The Spotlight Effect

The first “C” in the CLICK Technique stands for Curiosity, and I’ve found that more often than not, it’s the step that people have the most difficulty with.  People can feel overwhelmed with the prospect of

The Spotlight Effect

delivering captivating content to pique people’s curiosity, especially when I tell them that the best content for this is PERSONAL content.  Re-posting a link or an inspirational picture is easy enough, but actually putting yourself out there?  Yikes!

What is The Spotlight Effect?

I understand the nerves that spring up from taking on this endeavor.  I know the feeling of starting a Facebook Live video and looking at that “0 Viewers” notification staring back at me.  Worse than that, is seeing it tick up to “1 Viewer” after a minute, only to drop back down to 0 again fifteen seconds later!  It takes a lot of practice keep staring into that camera with a smile on your face and not stutter as your brain is screaming “I’m doing this for ZERO people, and the one person who wandered in was so bored they bailed after a few SECONDS!”  I mean, that person must think I’m an idiot, right?  And nobody else is watching because they already KNOW I’m an idiot!  This feeling sounds familiar?  Well then, I have great news for you.

This feeling is what is known as the Spotlight Effect.  It’s a phenomenon where people think that they are being observed and judged far more than they actually are.  It happens because we are seeing things from our own point of view, and when we put ourselves out there, we struggle to imagine how we look through other people’s eyes.  We can attempt to put ourselves in the shoes of the audience, but we can’t help but attach everything we are feeling at the time (how hard we’re working, our nervousness and fear of screwing up, etc.)

I remember one day in a 9th-grade speech class, waiting for my turn to stand up in front of the class and deliver a speech I had worked on for the last week.  I knew my turn was coming up, and as it got closer and closer, my internal panic was rising to a fever pitch!  “How is everybody doing this so calmly?” I thought to myself, and then I realized, maybe they aren’t.  I saw some of the kids fumble their lines, or lose their place, I just didn’t register it as a failure.  Inside their heads, they were probably screaming


If I didn’t care if somebody messed up, then why was it that everybody cared if I messed up?  BINGO… nobody does.

So, what does a 9th-grade speech class have to do with online marketing?  Well, it’s great news if you HATE being a tiny bit vulnerable and putting a little bit of yourself into a blog post or video.  


It’s a double-edged sword though, because when you finally deliver that perfect blog or put out that perfect video…


So what’s the solution?  Become aware of it.  Understand that people don’t care, or even notice what you are doing, to the degree that you think they do.  The simple fact is, that everything you do to market your business, even if it is “seen” by hundreds of people, will only really resonate with a handful of them.  And when it resonates with that handful, it’ll be because of some connection they felt with you, not because they felt like mocking you.  It’s that handful that may someday become your new customers.  

Understanding this phenomenon should give you the GUTS to get out there and create that content that is going to get people curious to know more about you and continue the rest of the journey through the CLICK Technique.