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Influence and Persuasion Articles

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Being able to change an individual’s thoughts, feelings, attitudes or behaviours is a great skill to possess and our activities will allow participants to consider the importance of credibility, empathy and effective listening and communication skills when influencing others.

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17 Ideas You can Use to Increase Your Sales Almost Immediately

About this Article:
This article, from Bill Fryer, provides really practical advice and information that will benefit anyone who works in a sales environment.

About

About this Article:
This article, from Bill Fryer, provides really practical advice and information that will benefit anyone who works in a sales environment.

Opening Words:
1. Don't be greedy. If you always try to profit from the first sale, you ignore the real value of the customer. This is a mistake. If you don't invest as much as you could to get customers - you won't get as many profitable customers as you might. Also, your competitor, who does know the value of a customer, can outspend or underprice you - or both.

2. Concentrate on customers more than prospects. Research by McGraw-Hill into why retailers lost customers showed that 68% went elsewhere because of indifference or the attitude of their salesforce. Only 14% went because they were dissatisfied with the product or service and only 9% went to the competition. Your customers will remain loyal if you pay them attention.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone involved in sales or responsible for the development of sales skills in others.

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28 Design Tips to Improve the Effectiveness of your Advertising and Direct Mail

About this Article:
In this article, Bill Fryer provides some great ideas for improving advertising material, covering design, content and language.

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About this Article:
In this article, Bill Fryer provides some great ideas for improving advertising material, covering design, content and language.

Opening Words:
1. Give it a human feel. Make sure it doesn’t look too mass produced. Instead it should look as if there has been human involvement.

2. Simple design changes revitalise a dying control pack. First try changing the outer envelope, then if this does not work try giving other parts of the pack a new look. People remember what they have seen better than what they have read, so it is not so important to change the copy.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone involved in the design or content of advertising materials.

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Better Bargaining

Article Overview:
In this article Jeremy explains how we can all develop our negotiation skills. The article covers several areas, including cultural expectations and challenges, myths about negotiating and the negotiator's dilemma.

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Article Overview:
In this article Jeremy explains how we can all develop our negotiation skills. The article covers several areas, including cultural expectations and challenges, myths about negotiating and the negotiator's dilemma.

Opening Words:
We all have to negotiate at one level or another, whatever our job. Often, there can be huge sums at stake. Yet, many managers, responsible for negotiating even quite critical issues, whether for contracts of supply, purchases or employment, let alone day-to-day differences of opinion with colleagues, have never been trained to negotiate professionally.

The requisite skills are often held to be 'self-evident'. But they are not!

Useful Reading For:
Anyone wanting to develop their negotiation skills.

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Beyond Plain English

Article Overview:
In this thought provoking article, Martin Shovel questions the demand for plainer and plainer English and argues for the need for more evocative, poetic language in order to provoke a reaction in others.

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Article Overview:
In this thought provoking article, Martin Shovel questions the demand for plainer and plainer English and argues for the need for more evocative, poetic language in order to provoke a reaction in others.

Opening Words:
How would your colleagues react if you turned up at the office one day in your pyjamas? Chances are, you’d struggle to get them to take you seriously. And if you tried to carry on as if nothing out of the ordinary was happening, they’d probably begin to question your sanity.

What you wear and when you choose to wear it matters greatly because in most social situations nudity is not an option. In the world of work, for example, the suit is an emblem of neutrality, but you’d get a very odd reaction if you wore one to bed.

When we express ourselves in language, our thoughts are like naked bodies and our words are like the clothes that dress and display them to the world. How you say what you say is as important as what you say – in fact, the two are inseparable. Which is why I have a bit of a problem with the idea of 'Plain English'.

Useful Reading For:
A fascinating read for anyone looking to add impact to their presentations or get their communication noticed.

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Buying Motivation

About this Article:
In this article, Buffy Sparks considers the fact that people, in general, love to buy, but hate to be sold to. She explains simply the two types of buying motivation, and the importance of turning needs into wants.

About

About this Article:
In this article, Buffy Sparks considers the fact that people, in general, love to buy, but hate to be sold to. She explains simply the two types of buying motivation, and the importance of turning needs into wants.

