The Power of Intimate Attention

Oct 27, 2017 1 Min Read
donald trump changing the world with Intimate Attention
How to Stand Out, Build a Tribe, and Change the World with Intimate Attention

How can you compete when you don’t have money, brand awareness or even a track record? You are a solo consultant, executive coach, or a fitness trainer. You’re an author, speaker or entrepreneur. You are an artist or musician. How do you build a following? How do you build a base of raving fans who are eager to support you? Are you ready for the ultimate secret?

“OMG! I’m so excited!”
“Oh my gosh, I got picked as Monkey of the Month!”

My daughter, Amanda, 16 years old at that time, just got this special honour from rising pop star, Max Schneider. Justin Bieber fans are called Beliebers. Lady Gaga fans are called Little Monsters. And Max Schneider for some odd reason—I’m sure my daughter would tell me, but I’m not asking—used to call his fans Schneider Monkeys (they’re the Max Squad now).

Apparently, each month Schneider picked one person who had been especially active promoting him on Twitter and he acknowledged their efforts by naming them “Monkey of the Month.” Last summer, my daughter Natalie was surprised and excited when aprofessional photographer, Marco Secchi, followed her back on Twitter and even retweeted her tweet.

And my son, Owen, now 13-years-old, records himself playing video games and uploads them to YouTube. He gets very excited every time a big “YouTuber” likes or comments on one of his videos. My teenagers get very excited when they get some kind of attention from a “celebrity.” It doesn’t take much. A simple “like” on a tweet. A simple “cool video” comment on YouTube. A simple name check when doing a Q&A session. And what does this have to do with growing your business? Everything.

Gary Vaynerchuk’s Superpower

While conducting research for my book, I stumbled upon a great article by author, speaker and founder of Convince & Convert Jay Baer. In 11 Things Donald Trump Stole From the Gary Vaynerchuk Playbook, he wrote:

“Gary (and Donald Trump) share a superpower in their ability to make people feel like they are having a private conversation with them, even in a crowded room. This is the gift of intimacy through attention, and it’s a rare one.”

I was struck by that phrase, “the gift of intimacy through attention.”

That’s the phrase that describes the power of one-to-one authentic connection; of saying “thank you” to one person at a time; to answering every question you get asked. While Baer used that phrase to describe how Vaynerchuk connects so personally in a live setting, I think it’s just as true of how “GaryVee” connects with so many of his fans on a daily basis.

I’m not talking about how Vaynerchuk or others “authentically” reach their masses of fans through raw video clips of their daily lives and stream of conscious thoughts. I’m talking about how Vaynerchuk has spent thousands of hours tweeting back to one person at a time, and how he’ll solicit questions on Snapchat and record video answers to each individual follower.

Ricky Henderson And The Value Of A Wink

While writer Jay Baer coined Vaynerchuk’s approach “the gift of intimate attention,” Vaynerchuk himself calls it something totally different: “The Rickey Henderson Effect.” In a 2014 post on LinkedIn, Vaynerchuk tells the story of what happened when he was 10 years old, attending a Yankees game:

“Rickey Henderson catches a fly ball to end the inning and, as he runs into the dugout, he looks up, he looks me directly in the face, and he winks. And that’s it. That wink took Rickey, oh, I dunno, a hundredth of a second of effort, but over the next five years of my life, my mum bought me a Rickey Henderson jersey, my mum bought me tons of Rickey Henderson baseball cards, and the name Rickey Henderson came up hundreds of times.”

Henderson didn’t just doff his cap to all the fans down the first base line; he gave a personal, private wink to one young fan.

The Power Of Intimate Attention

We live in an age of “bowling alone” where we barely know our neighbours and even “social” media primarily consists of us blasting each other with links to articles, cat videos, memes and inspirational quotes. So going back to where we started: How do you beat your competition? How do you compete against the Goliaths?

While Goliaths are sending email blasts to thousands of subscribers on their list, you will send one email to a real person. While Goliaths are busy updating their social media pages with memes, you will answer a question for one person in an online group. While Goliaths are using social channels as a bullhorn, you will use it to start a real conversation. Simply put, the secret is to connect with one person at a time.

Watch this amazing video on how to connect to one person at a time

The secret to connecting is listening. Are you listening enough? To watch more amazing videos, click here
To read more articles on listening and growth, click here

Share This


Tags: Communication

Kevin Kruse is a New York Times bestselling author, keynote speaker, and leadership expert. He is the founder of The Kruse Group.

You May Also Like


Sitting in the Muck and Being Ok

By Juliet Funt. My dear friends, make some extra white space for yourself. The oxygenation of an under-scheduled day will help you slip into gentler gear. That moderate pace and increased ease will clear emotional tension, allowing you to face more powerfully what’s next in your life and your next year.

Jan 03, 2023 5 Min Read

Man meditating at work, balancing work and life, integrating work and life

Work-Life Integration - Are We Ready For It?

Connie Lim, People & Culture Lead of Leaderonomics discusses why employers should consider work-life integration within their organisations, even if they are traditionalists, and how it generates value for the organisation.

Jun 25, 2023 31 Min Podcast


Pranks Anyone? Teams That Laugh Together, Stay Together

During the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, vuvuzelas were all the rage as fans trumpeted their way through matches with as much passion as the players on the pitch. And, one of our customers, who was at the World Cup final, bought a vuvuzela and presented it to our chief executive officer, Roshan Thiran, as a gift. Roshan presented it to his team at Leaderonomics and it wasn’t long before it was put to mischievous use. You see, pranks are part and parcel of the Leaderonomics culture. It is one of the first things employees learn when they join the company – we have an official prank set up for them as part of the orientation process.

Aug 09, 2010 3 Min Video

Be a Leader's Digest Reader