The Art of WOO ( Winning Others Over)

“There are three kinds of men, ones that learn by reading, a few who learn by observation and the rest of them have to pee on the electric fence and find out for themselves” – Will Rogers

Persuasion is both art and science. In this eminently readable book, authors Richard Shell and Mario Moussa, both from Stanford U offer a recipe for selling your ideas.

My interest in influencing and persuading was kindled after reading a fascinating account of Dr. Robert Cialdini’s work on the subject. I am even more excited as i will be attending his Principles of Persuasion (POP) workshop in Phoenix AZ this March.

Well, back to the Art of WOO, I first read about in a review in Knowledge at Wharton .

I grabbed a copy and it was unputdownable from the word Go. What caught my attention was their early reference to the Peanut Butter Manifesto by a Yahoo VP, Brad Garlinghouse trying to get the top management’s attention to overhaul the organisation -IMMEDIATELY.

This had all the elements of Persuasion.

First, he attracted the attention of his audience with a catchy metaphor, the Peanut Butter Manifesto, that is, the organisation was spreading it’s investments too thin over a large area
He had a clear goal – to light a fire under the management
he established credibility– by proclaiming his loyalty to the company
defined the problem in a crisp summary
proposed three specific solutions.
This manifesto worked !

In the next chapters,the authors urge you to map your Persuasion Style and then move on to confronting the five barriers
Negative relationships, Poor Credibility,Communication mismatches,Contrary belief systems and conflicting interests.

As a Presenter, chapters 7 ( State your case) and 8 ( Make it memorable- the personal touch), made a lot of sense to me. I was especially startled by the WSJ statistics quoted in chapter 8 ” Roughly thirty million PowerPoint presentations are delivered in the world every day and seventy-eight percent of surveyed executives report they have slept during a recent corporate presentation”.

Yet another powerful takeaway for me, which reinforced my belief in using anecdotes in my presentations, were these words – ” The key difference between a simple example and a story is what scholars call movement. When you tell a good story, the audience starts wondering what plot twists lie ahead.”

The Art of WOO is as indispensable as my toothbrush in my travel kit and I wish I could one day afford to attend their Strategic Persuasion Workshop !

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