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The Art of Getting What You Want


15 min read
10 take-aways
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What's inside?

You can’t always get what you want. But if you try persuading, you’ll get what you need

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Persuasion is a well-covered topic in the business press, but author Dave Lakhani comes at it from a different perspective. His mother was part of a strict religious cult and, until he was 16, Lakhani also was a member. He left voluntarily and decided to find out what persuasive techniques had drawn his mother into the group, and what eventually allowed her – albeit reluctantly – to leave its grip. Lakhani approaches persuasion from the perspective of cultists and serial manipulators, and acknowledges its potential misuse. He presents fresh insights and recommendations for its more ethical applications. His book is convincing, tightly written and packed with valuable techniques.


Convince Me

Persuasion is one of mankind’s survival tools. People use it both emotionally and rationally to develop agreements or consensus through discussion. Ideally, a good outcome allows all the parties involved to concur on taking some form of action.

Persuasion differs from manipulation in that it does not use deception. Manipulators often act solely for their own benefit, whereas persuaders have common interests at heart. Finally, manipulation is short-lived, and ends when the manipulator accomplishes his or her goals. Persuaders seek to foster long-term, mutually beneficial relationships.

Skilled persuaders’ personal attributes – voice, appearance and demeanor – support their advocacy efforts. Studies have shown that a person’s appearance affects others’ perceptions. For example, job interviewers tend to hold tall men in higher regard than short men. Similarly, good-looking people can secure jobs faster than equally qualified but less attractive people.

Consequently, effective persuaders must cultivate good personalities. They must dress well, and appear stylish, well groomed and in good physical shape. Details are important. All of a person’s actions...

About the Author

Dave Lakhani is the president of Bold Approach, Inc., a business acceleration consultancy. He is a popular speaker on persuasion, influence, sales and marketing. He also wrote A Fighting Chance.

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