Book Recommendation: The Art of Woo

The Art of Woo: Using Strategic Persuasion to Sell Your Ideas, by G. Richard Shell and Mario Moussa is a great book on a topic that concerns all working professionals: how to sell your ideas to decision makers within your organization. The book illustrates the point that it is not enough to have a great idea that aligns with the company’s interests; it is equally (if not more) important to know how to persuade the decision makers and other stakeholders to buy into the idea and help you to make it successful. I have found the book easy to read and very valuable when I have to pitch my ideas within the organization. Couple of insights that have stayed with me from the book are:

  • Align your idea with the core beliefs of your decision-maker – Sometimes this requires digging deeper to find an underlying core belief that does align with your idea, other times it requires minor tweaks in the idea (or the presentation of it) to do the alignment. This is also expounded by Getting to Yes in a negotiation context, and is a very powerful concept.
  • Uncover shared idea and unmet needs of the shareholder that your idea can address. You need to create personal reason for the stakeholder to say yes to your idea.

This is a highly recommended read if you want to be good at selling ideas within your organization.

<<Excerpt from the book below>>

The book outlines 4 steps to strategic persuasion:

Step 1: Survey your situation

  • Forge and polish your idea
  • Map the decision process you face by understanding the social networks within the organization
  • Assess your persuasion styles
  • Confirm your own level of passion for the proposal

Step 2: Confront the five barriers

  • Negative Relationships
  • Poor credibility
  • Communication mismatches
  • Contrary belief systems
  • Conflicting interests

Step 3: Make your pitch

  • Presenting solid evidence and arguments
  • Using devices to give your idea a personal touch

Step 4: Secure your commitments

  • Deal with the politics at the individual level
  • Deal with the politics within the organization

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