Artful Persuasion: How to Command Attention, Change Minds, and Influence People


"There's really nothing mysterious about getting people to change their minds. No special, inborn gifts. No subliminal tricks.

Instead, the best persuaders--advertisers, salespeople, politicians, spin doctors--depend on the fact that everyone responds to messages in just two ways: thoughtfully or mindlessly. And they know how to manipulate these two persuasion routes to make even the most doubtful say ""yes.""

Jam-packed with fascinating case studies and surprising examples, ...

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"There's really nothing mysterious about getting people to change their minds. No special, inborn gifts. No subliminal tricks.

Instead, the best persuaders--advertisers, salespeople, politicians, spin doctors--depend on the fact that everyone responds to messages in just two ways: thoughtfully or mindlessly. And they know how to manipulate these two persuasion routes to make even the most doubtful say ""yes.""

Jam-packed with fascinating case studies and surprising examples, this comprehensive, entertaining how-to guide puts the powerful tool of persuasion at anyone's disposal. It explains:

• How the master persuaders--the Churchills, Lincolns, and Roosevelts--create powerful, memorable messages that convince people of their arguments' logic and rightness.

• How successful persuaders exploit the psychological triggers that cause people to subconsciously move from ""no"" to ""yes."""

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814470633
  • Publisher: AMACOM Books
  • Publication date: 4/11/2000
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.39 (w) x 9.35 (h) x 0.67 (d)

Meet the Author

Harry Mills (Lower Hutt, New Zealand) is the author of 22 books on sales, negotiation, and influence, including the bestselling Negotiate: The Art of Winning. He is also an active consultant whose international clients include IBM, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Toyota, Unilever, and Lexus.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

I earn my living as a professional persuader. I am what some people call a hired gun. I sell my talents to corporations, governments, and individuals who need help to persuade, sell, or negotiate.

I love it. The bigger the challenge, the more the adrenaline runs. Along the way, I've negotiated on billion-dollar deals, aided the launch of some of the world's best products, and even helped politicians win elections.

It's much easier when your clients include companies such as Toyota, BMW, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Unilever. These companies appreciate what it takes to win the battle for hearts and minds against formidable competitors.

The Dark Art of Mysterious Influence

Nevertheless, I never cease to be amazed at how few people understand the art of persuasion. A large group of people - 25 percent, pollsters tell us - believe that persuasion is sorcery, a mysterious black art practiced by wizards who masquerade as politicians, advertisers, and spin doctors.

Vance Packard popularised the notion in his 1957 best-selling book The Hidden Persuaders. "Many of us are being influenced and manipulated, far more than we realise, in the patterns of our everyday lives," he wrote. He saw motivational research as comparable to "the chilling world of George Orwell and big brother." According to Packard, advertising agencies were tapping into the research of psychoanalysis to create a new type of suggestive and seductive ad.

A Canadian university professor, William Bryan Key, added to the fears when he claimed there was widespread use of what he called subliminalpersuasion. He argued that advertisers were using subliminal messages in advertisements. Key claimed hidden messages urging you to buy were being embedded in pictures and print advertisements. At the movies, messages such as "Buy Coke" were being flashed secretly onto the screen at 1/3000 of a second - far too fast for the conscious mind to detect. Customers were being unconsciously manipulated.

Various governments added to the concern when they overreacted by banning subliminal advertising. However, in the over 200 academic papers that have since been published on the power of subliminal messages, not one has been able to show that subliminal messages influence what we do at all. Nevertheless, the fears haven't disappeared. In 1990, the rock band Judas Priest found themselves in court for allegedly recording the subliminal message "Do it" on one of their tracks in their 1978 album Stained Glass. Two sets of parents had filed suit claiming the message caused their two boys, fanatical Judas Priest fans, to commit suicide.

The band emerged victorious after a Canadian psychologist proved there was no evidence to support Key's ideas, which formed the basis of the accusation. Even so, persuasion for many remains a mysterious, irresistible force that unconsciously shapes their lives. Surveys tell us that 70 percent to 80 percent of people still believe advertisers use subliminal advertising.

Willing Accomplices in Our Own Seduction

The second reason why most people remain ignorant about how persuasion works is that they refuse to admit they are influenced by politicians, salespeople, and advertisers.

It is remarkable how many people believe they are immune to persuasion. They insist that they don't watch ads, that they never listen to politicians, and that they are resistant to all forms of persuasion.

Given that we are bombarded by as many as 1,600 commercial messages a day - that's 100 every waking hour - the claim to immunity is remarkable.

The fact is, none of us is immune to influence. Advertisers and other professional persuaders have long known how to get through to those of us who claim to be resistant.

Advertisers, for example, typically flatter those who believe they are too individualistic to fall for a pitch aimed at the mainstream. The simplest trick is to use flattery. The Nike ads or MTV tell the "rebels" they want to win over, "We understand you; you're special. Don't do what everyone else does. Be unique and join us."

There is a moment in Monty Python's The Life of Brian that sums up the approach perfectly. The messiah shouts to the crowd, "Don't follow anyone. Think for yourself. You are all individuals." And the crowd shouts back, in unison, "We are all individuals."

Ironically, because of their naivete, this "rebel" group is often the easiest to persuade - and in the process, they become willing accomplices in their own seduction.

I wrote this book to show that there is nothing inherently mysterious about persuasion. We can all be skilled persuaders if we are prepared to master the techniques and understand what works, what doesn¹t work, and why.

Moreover, I passionately believe that the best defense against manipulation, propaganda, and ultimately tyranny is a fundamental knowledge of how persuasion works. You only have to visit the Auschwitz and Dachau concentration camps to know the human price we pay for naivete, gullibility, and ignorance.

