What if you could have your favourite musician, or thinker, or writer, come to your house for dinner and regale you with a private performance? Who wouldn’t like that?
How about an up-close recital by one of the best violin players, playing one of the best violins, on the planet? The Washington Post conducted an experiment on this with Joshua Bell busking in a busy station. See if you can guess what happened. About 1,000 people passed him in the 45 minutes he played. How many stopped to listen? How many contributed? How much did he make?Whether you are making a presentation, pitching an idea or asking your boss for a raise; we are always told that timing is everything. People are so time-starved it’s as though society is suffering from Attention Deficit Disorder. It’s not that people aren’t listening to you, they’re just listening to the 100 other voices in their head.

It’s become so bad that if people meet you out of context, they frequently won’t recognise you. Paul McCartney conducted a similar busking experiment in a London tube station a few years ago. One of the best-known faces in the music business, wearing a cheesy beard as a disguise. He played his own songs and sang using his own voice. He even played his guitar left-handed – a pretty major give-away to anyone who’s ever heard of him. Almost no-one recognised him.

Make your guess and read the excellent article and the next time you need an audience’s undivided attention, pick your moment.