This book surprised me. Most books on persuasion covers the strategies and mindset to be more persuasive. They talk about specific frameworks – win-win, compromise, etc. so that you can look at things from the other person’s perspective. This book echoes the title: it gives you the exact words and scripts to use to be more persuasive.

I like tactical books like this – and maybe it’s because I’m more of a kinaesthetic learner who learns by doing things, and not by watching videos or listening to lectures. Phil gives me exactly what to say, why it works, and sample scripts from real-life scenarios to show readers how they can apply it to their lives.

Here are my favourite phrases from the book and how to use them in your life:

“I’m not sure it’s for you, but”

The phrase to use when you want to introduce something, and you want to increase their interest in a new idea.

“I’m not sure it’s for you but we’re going to dinner at a fusion restaurant on Saturday and you’re welcome to join us”

One of two scenarios will happen after saying this phrase: either the listener asks for more information because they are interested or they say they will give it some thought.

“How open-minded are you”

When introducing a new idea, start with “how open-minded are you…”. Most people say they are open-minded, so naturally, they can’t help but be more receptive to your idea when you ask if they are open-minded.

“Would you be open-minded about giving this project idea a chance?”

“Would you be open-minded about seeing if we could work together?”

“I’m guessing you haven’t got around to”

As a Project Manager, I am regularly following up with my team members to make sure work is getting done. This polite phrase helps let people off the hook. When you use the phrase, either the person is proud they got it done and tells you, or they haven’t and make a new promise to get it done.

“I’m guessing you haven’t got around to completing the technical configuration yet?”

The phrase makes it impossible for them to use the excuse, and encourages action if they haven’t already completed it.

A change in a few words improves the question

At the end of presentations, I dread the question “do you have any questions for me?” Because more often than not, I hear crickets. Or repeated noes.

Instead, Phil suggests a simple change in words to improve the question.

“What questions do you have for me?”

It presumes the audience has questions, and therefore makes it harder for them to say “no questions”.

“I bet you’re a bit like me”

Sometimes, you want to subtly connect with a stranger or an acquaintance. Using this phrase often results in the other person agreeing with you.

“I bet you’re a bit like me: you enjoy working hard now knowing it will pay dividends in the future”

Wow, try to disagree with that.

“Most people”

When people are indecisive, they like to follow the majority. Think about when you are deciding on a restaurant to eat out at. Do you go to the restaurant with more reviews or fewer reviews?

“Most people put in a small order, try it out, and then put in a larger order when they’re confident the product sells”

“Most people work with me on a small pilot since there’s no risk at all for you, only upside”

So if you feel like the other person is indecisive, tell them what the majority have done.