According to Mark Palmer and Scott Solder, authors of You Need This Book to Get What You Want, you and I can get people on our side instantly by applying the skills of effortless persuasion.
The authors are experts in human behaviour and interpersonal dynamics with long experience of helping clients from the worlds of business, media and governments.
While their text is helpful in a business context, it is also a boon for people who want to improve their private lives.
From nailing the jobs we want and getting our partners to give a damn, to obtaining the pay rises we deserve or getting the kids dressed and ready for school on time, Palmer and Solder say there are plenty of areas where we could all do with a little advice.
The writers' premise is that, to do this, we need to learn psychological techniques which, they swear, really work.
We also have to discard our old approaches to getting what we want, they say.
People don't seem to play by the rules any more - or, rather, they do, but the rules are entirely new. "There's a new world order," they say. "You need to know what it is but, more importantly, you need to know how to work in it."
Their first step is to give readers new strategies for the way in which they think, starting off by asking us to open ourselves to change and thinking about what we really want to achieve.
Every chapter in the book includes boxes entitled "do this" - containing questions that force us to challenge our thinking and behaviour and then analysing our likely responses.
We are also invited to try out our internal dialogue, adapt to change and think about what, deep down, we are trying to ignore. This is followed by a detailed list of persuasion techniques, ranging from getting connection via non-verbal signals to "making it hard to say no" and deciding when to be oneself, or "human", and when to put up a barrier or "be inhuman".
These, in turn, are applied to situations as diverse as how to get served at a packed bar ("get connection" or "use your celebrity") to getting a promotion or pay rise ("be hugely human when you talk about yourself and why you need it").
They ask readers to practise and master these new techniques until they are as easy as riding a bike or driving a car. Rather than turning us into Machiavellian manipulators, they argue that these skills are more about being influential or persuasive.
"Life is all about getting other people to do things that work for you, and vice versa," they say.
"That's what society's all about ... that's how humans evolved and that's why you're alive today and reading this book. It's just about being successful."
- In today's world, getting what you want means constantly adapting your behaviour to fit each situation
- The words you choose and the way you say them can persuade people without them realising
- To get what you want, you need to work out what the other person wants first
- Everyone likes credit. Give people some - but not too much
- Getting personal or getting impersonal can get you what you want too, depending on the situation
Win a book!
Classified Post has five copies of You Need This Book to Get What You Want by Mark Palmer and Scott Solder to give away. To enter, please share with us an example of how you succeeded in getting what you wanted, and post your answer, with your name, phone number and email address, to:
Classified Post, Win A Book Contest
4/F Morning Post Centre
22 Dai Fat Street
Tai Po Industrial Estate, N.T.
OR fax it to 2660 5378, OR email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, with the subject “Win a Book Contest”.
Deadline: March 26, 2010
Terms and conditions
- The best answers, as judged by the Classified Post editorial team, will receive the prize described above and no correspondence will be entered into.
- Winners will be notified individually by e-mail.