesn't care.

3. Titles of articles should promise and benefit the audience. For Example - How to, Be a better, You can, Learn ways, Become a, Deliver on, Make more, Get more...

4. Be the audience. Try not to tell us things we already know or understand. Write about things we want to know. If you love the topic it will show through and your audience will be engaged.

5. Create high concepts when writing the excerpts. Titles should be no longer than six words. Excerpts should be no longer than 10-15 words. High concepts summarize the article and let's the reader decide if they need to invest the time.

6. Draw mental pictures of what you are writing about so the audience can visualize it. Illustrate the problem and communicate that by continuing to read this they will have the solution they seek.

This is only the surface. Buy this book you won't be disappointed.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Robert E. Martini on November 16, 2006
Format: Paperback
A very intuitive yet refreshingly nuts and bolts book that cuts across all communication dynamics. As a professional (not in sales or marketing), I did not expect the book to be anything other than tangentially or anecdotally relevant. Boy was I wrong. As I read the book I began to envision myself effortlessly utilizing the insights, advice and techniques literally packed throughout the book in all sorts of everyday situations from new and existing client contacts to "simple" colleague communications. I even see scenarios where the techniques will come in quite handy in more...stressful situations.

The book gingerly moves from lesson to hand-on examples that anyone can identify with, and is rich with (short) stories that lead you into the wilderness and out the other side, better-off for the experience. I recommend the book to anyone who has ever looked back on any communication opportunity of any nature, and thought "... I could have done that better..."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 15, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Quite simply, the most comprehensive look at the new procedures for trying to talk to prospective clients that I've read in the last couple of years. I bought 3 to hand out to past and hopefully future clients.

It's practical and short and to the point, emulating what the book tells us to do.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you're like me, you've been writing for a good long time and it's something you can handle with ease. But guess what? People don't read! Why? If Sleepless in Seattle were re-written today, the "You've got mail" voice would say "You've got more mail than you can hope to read. Ever."

Even if your message is GOOD, even if your message is IMPORTANT, even if your message is WELL WRITTEN, it's no guarantee it will even be read, much less remembered.

So, _Your Attention Please_ introduces you to "the high concept" and other techniques you can employ to create a well-crafted message (email, blog, report, presentation). There's nothing _really_ ground-breaking in terms of writing techniques in this book--focus on your audience, develop a clear message, keep it short--but it's *how* the book covers the topic that makes it so good. It walks its own talk: examples, visuals, sidebars, and anecdotes keep you flipping. I have an outlined summary of the book that I keep on my computer desktop and scan before sending out any important emails or creating presentations and trainings. Actually, to improve one more on the book, I would include a quick-reference card for those of us who want to practice the message without having to crack the book again.

And now the bad news. Did you hear the one about the writer who handed in her 600-page novel to her publisher, saying, "I was going to write a short story, but I didn't have the time"? _Designing_ a message takes a lot more effort than just writing one, which is probably why there are so many awful emails out there. Just try it once: take an idea you have and see if you can "high concept" it. You have to work harder than if you just started blathering on.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Armchair Interviews on November 10, 2006
Format: Paperback
Subtitled: How to appear to today's distracted, disinterested, disengaged, disenchanted and busy audience.

(Good resource for writers or business people)

As someone who writes business content for brochures, web sits, etc., this book had a ton of good information. Usually I don't write in books, however this one is splattered full of "good," or "keep."

These following facts will tell you why you need to write differently for today's audience:

-- 4.3% of adult population has ADHD-that's 8 million Americans
-- People will throw out more than 50% of the paper mail without any more than a quick glance--or pile it to "read later"
-- People will delete email without reading them, even those they need to have read in office emails (not just spam)
-- 84% of adults read magazines regularly while 50% read novels. 7,000 magazines are published in North America and 480 new magazines were introduced in 2004.
-- Professionals spend 53% of their time seeking information (5.4 billion hours a year)
-- The average TV viewer changes channels 8,000 a week
-- We retain 10% of what we hear, but 50% if visuals are included (pictures, graphics, type variations)
-- The Gettysburg Address (one of the greatest speeches in history) was only 272 words long
-- Average story in USA Today (introduced in 1982) is 300 words long.

Why all these facts? To show that our audience today, especially if you need to reach people younger than 35, wants to be communicated with differently.

The authors said that writing for the (recommended) reading level (7-8th grade) is not because our audience is illiterate but because they are busy, distracted, and reluctant to read complicated prose.

You can go to [...
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More About the Author

Paul B. Brown is a best-selling author who has written, co-written and "ghosted" numerous best-sellers including Customers for Life (with Carl Sewell) that has been translated into 19 differently languages and which continues to sell thousands of copies each month, some 23 years after its initial publication. (It has been updated twice.)

A long-time contributor to The New York Times, Paul, is also a contributing editor to both The Conference Board Review (where he also writes a column) and M.I.T.'s Sloan Management Review.

However, he spends most of his time writing books and has worked with internationally recognized senior executives, such as the president of AT&T and some of the nation's largest financial services firms. In all, the books he has written--both under his own name as well as those he has ghosted--have sold more nearly 3 million copies worldwide and have made every best-seller list you can think of.

A former writer and editor for Business Week, Financial World, Forbes and Inc. Paul is a graduate of Rutgers College and Rutgers University Law School and is a member of both the New Jersey and Massachusetts bar, but he asked that you don't hold that against him.