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The One Sentence Persuasion Course

Book notes for “The One Sentence Persuasion Course”, 27 Words to Make the World Do Your Bidding by Blair Warren

Last annotated on January 14, 2017

You will have discovered that the most magical things in life, on and off the stage, are often the result of the correct application of the most basic principles imaginable. location 73

People will do anything for those who encourage their dreams, justify their failures, allay their fears, confirm their suspicions, and help them throw rocks at their enemies. location 94

this is the sentence

these are not the most important because they are comprehensive. They’re not. They are not the most important because they’ve been scientifically proven. They haven’t. And they’re not the most important because they’re based on the latest persuasion technology. They’re not. They are the most important because they are simple, they are immediately useful and they can be frighteningly powerful. location 99

try to find a truly successful ad campaign that does not use 1 or more of these 5 insights. Really. Try to find one. Then, when you give up on that, try to find a deep satisfying relationship that isn’t built upon one or more of these ideas. Just try to find people who have a remarkable chemistry, yet fail to encourage each other’s dreams. Or who demand that the other is to blame. Or fail to address each other’s concerns. Or treat each other as paranoid. Or leave each other to fight their own battles. location 106

While millions cheer Dr. Phil as he tells people to accept responsibility for their mistakes, millions more are looking for someone to take the responsibility off their shoulders, to tell them that they are not responsible for their lot in life. And while accepting responsibility is essential for gaining control of ones own life, assuring others they are not responsible is essential for gaining influence over theirs. One need look no further than politics to see this powerful game played at its best. location 124

We “tell” them not to be afraid and expect that to do the trick. Does it work? Hardly. And yet, we don’t seem to notice. We go on as if we’d solved the problem and the person before us fades further, and further, away. But there are those who do realize this and pay special attention to our fears. They do not tell us not to be afraid. Instead, they work with us until our fear subsides. They present evidence, they offer support, they tell us stories, but they do not tell us how to feel and expect us to feel that way. When you are afraid, which type of person do you prefer to be with? location 129

It is a simple thing to confirm the suspicions of those who are desperate to believe them. location 137

The thing they are struggling with is their enemy. Whether it is another individual, a group, an illness, a setback, a rival philosophy or religion, or what have you, when one is engaged in a struggle, one is looking for others to join him. Those who do become more than friends; they become partners. location 142

People write books about how to frame your ideas, how to present your self, how to put your best foot forward. And yet, all that people really care about is themselves. Can you imagine how much energy you will free up if you stop focusing on yourself and put your attention on other people? Can you even imagine how much more charismatic you will become when you come to be seen as one who can fulfill some of these most basic emotional needs? location 151

Then notice what else our sentence doesn’t say. It does not say people will do anything for those who educate them, do what’s best for them, or even treat them fairly. It does not say people will do anything for those who are eloquent, well dressed, and pleasant. Nor those who make the best case for their proposals, who are reasonable and who come across as intelligent. When we focus on these basic principles of human nature, these things become negligible. When we focus on these basic principles of human nature, we create relationships in which people naturally want to do things for us. location 160

The first commercial, for an antidepressant medication, starts out with something like, “Feeling depressed lately? It may be the result of a chemical imbalance in your brain.” The second commercial, one for a weight loss product, starts out like this, “If you’ve tried to lose that extra weight and have failed, it may not be your fault. It may be your metabolism.” Can you see their use of the scapegoat principle? If you’re depressed, it may not be your fault. It might simply be a biological factor beyond your control. And if you’re overweight and have failed to slim down, it might not be your fault, but simply a problem with your metabolism! location 231

A friend of mine who is a landscaper once told me that when he first meets potential clients they are often embarrassed by the condition of their property. When he senses this, he immediately points out how many of the problems with their property are due to such things as drought conditions, bad soil conditions and the like. In other words, the condition of their property doesn’t say anything negative about the potential client. It isn’t their fault! location 239

As powerful as the two-word strategy “validate and fascinate” is, the next strategy is even more powerful. But in a negative way. This two-word strategy is: Correct and convince. This strategy is so common, so entrenched, and so widespread, that we don’t even tend to recognize it. Yet, it is all around us, all the time. And worse. It is often coming out of us all the time as well. location 341

Despite what we’ve been taught, fascinating others is one of the easiest things in the world, if you do it within a context of validation. Thus, the strategy “validate and fascinate.” In that order. Now compare this with the correct-and-convince strategy. Within a context of correction, nothing we say will be very convincing. location 348

if we can’t encourage a specific dream a person may have, we can certainly acknowledge the importance of having such dreams, and then attempt to move them in a more positive direction. If we can’t justify their failures, we can at least acknowledge that there are many contributing factors to any situation and then suggest that, right or wrong, sometimes the most effective way to get out of a situation is to act as if one is completely responsible for it. If we can’t allay their fears, we can at least assure them that it is okay to be afraid. To tell someone who is already afraid that they shouldn’t be afraid only compounds the problem. If we can’t confirm their suspicions, we can at least acknowledge the possibility of their suspicions being correct and let them know that we understand how they could have come to such a conclusion. Even if we don’t share that conclusion ourselves. If we can’t help them throw rocks at their enemies, we can at least acknowledge the universal desire to seek revenge before we try to talk them out of it. location 360

Perhaps the greatest irony of all when it comes to validating these needs is that when we are allowed to have these needs and even indulge them, we often don’t. The very fact that it is okay for us to feel a certain way encourages us to stop fighting to maintain and justify our feeling that way. When we’re told it is okay to dream, we tend to be more flexible with our dreams. When we’re told we’re not responsible for something, we often find that we’re more open to accepting responsibility for it. When we’re told that it’s okay to be afraid, we often feel less afraid. When we’re told that we’re probably justified in being suspicious, we tend to become less so. And when we’re allowed to throw rocks at our enemies, we often tire of it very, very quickly. location 369