Opening Words:
To understand buying motivation we must first look at the reasons why we buy products and items ourselves.

There is nothing magical in why people buy certain things; in fact the answer is quite simple.

People LOVE to BUY, but HATE to be SOLD to.

It is the combination of these four words that causes a great deal of trouble; any combination of the four words other than the sequence displayed above and there is no sale.

Suitable Reading For:
Anyone involved in sales and sales techniques.

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Don't Make Me Go Back to the Gym

Article Overview:
In this article, Rod Webb wonders why he's not motivated to return to the gym after Christmas this year, and considers the lessons here for organisations and managers. The article outlines key thoughts and ideas about motivating people at work and managing change.

About

Article Overview:
In this article, Rod Webb wonders why he's not motivated to return to the gym after Christmas this year, and considers the lessons here for organisations and managers. The article outlines key thoughts and ideas about motivating people at work and managing change.

Opening Words:
I had one of those moments this morning, which seem to come with increasing frequency once you reach your forties. The image in the bathroom mirror just seemed to be a little more out of shape than normal – the sagging more noticeable, the posture a little worse. On really bad days I see my father in the mirror. Nothing against my father, you understand, but when he was my age (and I wasn’t) I thought he looked old, whilst I of course know that I’m still very much in my youth.

Anyway, this unfortunate revelation got me thinking and wondering whether once again I should try and lose some of the post Christmas excess via lots of exercise at the gym.

I’ve tried the gym before – many, many times, without any discernible difference being achieved in the few weeks my commitment lasted before the excruciating boredom became unbearable and I was driven back to the sofa - and chocolate.

Useful Reading For:
Managers and team leaders who need to motivate others.

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Educating Upwards

Article Overview:
This short article from experienced life coach Fiona Reed provides some useful advice and tips for influencing managers. It explains the preparation that will help you sell an idea to your manager.

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Article Overview:
This short article from experienced life coach Fiona Reed provides some useful advice and tips for influencing managers. It explains the preparation that will help you sell an idea to your manager.

Opening Words:
If you want to influence your boss or someone who has authority to affect your actions, a good way is to have a well thought out plan. Sometimes it is said, 'well, just ask for what you want', (which is easy to say although maybe hard to do), but will that get the result you seek?

A better question to ask yourself is, ‘What can I do to ask in a way that is likely to get a 'yes'?’ This is something altogether trickier. It involves work to prepare, but is far more likely to deliver the goods and get the ‘yes’ you want. It involves a plan to go 'upwards' with solutions and not problems. This is key. People who have any kind of power to agree to something you want or not, will have their minds racing with 'yes, buts' all the time you’re speaking, because they will be involved in the decisions, the cost and disruption caused by the solution you’re proposing. So the clearer you can be and the more thorough your prior thinking, the more likely you are to be able to quell those racing thoughts before they’ve taken hold.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone who needs to influence decision makers to ensure a positive outcome is reached - that's everyone at some time or another!

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How Can I Boost Initiative In My Team?

Article Overview:
In this article Jennifer looks at some suggestions for getting people to take responsibility for themselves and show initiative.

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Article Overview:
In this article Jennifer looks at some suggestions for getting people to take responsibility for themselves and show initiative.

Opening Words:
Do you ever get asked for your advice, opinion or assistance? In fact, do you seem to spend most of your time responding to people’s queries and telling them what they should be doing? And do you feel that you are repeatedly asked the same questions by the same people?

It’s frustrating, isn’t it? You have a job to do, a team to manage, results to achieve and deadlines to meet. You could do without these distractions because that’s what they feel like. Why can’t people just use their initiative and get on with the job?

Useful Reading For:
Managers and in particular first time managers.

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How Important are Business Writing Skills?

Article Overview:
In this article, Rod Webb considers the importance of writing skills in today's business world. The article goes on to explain why business writing skills are so important, and what trainers need to consider when developing their colleagues' writing skills.

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Article Overview:
In this article, Rod Webb considers the importance of writing skills in today's business world. The article goes on to explain why business writing skills are so important, and what trainers need to consider when developing their colleagues' writing skills.

