Rating: 5 of 5: TMBOA Recommended
Author: Jim Randel
What I like about Jim Randel’s The Skinny On books, is that they are like hiring an excerpt consultant to come and spend a couple of hours teaching from their extensive research and experience, all for the price of a couple of cups of coffee. Written in a power point type fashion with wonderfully simple but effective and well illustrated characters, Randel teaches through fictional case studies. Peppered throughout these studies are the wisdom of experts who have been well researched and quoted by Randel along with an extensive bibliography for those wanting to delve deeper. Usually when I attend a conference or listen to an expert speaker, I consider it well worth my time if I can learn one new factoid or item that I can put into practice. While I have read a number of the references Jim uses in his books, I still found multiple take-aways to use going forward making reading The Skinny On books well worth the time.
In The Skinny On: The Art of Persuasion, Randel uses the example of selling real estate as a way to teach the art of persuasion. However, the ten rules presented apply to all persuasive settings. While one can be successful in the short term with false sincerity, the true key to persuasion is integrity and truly understanding what the motivations of the party you are attempting to persuade. In order to master this skill, one needs to learn to be observant. Randel uses the phrase “Think big ears, big eyes, small mouth” in order to drive home the importance of really “hearing” the other person through all your senses than talking the to death to drive home your point. In fact, Randel warns not to go to far once you’ve already persuaded someone – know when to stop talking. He provides a nice anecdote of a real estate deal almost lost when the persuader didn’t know when to stop.
A few other items he highlights are that people want to be consistent. In other words, it may be easier to have people agree to small incremental items than going for the big sell all at once. Once you have someone agreeing with you, the process to move along the “sale” becomes much easier; for this Randel uses a story where people eventually agreed to have giant signs placed in their yard asking drivers to be careful while driving. Frankly, I found this result fascinating. The discussion on creating a sense of reciprocity was interesting; while I knew of this concept, I think it may be one of the most powerful opportunities in any persuasive undertaking. Finally, being persuasive isn’t about manipulation but truly understanding the motivations of others and aligning yours and their agenda together to achieve a collaborative end result.
Regardless of the methods you use, Randel’s book contains a lot of information packed into a small and engaging package. Perhaps not all ideas will resonate with everyone, but there is so much good content here, everyone will gain a key take-away or two.