Wednesday, March 18, 2009

"Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive" by Noah J. Goldstein, Steve J. Martin, and Robert B. Cialdini

This book was recommended by one of my patrons, and with a glowing review - she said she'd started using several of the techniques suggested by the authors and they worked for her. I decided it wouldn't hurt to read this myself; after all, I want to be able to persuade patrons to read a book, checkout a DVD, or even attend one of our programs.

I have to say that while it's well-written with short chapters, it's not exactly anything new. There were several ideas that I was already familiar with, such as using a "genuine" smile rather than one that is forced. Also, be nice when asking for something, along the lines that you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Be personal to be persuasive - write it down, have people identify with you, etc.

Some were things that I hadn't thought of, but that I caught on to right away: use a simple name for your product rather than one that's hard to pronounce or remember, use rhymes to help people remember the product, etc. Not exactly earth-shattering news, but something to think about.

Then there were the things that did surprise me: your name can influence other people as well as yourself. Did you know that there are quite a large number of dentists who are named Dennis? The authors did the research and found that if you name in any way sounds like or has the same first letters as the person you're trying to persuade, there's a better connection between you and that person. It's the same sort of thing with a behavior known as "mirroring". Most people in negotiations actually try to make themselves behave differently than the person across the table from them, believing it gives them more leverage. But the research showed that by mirroring the other person, you actually gain from the behavior - you're seen as more "like me", more trustworthy, etc - even if you aren't any of those things.

Will these tactics work for me personally? I don't really know. I'll certainly keep them in mind, though, the next time I want to be persuasive!

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