Advice on Capturing your Audience’s Attention from Pollster and Political Strategist Celinda Lake
Celinda Lake with RespectAbility Fellows and Staff
Rockville, Md., June 29 – Imagine you are a lioness, deep in the African safari. You keep watch over your young cubs that are rolling and tumbling around under the blazing sun nearby. Suddenly, out of the corner of your eye, you see something rustling the tall grass close to your cubs. You stand up, now on alert. A dry breeze wafts the stench of a hyena into your nose before a piercing laugh splits through the air; your cubs freeze. Baring your teeth, you walk toward the hyena that is now visible. As you get closer, you hear laughter coming from all around you and your cubs. You are surrounded. Even as the hyenas move in, you are committed to protecting your cubs, no matter what.
According to Celinda Lake, a person has the attention span of nine seconds; in order to capture that person’s eye, you must have a good story. During her talk with RespectAbility Fellows, Lake called upon her years of experience working for women candidates and nonprofit organizations working to increase the number of women in public office. When a woman is portrayed by the media or her opponent as being “aggressive,” she often is stereotyped as being too intimidating, and ultimately unlikeable. However, when the woman is shown as standing up for others, like a lioness, she is seen in a more positive light. Just because a woman is “intimidating,” does not mean she does not have a heart and the characteristics to “get the job done.” You cannot assume a person’s beliefs and values by simply looking at them.