ROA = Return on attention.
When some people shoot the breeze, they kill it with wasteful talk. In this attention starved world, listenership is rewarded to people that give great return on attention. Think of it as the new ROI for personal and business relationships.
The key to delivering conversational value is:
1. Thoughtfulness — What am I going to say that will add value?
2. Brevity — How can I say it with a minimum of words in a succinct fashion?
3. Pause to listen — Remember Covey's rule: Seek first to understand…
4. Impact — Provide a call to action or give the conversation meaning.
When I was working in sales @ Yahoo!, I noticed that our SVP (Anil Singh) was overwhelmed with the noise of the company. Everyone campaign for his attention, then when it was secured, it was usually waste on repetitive dribble. I watched him tune them out over time. When I asked for his attention, I treated it like a golden opportunity and gave him the headline, the relevance tie in and the requested course of action. He responded well, giving me increasing attention over time.
PS — Good ROA over email is important too. Giving great email value will protect your readership and keep you from becoming deletable. Check out my post on the CLEAR system for ideas in that area.