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The Hook

 

Techniques > Use of language > Persuasive language > The Hook

Method | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Method

Add special points in your sentences where you deliberately 'hook' the audience, grabbing their interest and attention.

Elements you can use in the hook include:

Help or threaten needs. Align with personal goals. Work with the way the person is motivated so the hook pulls them in naturally.

You can have multiple hooks, although be careful to ensure they all hook in the same direction.

Hooks can be negative, working with fear and other negative emotions, although they are better if they are positive, working with desires and delight.

Example

Did you know that this is free? ... Yes, you can get it now. Just dial this number...

I know you've been searching for a course on topiary, and I've found one for you. But first I want to talk about what you will do afterwards.

You don't know if your breath smells, but others certainly do. Listene helps ensure you're always a sweet smelling friend!

Discussion

A problem with much persuasive speaking is that we try to persuade before we have the full attention of the person in question.

A critical part of hooking and gaining attention is to evoke emotions. When people are emotionally hooked, then they will listen and engage with you.

The principle of the 'hook' comes from music, where a particularly catchy variation is put into the middle of the song. It may appear once or may appear repeatedly, often around the chorus.

Further back, the original metaphor comes from fishing where, once hooked, the fish is steadily reeled in.

Advertising copy makes regular use of hooks and it can be instructive to discover these. The simplest way is to read the adverts and introspectively feel yourself being hooked.

See also

AIDA, Shock and awe

 

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