Books I Have Read

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Exactly What to Say: The Magic Words for Influence and Impact

Exactly What to Say: The Magic Words for Influence and Impact

This is a short easy to read book written by Phil M Jones . The book is about knowing what to say.

First, you aren't going to learn "magic words" that will let you manipulate people. The words the author goes over will help you work with most of the people, most of the time. The words will not work on all the people all the time. Second, this book isn't about words you can use to take advantage of people. The words will help you to help others make a decision.

The book is formatted in short chapters of 2-3 pages with a word or phrase, a brief explanation of why it's a good idea to use it, and finally followed up with an example. The words may seem simple and obvious, but simple and obvious works! The easiest way to describe this is via an example word.

Have you ever been scared to follow up with someone, because you knew they hadn't done what you wanted them to?

Start the conversation off with:
I'm guessing you haven't got around to... < insert some excuse >

Let's say you were making a call where the other party had to talk to their spouse before making a decision, you would say:

I'm guessing you haven't got around to talking to your spouse.

The other person will be proud they did what they agreed to do "I did talk to them!" or they will make a new promise to speak with them.

What this does is cut them off from making excuses. You have addressed that at the start of the conversation. It also lets the other person save face, because they don't have to make excuses to you why they didn't do something, they either did it or they can offer how they are going to correct the situation. The subsequent conversation you have with the other person will be more direct and more successful.


Read it, it's short. Also I would recommend flipping thru the book and reading random words. Definitely use the words in daily conversation, so you don't even have to think about which words to use.

It helps to make a cheat sheet of the words, with your own notes so you can reference them frequently when conversations are starting to turn south.

As you start using the words, you will notice words that aren't in the book that can really turn conversations around. Write these down, add them to your notes.

Here is an example... "What do you like about it?"

I have done a lot of software demonstrations and this how they usually go...
  • Demo the thing
  • The demoer says "What's wrong with it?" or "What don't you like?" or "What do you want changed?"
  • The awesome demo becomes super negative and the blaming begins. Change the light blue to a slightly lighter blue! If you ask people what is wrong... They are going to find something wrong!
Instead start off with positivity "What do you like about it?" The conversations are much better and more constructive for both sides.


I would highly recommend this book. I use the information I learned from reading this every single day. It has helped me have more constructive and positive conversations. Hopefully it will help you do the same!