Sally Hogshead is in an unenviable position. As the author of a book called Fascinate: Your Seven Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation, she addresses audiences who will feel shortchanged if their socks aren't knocked off. The audience at the Inc. Leadership Forum in Miami seemed appropriately rapt--especially when Hogshead explained what makes them different from the rest of the world.

In her book, Hogshead lays out the triggers--passion, power, trust, mystique, prestige, alarm and rebellion--that transform a brand from a utility into something people want to talk about and buy. Those triggers can do the same thing for people as for companies and products, Hogshead explained.

Trouble is, many people don't recognize their special, hard-wired qualities that, when leveraged to their fullest, make them memorable. Those qualities are a leader's most unique competitive advantage. "It's why certain leaders have so many followers and certain salespeople always seal the deal," said Hogshead. 

Worried you can't learn to be fascinating? All you have to do is unlearn how to be boring, Hogshead said.

"Your brain is hardwired to fascinate. It's a survival mechanism," she explained.

But different people fascinate in different ways. Some take command, some use emotion, some arouse curiosity, some inspire respect, some create urgency, some build loyalty, and some change the game. Everyone does one or more of these things in every interaction every day. But they don't always use the right one or the one that best suits their personality. Hogshead advised conference attendees on identifying the fascination triggers associated with their own personalities and how to use them in everything from hiring to introducing themselves.

An analysis of the Inc. audience showed, not surprisingly, a large number of people who fascinate with passion and power. They as a group scored lower than the general population on trust, though.

How important is it to recognize and exploit your fascination triggers? People pay up to four times more for a fascinating brand, says Hogshead. When the audiennce heard that, they were fascinated.