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Fascination plays a role in every type of decision-making, such as the brands you choose, the songs you remember, the person you marry, and the employees you hire. What makes something (or someone) fascinating? According to Sally Hogshead, author of “Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation,” fascination starts with seven universal triggers---lust, mystique, alarm, prestige, power, vice, and trust. Sally says whether you realize it, you’re already using them ... and so are leaders, friends and family members looking to convince you to change your behavior.

The first step toward gaining control over the triggers is to become aware of how you are using them. Everyone has two primary and one dormant trigger. To assist us in identifying our “F” factor, Sally developed a short survey, which I, of course, took immediately. It turns out my primary triggers are vice and lust, in that order---something that should surprise no one who knows me---but not for the reasons they (or you) might think.

The devil sitting on your shoulder whispering in your ear? Vice. Fascinated with something, after having been told you can’t have it? Tempted to push a boundary or deviate from the norm?  Vice. It’s everything you want to do and know you shouldn’t do (but still might do, anyway). Admittedly, this could easily describe most of my early college career. But as a PR professional, my ability to trigger vice is what allows me to convince my clients to take risks in the way they communicate about themselves, in exchange for a significant uptick in ability to fascinate and influence their audiences

As for lust, it fascinates through our experience---our appetites and passions of sight, sound, taste, touch and scent. The lust trigger is particularly hard to ignore because it does not stem from wise and responsible decision-making. Lust is triggered by feelings, not the intellect. One of the most effective uses I’ve found for the lust trigger is in closing new business. If I make it to that final meeting, I know the client has done his or her homework and already thinks I’m the right person for the engagement. So rather than resell the client on things we've already discussed, I use that time to reassure them, answering every little question until I can tell they also feel they made the right decision.

A trigger that didn’t come up as major for me, but that I will consciously invoke here, is mystique. To find out more about the five remaining triggers, get the book. That said, don’t expect a super structured business book full of sub heads and bullet points. Sally practices what she preaches. The book, by design, masterfully invokes all the triggers, both alone and in combination. Relax and allow yourself to be made curious---and fascinated. You’ll be glad you did.

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Helena Bouchez is principal and owner of Helena B Communications ( Reach her via or follow her on Twitter (@HelenaBouchez).

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