Transference is the magician’s tactic called misdirection. It involves establishing a frame of reference that occupies someone’s attention while something completely different is happening. The magician who gestures to the left or right of the audience is almost always moving the audience’s attention to where the trick is not happening––or to be precise, away from where the effect is subtly being staged.

Transference happens in everyday life. The nurse asks the patient about their weekend while giving a flu shot; the bellman calls the guest’s attention to a beautiful painting opposite the site of new construction; the dentist chitchats about his ski trip while the patient has a mouth full of stainless steel. . . all transference.

What are the negatives in your customer’s experience that you might be able to remove from their consciousness by channeling the customer’s attention elsewhere? What are ways a small gesture, token, or action can replace your customer’s adverse emotion with a positive one?