Opening Words:
Many of us brought up in the UK in the seventies and eighties received little formal training in the use of English language. In those ‘enlightened’ days the emphasis was placed less on the differences between nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs, and more on individuals’ abilities to get their ideas down on paper. Content became more important than the quality of the writing. Ironically, the first time many were seriously exposed to grammar, was when they tried to learn a foreign language.

As someone who spends much of his time training individuals to release their creative potential, and bemoaning the fact that creativity is not properly developed as a skill, you might think I’d be an advocate of a relaxed attitude towards English grammar, and writing skills in general. Experience has taught me however, that a basic understanding of grammar, and an ability to write effectively, are essential business skills.

Useful Reading For:
Everyone.

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How to Become a Charismatic Speaker

Article Overview
This is another great article from Martin Shovel, the author looks at the common mistakes people make when speaking, and the value of using pictures and imagery to encourage the audience to 'feel' the message.

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Article Overview
This is another great article from Martin Shovel, the author looks at the common mistakes people make when speaking, and the value of using pictures and imagery to encourage the audience to 'feel' the message.

Opening Words:
In extreme cases – I'm thinking of Gerald Ratner’s infamous "total crap" speech – it has been known for a Chief Executive to open his mouth and bring his company crashing to its knees. Fortunately, catastrophes on this scale are rare. Far more common, however, is the plethora of boring presentations and tedious speeches that drain an organisation of its lifeblood – good communication.

For instance, last week I was invited to a high profile product launch at a swanky London venue. As the Managing Director rose to his feet to say a few words before introducing a well-known guest speaker, I noticed that the people in the audience who worked for him visibly winced. He got off to a bad start by telling us all the things he wasn’t going to do in his speech...

Useful Reading For:
Anyone who wants to learn how to make their presentations more engaging and impactful.

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Lifting the Lid on Obama

Article Overview:
In this article, Martin Shovel looks at the moment that Barack Obama seemed to stumble over his words and asks if it's right to expect great speeches to be spontaneous.

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Article Overview:
In this article, Martin Shovel looks at the moment that Barack Obama seemed to stumble over his words and asks if it's right to expect great speeches to be spontaneous.

Opening Words:
Something shocking happened to Barack Obama on Thursday 5th June, 2008. He was addressing a meeting of the local community in Bristol, Virginia, when in this midst of his usual rhetorical flow, the wheels of his speech suddenly flew off and he ground to an inarticulate halt.

Here's a transcript of Obama's slip up: "Everybody knows that it makes no sense... that you send a kid to the emergency room for a treatable illness like asthma, they end up taking up a hospital bed, it costs... when... if you... they just gave... you gave up a hospital bed, it costs... when... if you... they just gave... you gave 'em treatment early and they got... some treatment... and... er... a breathalyzer... or an inhalator... not a breathalyzer... (audience laughter)... I haven't had much sleep in the last forty-eight hours or so..."

What had gone wrong? Had lack of sleep really caused Obama's muse to nod off momentarily? Apparently not, what had happened was that his autocue had broken down for a couple of minutes."

Useful Reading For:
Anyone interested in developing their presentation skills and anyone, in particular who feels overawed by great speakers, who like us need good back up systems - like practice or, in this case, an autocue that works.

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Negotiating - The Salami Tactic

Article Overview:
In this Article, Tony Atherton discusses the Salami Tactic, often used during negotiations, and how to counter it.

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Article Overview:
In this Article, Tony Atherton discusses the Salami Tactic, often used during negotiations, and how to counter it.

Opening Words:
Some negotiators just love to play tactical games. In this article we will look at one of the most widely known negotiating tactics and think about how to rebuff it. In our negotiating skills courses we discuss this and other tactics in some detail and practice using them and rebuffing them.

Salami sausages are big things (often spicy) that are eaten a slice at a time, they would be indigestible if taken in a single large piece. This aspect has led negotiators to use the name for a negotiating technique that tries to do just that: to win concessions in small doses (slices) when the other party would probably reject them if they were put on the table all at once. It is often used on a party that is mainly concerned with damage limitation.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone involved in negotiations.

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Negotiation Skills - Making Concessions

Article Overview:
In this article Tony discusses why the art of making concessions is a crucial skill in negotiations.

