Instant Persuasion

Instant Persuasion 
How to Change Your Words to Change Your Life
by Laurie Puhn 
Tarcher/Penguin, 2005

This communication guide offers 35 rules for mastering the fine art of verbal persuasion. Whatever the social situation, it explains what "communication blunders" to avoid and "communication wonders" to employ.

"The wonders persuade people to like, listen to, cooperate with and respect you so that people will help you get what you want in life," lawyer and professional mediator Laurie Puhn explains.

"After noticing many of the same basic communication mistakes occurring over and over again in mediations, I knew there was a need for people to have better persuasive skills. The specific words people choose to say often have more influence on the outcome of the mediation process than does the content of what is being said."

Viewing the mediation setting as a microcosm for real-world conversations, Puhn developed the 35 rules described and illustrated with anecdotal examples throughout this book, from Rule #1 Punch With a Smile to Rule #35 Pay With Words.

It is surprising how little awareness most folks have of the impact their words have on those around them. Being outspoken and expressing your feelings or opinions can sometimes have a devastating impact on the listener. As Puhn explains in Rule #9 Hold Your Tongue, we should give advice only when asked for it, or after getting permission to give after asking, "Would you like my advice?"

Puhn intersperses her 35 rules with real-world examples, some rather obvious and others genuinely entertertaining and instructive.

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Instant Persuasion

Rule -- Use the Two-Part Apology.
     Communication Blunder: A blunder occurs when you only say "I'm sorry."
     Communication Wonder: Use the two-part apology. First, say, "I'm sorry for [fill in with whatever you did wrong]." Second, say, "In the future I will [fill in with what you will do to prevent yourself from doing it again]."

Rule -- Find Factual Solutions.
     Communication Blunder: It is a blunder to argue about something when there are facts available to resolve the disagreement.
     Communication Wonder: Find factual solutions. When you are in disagreement, ask yourself, "Are we arguing about facts or opinions?" If you conclude that you are arguing over facts, stop arguing and get the facts to resolve the issue.

Rule -- Spread Gossip
     Communication Blunder: It is a blunder to keep compliments about other people to yourself.
     Communication Wonder: When someone tells you something good about a person you know, spread positive gossip by passing on the compliment to that person.

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