Capture Attention with Pattern Interrupt
Obnoxious. Loud. Self-Focused. Sad. Unaware.
These words came to mind as a lady displayed multiple emotional outbursts at a luncheon I attended recently.
"Thank you for making me look STUPID in front of EV-ER-Y-ONE," she blurted out loudly during the networking event.
(One of the participants had just POLITELY and GENTLY shared how something she emphatically stated was incorrect.)
Deafening quiet hung in the air before someone finally changed the subject.
I thought, "Bless her heart. She has no idea she came across that way. Or... maybe she doesn't care."
Either way, she definitely made herself memorable in a negative way.
While I don't recommend anyone, especially business leaders, adopt atrocious behavior—the scenario reminded me of "pattern interrupt methods" used by many in sales, marketing, politics, and the news.
The technique is typically used to surprise people and keep them engaged.
Case in Point: This mini-story models a pattern interrupt that is different from the typical stories I share with you.
My goal? To catch your attention and break up the monotony in a sea of emails.
Carpe Attentionis with Pattern Interrupt
Did you know that:
- 95 percent of the thoughts most humans have are REPETITIVE
- 80 percent of human thoughts are NEGATIVE
(Source: National Science Foundation)
These staggering statistics create an incredible opportunity for you and me to help prospective and existing customers:
- Hear a fresh perspective by seeing things in new and different ways
- Explore the "what ifs" by imagining the possibilities that could happen with your products and services
Unlike the lady's spontaneous emotional outburst, pattern interrupts for compelling and memorable communications are strategically planned.
For example, Judas planned his pattern interrupt by intentionally kissing Jesus on the cheek. It was shocking while creating a flurry of unexpected activity.
(Throughout scripture, we find pattern interrupts modeled via incredible stories, supernatural transformations, and the sharing of messages that got many people riled up.)
Ways You Can Disrupt the Norm
The list of pattern interrupts you can use in communications is endless. Here are a few to consider:
- Tell mini-stories to pull people in and keep them reading or listening.
- Break up written copy with pull quotes, testimonials, 1-2 sentence paragraphs, bolding, italics, or bullets.
- Ask challenging questions about something your audience is struggling with, and then answer them with authentic empathy.
- Share interesting (genuine) stats that support what you're discussing.
- Take a stand by not looking like everyone else and highlighting what makes you and your solutions different.
Hint: You've seen me model these tips in my teaching, writing, workshops, podcasts, and talks by unapologetically offering frameworks for creating marketing communications that are joyful. (AKA using best practices without hype or manipulation by filtering what you create through Gal. 5:22-23.)
CHALLENGE: When you want to get attention, change things up by mapping out AUTHENTIC pattern interrupts in your next communications plan.
But always remember to do so without emotional outbursts or being negative.
Photographer Jay Maisel once noted,
"People love patterns. But interrupted patterns are more interesting."
I highly recommend you spend time planning ways to break up the monotony and not look like everyone else.
Pattern interrupts are guaranteed to create a catalyst for connections you never imagined were possible.