Mastering the Art of Influence
For most of the last century, psychologists and researchers have been trying to isolate the characteristics responsible for success in top performers. First, French psychologist Alfred Binet developed one of the first IQ, or intellectual quotient, tests in 1905. Then Daniel Goleman chimed in with his seminal work on emotional intelligence, or EQ as it has come to be known, which documents people’s ability to perceive, assess and manage their own emotions as well as those of others. Enter Kurt Mortensen with Persuasion IQ: The 10 Skills You Need To Get Exactly What You Want, a book advancing his theory on the behavioral competencies associated with persuasion and influence.
Mortensen, the founder of the Persuasion Institute and one of the foremost authorities on persuasion, motivation and influence, writes, “My studies show that those who enjoy greater happiness and wealth in life possess a high ability to persuade, influence, sell, negotiate, motivate, lead, and understand human nature.”
He adds that the reader who takes his analysis to heart and works diligently at mastering the skills contained in Persuasion IQ will earn the respect of others.
Revealing the Competencies
Mortensen’s book should scratch sales and marketing professionals where they itch. Don’t be deceived however; the real audience extends far beyond these disciplines. Persuasion IQ can be valuable for anybody who wants to get what he or she wants in terms of personal development, professional achievements, financial goals or enhanced relationships. But despite the selfish connotation contained in the subtitle of his book, Mortensen takes pains to avoid feeding the greed machine. Instead, he dismantles traditional high-pressure sales techniques and offers in their place a more thoughtful and holistic approach that focuses on understanding others, building relationships and enhancing listening skills.
Mortensen takes his readers on an unparalleled journey of self-discovery. Although the landscape may appear at times familiar, he draws upon his 17 years of research in personal development and motivational psychology to enable the reader to see it, to understand it and, ultimately, to know it for the first time.
After detailing the top obstacles that derail many efforts to sell or influence, Mortensen delves into the DNA of top persuaders, including, among other traits, the tools that enable them to understand and to read an audience, to build rapport, to elevate trust, to command attention with power and authority and to improve presentation skills.
Each of the key PQ components includes a discussion of attributes that the reader can use to hone persuasion skills. These include the five C’s of trust: character, competence, confidence, credibility and congruence; techniques such as mirroring and nonverbal persuasion; and rewards that include increased sales, more fruitful negotiations, higher incomes and happier relationships.
A Complete Toolkit
In delivering his message, Mortensen sidesteps the trap of moral, psychological or intellectual elitism, preferring to adopt a conversational tone that immediately connects with the reader and makes the book a friendly companion and trusted resource. He peppers his discourse with liberal doses of anecdotes, cartoons, quotes and graphics that make his prose leap off the page.
For instance, Mortensen leans on radio humorist and author Garrison Keillor’s “Lake Wobegon Effect” to describe “cognitive bias,” the tendency on the part of most people to see themselves as better than average. In his book Lake Wobegon Days, Keillor depicts a town where “all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.”
It might seem nice to view the world through rose-colored glasses for a while, but in the end, Mortensen believes, that is a recipe for disaster. “The Wobegon Effect ultimately provides a false sense of security,” Mortensen explains. “When afflicted by it, we become numb to reality and fail to see exactly where we stand and what we need to improve. This tendency can lower our expectations about ourselves and falsely improve our confidence.”
With expert advice and analysis, Mortensen helps readers cultivate the essential habits, traits and behaviors needed to expand their spheres of influence.