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Sunday, November 27, 2011

I is for Influence- The New Science of Persuasion

I is for Influence- The New Science of Persuasion

Benjamin Franklin rightly said- if you must persuade, you must appeal to interest rather than intellect.

In this book, Rob Yeung presents a toolkit to help readers understand the psychology of influence and persuasion. To be able to make requests that the others wouldn’t want to refuse. To use all facilities to our advantage including words, body language and even statistics.

Of course all of us practice these skills unconsciously but is there a proven theory behind these practices that corroborates our self-developed persuasion skills? The book definitely talks about experiments that have been carried on subjects and statistics that definitely points in the direction of cleverly used words and body language to help influence the other party.

The best chapter that I liked is the section on invoking the imagination and telling tales. Why are stories or ads powerful methods of selling or influencing children into doing what is right? Because one is able to vividly imagine or place oneself in that situation and imbibe those values or buy that particular product.

Of all, the chapter on Body Language came as a sort of surprise to me. The theory is that if one wants to influence one must try and imitate the other person subtly. At a higher level, the author talks of finding commonalities that instantly make the other party more receptive towards you- like a shared birthday or being alumni of the same school.

One of the things that parents constantly worry about is the negative influence of peers. Is it possible to stop that? Perhaps there is. The trick is to use cleverly worded sentences. Most of your classmates do not smoke. You are the only one in the class running around and disturbing the others. Everyone is reading this book. Have you?

The book explains how even a subtle change in the way the message is delivered could cause a different reaction from the listener. Either showing a picture that fires the imagination or giving reasoning that attaches validity to the statement.

I recommend this as a must read.

This book moves quickly, given enough stories for one to be interested in it and most importantly is not long, winding or repetitive like most self help books are.

Title- I is for Influence- The New Science of Persuasion

Author- Rob Yeung

Price- Rs 499

Publisher- Panmacmillan

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