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Article Overview:
In this article Tony discusses why the art of making concessions is a crucial skill in negotiations.

Opening Words:
You often hear that someone in a negotiation gave away a concession. It's an interesting phrase 'gave away' because good negotiators, whether professional or amateur, rarely give away concessions. Some, as a point of principle, never 'give away' a concession. Someone with good negotiating skills 'trades' concessions.

By its very nature a concession – however easy it is for you to make or however trivial it might seem to you – is worth something to the other party. Therefore good negotiators put a value on that concession and will exchange it, or trade it, for something they want in return. Whenever you think about making a concession always ask yourself the question – What am I getting in return?

Useful Reading For:
Anyone involved in negotiations and sales people in particular.

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Neutralising Manipulative Negotiation Tactics

Article Overview:
This superb article from Calum Coburn is essential reading for anyone involved in negotiation or sales. It explains some of the common tactics used in negotiation by those focused on short term benefit, and gives clear advice for neutralising these without resorting to the same manipulative approaches.

About

Article Overview:
This superb article from Calum Coburn is essential reading for anyone involved in negotiation or sales. It explains some of the common tactics used in negotiation by those focused on short term benefit, and gives clear advice for neutralising these without resorting to the same manipulative approaches.

Opening Words:
Prior to the 1980’s, many companies focused their negotiation training on tactics. Although the following tactics will yield a short term result, we don’t advocate their use in a business context. The reason we don’t advocate their use is due to both the long term damage they will deliver to your business relationships, and the questionable ethics of using manipulative tactics. Once you have mastered the Principled Negotiation Model, the need for manoeuvring to gain a small short term advantage will be made redundant. These tactics are designed to extract value out of the other side without making any value contribution or creation. They are thus Win-Lose by nature.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone involved in negotiations or sales.

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New Light On PowerPoint

Article Overview:
In this article, Martin Shovel considers why "PowerPoint Presentations that Changed the World" ranks so highly on the list of books that will never be written.

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Article Overview:
In this article, Martin Shovel considers why "PowerPoint Presentations that Changed the World" ranks so highly on the list of books that will never be written.

Opening Words:
Why does PowerPoint Presentations that Changed the World rank so high on the list of books that will never be written? Perhaps the clue is in the title. PowerPoint has been with us for over 20 years but during that time it has gained more of a reputation for sending the world to sleep than changing it.

Great orators, past and present, have managed to weave their magic with words alone. Would Nelson Mandela’s statement at the opening of his trial have been more powerful, or Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech more moving if they’d been delivered as PowerPoint presentations?

Useful Reading For:
All trainers and coaches who use Powerpoint.

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Obama's Magic

Article Overview:
In this article, Martin Shovel considers Barrack Obama's success as an orator and the impact they had in the run up to his election.

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Article Overview:
In this article, Martin Shovel considers Barrack Obama's success as an orator and the impact they had in the run up to his election.

Opening Words:
There is one supreme gift that marks out truly great speakers from the rest: it’s an unerring ability to make us care about what they’re saying, whatever the topic. Up to now, Barack Obama’s greatest achievement has been to make the people of America care about politics. Armed only with words, he has miraculously transformed the vast desert of political disaffection into a fertile plain where the litter of broken dreams has been replaced by seeds of hope.

Obama’s words have cast their spell in a series of stirring campaign speeches; speeches that have excited and inspired people around the globe. But what is it that makes these speeches so special? And is it possible to begin to understand how they work their magic?

Useful Reading For:
Anyone who wants to improve their presentation skills or their ability to influence others through words.

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Out of the Mouths of Babes...

Article Overview:
In this interesting article, Martin Shovel looks at the nature of language and the way we categorise things. He shows why basic level words and concepts are so important when trying to communicate effectively.

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Article Overview:
In this interesting article, Martin Shovel looks at the nature of language and the way we categorise things. He shows why basic level words and concepts are so important when trying to communicate effectively.

Opening Words:
In the Marx Brothers’ film, Duck Soup, there’s a scene in which Rufus T. Firefly (played by Groucho Marx) is handed a Treasury Department report while attending his first-ever Cabinet meeting as leader of the fictional country of Freedonia.

