Jim Treliving and Arlene Dickinson have added published author to their lists of career achievements. Harper Collins has published Jim's Decisions: Making the Right Ones, Righting the Wrong Ones (Get it online from Amazon or Indigo) and Arlene's Persuasion: A New Approach to Changing Minds" (Get it online from Amazon or Indigo.

Every week we'll publish an excerpt from one of these books that ties into the lessons from that week's episode. This week we turn to page 157 from Arlene's Persuasion:

"A lot of people approach a pitch as a performance, to be followed by a Q&A session with the audience. But it's not a monologue - or shouldn't be, anyway. If you can turn a pitch into a dialogue, you greatly increase the likelihood of creating the kind of connection that will help you be more persuasive.

"Your goal is to get the other person to speak first. This is not some kind of clever strategic gambit. It's just common sense. You don't want to sit and talk at somebody - but you can't talk to somebody unless you have some idea of what the other person values. So, at the beginning of the pitch I usually say something like "since we're about to talk about something that's hugely important to you, your business, it would be great if we could hear from you first." And then I almost always ask "what does success look like to you?" This is a tough question for many people. It forces you to step back and consider the big picture, and often people start thinking aloud as they puzzle it through. So not only is it a good conversation starter, it also gives you crucial information about what's important to the other party. And this will help you in your pitch to show how what you want dovetails what they want.

"If clients say "no, no, we want to hear from you first," I always look for a way to connect whatever I'm saying back to them, to get input that will help me understand them. What are the hurdles to their success? What are they afraid of: competitors, internal company conflicts, falling sales? What's the thing that they've accomplished that they're most proud of? What type of professional relationship are they looking for with our company? What's been successful - and less than successful - in past relationships? The more you can get them talking, the better you will understand them and the more likely you are to frame your pitch in a way that's relevant to them."

Excerpt from: Persuasion by Arlene Dickinson. Published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. Copyright © 2011 by 761250 Alberta Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

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