Attention and empathy

“Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.” – Simone Weil

For several months now, I have been wondering what attention is, how to get it, how to keep it when someone grants you theirs, etc.

In the conferences I give, I often talk about the importance of the fact that when someone views or reads your content, they agree to give you some of the attention they have in their day.

It is up to you to take care of it and make sure that he/she does not regret this action so that he/she can give it to you again next time.

It is essentially an exchange. You give them value, and they give you attention. If the value is there, trust is built and you might have their attention again the next time they have the opportunity.

The content you produce must therefore bring value, and this perception of value can be very different from one person to another.

Hence the importance of knowing your audience, your people, and being able to show empathy.

Benoit Giguère, Vice President, Creative and Content at Brandbourg, has an excellent way of explaining this: Imagine how different people perceive a cow, between you, a butcher, a veterinarian, a child, etc.

The same cow is very, very different for each of these people.

In an article published by Brain Pickings, we discover an excellent book that demonstrates it all: “On Looking: Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes.” The author, Alexandra Horowitz, walked around her city block, in New York City, with 11 experts from very different backgrounds. A geologist, an artist, a sound designer, etc.

The perception and the way in which each person “sees” the same block is fascinating.

The article is an excellent summary of the book (and very thorough… 37 minutes of reading!), but I didn’t read it in full.

Why?

I immediately ordered the book.

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