Book Review: The Anatomy of Persuasion

By Jake Cornelius Friday, June 26, 2009

Within the last few weeks, several friends and close acquaintances have had the misfortune of losing their jobs. All these guys happen to be in sales: software and automobiles. They are all really great guys and are all very good at making you comfortable with them; regular 'Joe Six-pack' kinda guys. As salesmen though, they came into my thoughts when I saw Norbert Aubuchon's The Anatomy of Persuasion on the library bookshelf. I know that sales is what these guys do, not who they are, but I wondered if their previous successes in all matters might somehow be related to their sales personalities. The Anatomy of Persuasion convinces me that they are, and here's why: These guys are all great communicators!

The Anatomy of Persuasion is a book based on, and used in conjunction with, Aubuchon's 'Anatomy of Persuasion' seminars. It's not gimmicky, though, and it isn't a pitch to get you into the seminars. It easily stands alone and is very useful on its own. Each chapter is concise and offers clear directions on how to be a persuasive person. From the very beginning, Aubuchon stresses that the problem with most great ideas is that they aren't clearly expressed and therefore never get implemented. Of course, the opposite is also true: some clearly lousy ideas do get implemented because someone had the power of persuasion to get it done. This dichotomy demonstrates that it is not necessarily whether something is a good idea or not, but how well it was presented: The persuasion, not the idea, is what matters.

The Anatomy of Persuasion's steps and methods include learning how to critically analyze your proposal or product to better explain it to your audience, be it a customer, your supervisor, or management team. Aubuchon's message is that proper communication is the basis for persuasion and strong knowledge and understanding of your product or proposal is at the root of that communication. It all seems simple when you think about it, but in daily operations we sometimes make things more complicated rather than more clearly defined and thus make our proposals less attractive. Simple, clear communication is the way forward.

My friends are practitioners of the clear and simple approach to communication, and they were successful in their fields, and I have no doubt that they will be employed again very soon. One has been selling Pontiacs since he bought a GTO Judge back in 1986, another started with Adobe in the late '80s. Both have picked up MBAs along the way. They know their stuff and know how to talk about it. That's how they get things done. The Anatomy of Persuasion is a great tool for anyone looking to improve their communication skills and motivate others to follow their desired course of action.

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