Clues For The Cluelessness

By Lee G. Bolman and Terrence E. Deal


Copyright © 2000 Lee G. Bolman and Terrence E. Deal. All rights reserved.

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Table of Contents

Preface: Manipulation, Seduction, and Persuasion: Why I wrote this book; How high is your persuasion IQ? ix
Acknowledgments xix
Part 1 How Persuasion Works
Chapter 1 Thoughtful Persuasion, Mindless Influence: The two routes to successful persuasion 2
Chapter 2 The Persuasion Effect: The four patterns of influence 4
Part 2 Thoughtful Persuasion
Chapter 3 Foxes, Bloodhounds, and Donkeys: The three types of influencers 10
Chapter 4 Persuasion Starts with Credibility: How to build trust and sell your expertise 14
Chapter 5 First Impression, Best Impression: The art of image management 37
Chapter 6 Reading the Other Person: How to use personality type to persuade 71
Chapter 7 Power Talk!: How to give words added impact 84
Chapter 8 Winning People's Hearts: The power of metaphors, analogies, and stories 105
Chapter 9 Winning People's Minds: How to structure and package your message 133
Chapter 10 Power Pitches: How to persuade with graphs, charts, and videos 159
Chapter 11 Ask, Don't Tell!: The gentle art of self-persuasion 187
Chapter 12 Different Groups, Different Messages: How to target and influence different groups 200
Chapter 13 Strategy Pure and Simple: How to outthink and outwit your opponents 210
Part 3 Mindless Influence
Chapter 14 Mindless Persuasion: The seven persuasion triggers of automatic influence 218
Chapter 15 Persuasion Trigger One: Contrast: The power of a benchmark 223
Chapter 16 Persuasion Trigger Two: Reciprocation: The law of give-and-take 230
Chapter 17 Persuasion Trigger Three: Commitment and Consistency: Getting one foot in the door 237
Chapter 18 Persuasion Trigger Four: Authority: The influence of position 246
Chapter 19 Persuasion Trigger Five: Scarcity: The rule of the rare 252
Chapter 20 Persuasion Trigger Six: Conformity: Everyone is doing it 264
Chapter 21 Persuasion Trigger Seven: Liking: Friends won't let you down 269
Part 4 Persuasion at its Best
Chapter 22 Icons of Influence: The most influential persuaders of the twentieth century 278
Footnotes 288
Index 295
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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2000

    Artful Persuasion: How to Command Attention, Change Minds and Influence People

    Harry Mills is the best teacher anyone with a business could want. What I need is what I find--quickly and easily--in Artful Persuasion. Time is my basic tool as a contractor in Brooklyn. Other plans of the building owners, other contractors and the weather are my competitors. Artful Persuasion is putting money in my accounts as it helps me with two-thirds of the competition. I need to convince people to focus on the plans, materials, timelines--and costs--involved in their construction and design projects. The tool of persuasion is here. All instructions and practical examples are included, and easy to use. With this book, I look forward to my meetings with the knowledge that I know what I am doing now, far better than before. There are many 'How-To' books around. Here is one that works, for building a successful business and, I can see, happy relationships of all sorts. We all need to change minds, and with Harry we learn how, and we have fun at the same time. No time to read a book? Buy and read Artful Persuasion and you'll have more time, because time is money, and this book works to make money for you.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2000

    An absolute must for every lawyer

    As a lawyer I make my living trying to persuade juries. This is the best how to book on how to persuade I have ever read. I only wish I had read it 20 years ago in law school.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2003

    Persuasion magic

    Artful Persuasion is one of the most insightful persusion books i have ever read. Unnlike other books of its kind, it displays easy to communicate diagrams and tests which help every person to persuade. As persuasion is one of the most important techniques in my line of work, i am fasinated with how easy and how well these techniques work in the practical world.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2000

    Artful Persuasion: How to Command Attention, Change Minds and Influence People

    As a teacher in a New York City public high school I try to command attention, change minds and influence people every day. Harry Mills gives me a beautifully organized tool box which helps me to use my resources with success. Time and patience are limited, and the windows of opportunity for my students are precious. I welcome this wealth of pointers and suggestions which are immediately useful. In my teaching and in my conflict resolution work the specific strategies and tactics outlined by Harry Mills are blueprints for success. The data is there. We can see that Mills has done his homework. His research is presented in a useful way, with a richness of refreshing and applicable anecdotes. The lively quotes shared are in themselves worth the price of the book. I value my time and the space in my bag and on my desk. The presence of Artful Persuasion is uplifting, literally. No heavy pedantic dressing here, no boring digressions. No dust gathers on this book. Harry Mills writes with obvious love, respect and knowledge of the arts of communication and persuasion. We can feel and share his enjoyment in fashioning the well organized, independently useful chapters, lists, pointers and tables. This is a book to have fun with -the best type of educational tool, which we will keep with us and look forward to using and sharing with our friends. This is a book written with respect for the readers. We hear the insights clearly, as if we are with Mills in an airy room for a workshop during which we will not be focusing upon the passing of time, doughnuts and coffee. In an exercise of clairvoyance which testifies to the experience of the author as a teacher and communicator, it seems that Mills hears and responds to our questions and concerns. When I worked with the U.S. State Department and U.S. Information Agency on Romanian projects during the Ceausescu era, and when I was a new teacher in the Bronx, I could have well used the powers Mills offers us in Artful Persuasion. We all have moments, places and challenges which we recall with a mixture of feelings. Buy and start to read and enjoy Artful Persuasion today and you will create successes that will long be remebered.

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