How do I grab your attention? By screaming loudly in your face? By phoning you every hour? By spamming your email inbox with lots of adverts?

I’m sure you’ve experienced people using those tactics on you, and I’m sure they didn’t work. If anything they just annoyed you.

To influence people, we need to grab their attention. If I can’t get your attention in the first place, then you are never going to listen to me, let alone consider what I have to say.

So here is a simple way to grab someone’s attention. Just think about what keeps them awake at night.

Sometimes we lie in bed at night desperately trying to sleep, but can’t because we have so many thoughts going through our mind. Maybe we’re like a child waiting for christmas day and really excited about something. Or maybe it’s the opposite, and we’re really worried about something.

If there is something on your mind that is enough to keep you up at night, then it’s got to be something important, and it’s got to be something you care a lot about. So if I start talking about that exact same thing, then I’m definitely going to get your full attention.

Want your supervisor to consider giving you a pay rise? Then think about what’s been on their mind lately. Maybe they’ve been struggling to reduce turnover in their team. Maybe they’re worried about the economic downturn. Maybe they’ve got an important task they need to delegate but don’t know who they can delegate too. When you know their concerns, you know how to grab their attention.

So next time you want to influence someone, take a minute to think about what keeps them up at night. It’ll help you grab their attention and give you a chance to influence them.