When asked if he finds the report clear, Firefly replies, “Clear? Huh! Why a four-year-old child could understand this report.” He then turns to his secretary and instructs him to “run out and find me a four-year-old child. I can’t make head nor tail out of it.”

Useful Reading For:
Anyone who wants to be able to develop their ability to communicate powerfully through presentations or writing.

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Telling Tales

Article Overview:
In this interesting article, Martin Shovel compares the value of stories and arguments and explains why he believes both are important for persuasion.

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Article Overview:
In this interesting article, Martin Shovel compares the value of stories and arguments and explains why he believes both are important for persuasion.

Opening Words:
Can the use of a story in a serious presentation ever be justified as anything more than ornamental – a sprinkle of sugar to help the pill go down?

We’re brought up to believe that stories and arguments are two fundamentally different ways of thinking and making sense of the world. On the one hand, small children are soothed to sleep with bedtime stories, not arguments. On the other, a board of directors is persuaded to adopt a new strategic objective by a series of rigorous arguments, not stories.

Of course, stories and arguments are different forms of discourse, but experiencing them in action recently at a conference for senior health service managers convinced me that both have a critical role to play in high-level thinking and communication.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone who wants to develop their influence and persuasion skills, and particularly those interested in making their presentations more impactful.

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Video Killed the Radio Star - Or Did It?

Article Overview:
In this article, Jackie Jarvis considers the impact of the internet on the traditional sales role. She argues that just as video didn't replace the radio star, there is still very much a need for personal contact in the sales process. But she does explain why sales people need to adapt to ensure their survival in a changing world.

About

Article Overview:
In this article, Jackie Jarvis considers the impact of the internet on the traditional sales role. She argues that just as video didn't replace the radio star, there is still very much a need for personal contact in the sales process. But she does explain why sales people need to adapt to ensure their survival in a changing world.

Opening Words:
In the 1980's we believed that the radio would fall by the way-side as emerging video technology opened our eyes to new forms of entertainment. In the 1990's the debate concerned the redundancy of paper when the Internet allowed documents to be viewed online and transported from one side of the world to the other with one click. Now, in the new Millennium, the latest debate is nearing its final stages: e-business versus people-business.

But video did not kill the radio star. Instead, radio producers had to adapt what they offered; and find out what it was that they did best. Radio didn't die; it transformed.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone involved in sales.

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Word Power

Article Overview:
In this article, Martin Shovel looks at the power of Words and how they can influence, using examples from a recent speech by Barack Obama to illustrate his point.

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Article Overview:
In this article, Martin Shovel looks at the power of Words and how they can influence, using examples from a recent speech by Barack Obama to illustrate his point.

Opening Words:
"Words are sparks of light that create an illuminated space inside our heads we call ‘consciousness’. They make it possible for us to move beyond simply experiencing things, to consciously thinking about them and then being able to share our thoughts about them with others, if we want to.

But words also wield their power in the darkness too. In the shadows, beyond the light of conscious awareness, they are able to influence us without our knowing what they are getting up to."

Useful Reading For:
Anyone interested in delivering a message persuasively and/or developing their presentation skills further.

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Words That Catch Fire

Article Overview:
In another fascinating article, Martin Shovel considers the importance of imagery in language, using Martin Luther King's famous 'I have a dream' speech' to illustrate his point.

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Article Overview:
In another fascinating article, Martin Shovel considers the importance of imagery in language, using Martin Luther King's famous 'I have a dream' speech' to illustrate his point.

Opening Words:
The words of a skilled speaker or writer create light in the minds of others. We instantly ‘see’ what they mean, we are enlightened. Their words grab our attention by stimulating our imaginations and touching our hearts. How is it that some people can do this while others leave us stumbling about in the dark wondering what they’re talking about?

The other day I listened to Martin Luther King’s famous ‘I have a dream’ speech and immediately fell under its spell. His language is full of imagery. His words spring into life as a series of tableaux that tell a compelling story about the African-Americans’ struggle for social equality. It’s clear that King recognises the persuasive power of imagery.

Useful Reading For:
Everyone.

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