There’s a new book on the block – Captivology: The Science of Capturing People’s Attention
The 221 page book, written by former Mashable editor Ben Parr provides a framework of 7 “Captivation Triggers” that Parr says

“trigger shockingly predictable and quantifiable responses in the mind.”

They are:

  • Automaticity: Using specific sensory cues like colours, symbols, and sounds to capture attention based on automatic reaction to certain stimuli.
  • Framing: Adapting to or changing somebody’s view of the world so they pay more attention to you.
  • Disruption: Violating people’s expectations to change what they pay attention to.
  • Reward: Leveraging people’s motivations for intrinsic and extrinsic rewards.
  • Reputation: Using the reputations of experts, authorities, and the crowd to build trust and captivate audiences.
  • Mystery: Creating mystery, uncertainty, and suspense to keep and audience intrigued until the very end.
  • Acknowledgement: Fostering a deeper connection, because people tend to pay attention to those who provide them with validation and understanding.

I’ve been touting many of these ideas for some time based on my experience as a performer. I don’t have Mr Parr’s credentials nor the academic back-up that the book has so perhaps I should feel a sense of vindication!
But enough professional jealousy!  Do each of these triggers help those of us in the world of live marketing events? I won’t go into detail (again) about each of the triggers but will give a special mention to framing.

In the book the author talk about moving from short term attention to long term attention and the importance of framing. For me this is moving from getting attention to keeping it. The correct use of Framing ensures that the method you use to stop them in the aisle is relevant (or has the capacity to be relevant) to the actual reason you wanted them to stop in the first place!
Often the methods used by exhibitors to “get attention” actually make it harder to transition into “keeping attention”. They solely rely on the automaticity, disruption or reward triggers and fail to consider an appropriate outcome. These are very often short term strategies mainly because they trigger primitive, survival responses.
When exhibiting we need to think past our desperation to stop people and look towards engaging in more long term and meaningful interactions.

About The Author

Peter Wardell

Peter Wardell is an multi-award winning magician and speaker. He has helped companies from a wide variety of disciplines engage with their audience at trade show and exhibitions worldwide.


  • Alexis Ray

    June 5, 2016

    Here I sit, putting together a class for exhibitors at an upcoming expo. MY specialty is innovative trends and inventions in promotional products/tools. BUT I wanted to give my audience resources to utilize if they need help with their trade show exhibit or experience. In the end, it was YOUR information that resonated best, made the most sense of all, wasn’t a pitch for your services necessarily, and had the broadest range of information needed for my audience–and for ME. For that, I had to say THANK YOU, KUDOS, Good on ya, mate~
    Your YouTube Video, The MAGIC of Trade Show Success, will be the ONLY resource I give them. Thank you so very much!

  • Peter Wardell

    September 29, 2016

    Hi Alexis – I hope the class and the Expo were a huge success. I’m really pleased that you found something useful in the material I put out.
    All the best

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field