An illustration shows series of eight clocks showing time passage from two minutes to fifty five minutes for getting a pizza baked.

AnticipationThe exquisite agony of anticipation

That feeling of waiting for a parcel to navigate the postal system to arrive in our mailbox; booking a holiday, then the impatience and excitement as the departure date too slowly approaches; watching a trailer for a new movie, then the months dragging by before it appears on screen …

That heady blend of impatience, expectation and excitement is anticipation.

Anticipation segues very satisfactorily from curiosity, because it’s the transition from wondering to predictingguessing and hoping. It relies on our having just enough information to form vague expectations, yet retains enough ambiguity to offer the potential for surprise and delight.

While we need to take an active approach to satisfying our curiosity, anticipation is a more passive state. It’s the way we feel while waiting for something to happen. But although it exists without external influence, when we manage people’s anticipation we can hold their attention more effectively, get them into the right mindset, and ensure their expectations are met or exceeded.

While we were furiously pounding away at the final paragraphs of this book, the 2018 Commonwealth Games were happening right outside our office. This may conjure a mental image of packs of athletes in too-tight spandex sweating their way along palm-lined roads with banner-waving crowds cheering them on, but many ...

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