Persuasion is at the heart of what PR professionals do.  The key objective of most PR programmes is usually to change the opinions, attitudes, perceptions or the behaviors of stakeholders to what benefits their organizations and that of the society at large. And that means persuasive skills are crucial to success in the field. Therefore, it is important to understand human nature and negotiate a situation from the perspectives of the other person. Here are seven books that can help you immensely:

1.       The Hidden Agenda: A Proven Way to Win Business and Create A Following By Kevin Allen        

This book teaches you how to recognize the role of the decision maker when pitching your ideas or trying to move people from one level of thinking to another. It teaches that in trying to sell your idea, your first business is to discover the needs and agenda of the decision maker, spoken or unspoken before you craft a story or a message around it in a way that connects with his interests and benefits you as well.

2.       Pitch Perfect: How To Say It Right The First Time, Every Time By Bill McGowan

          In this book, Bill McGowan, a media guru and Emmy Award Winning correspondent shares with the world, how to craft the right message and deliver it using the right language, both verbal and non-verbal. It also teaches you how to win your arguments or seal deals, which in PR could mean winning a new account, having the ears of top management or winning a seat at the decision-making roundtable of an organization. It’s a must-read for those who want to avoid communication pitfalls that make persuasion of others very difficult.

3.       Persuasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence And Persuade By Robert Cialdini.

          You can’t get a better book than this. Written by the foremost authority on the science of persuasion, Robert Reno Cialdini, the Regent’s Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University, the book takes you through what separates effective communicators from successful persuaders. It teaches you how to prepare people for a message before they experience it.

4.       The Business of Persuasion: Harold Burson on Public Relations

          This is a book for the Public Relations industry written by the founder of one of the biggest Public Relations firms in the world, Burson Marsteller.

          Here he pours his 70 years old career experience on paper, illuminating on What Public Relations really entails; that is, its challenges, methodologies and impacts. He also shares “defining moments” in his career which can shape any PR professional and steer him or her to only one direction: the top.

5.       Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini

          This book teaches what moves people to change behaviour. Dotted with evidence-based research, it explains how to use six principles of influence to become a skilled persuader, and how to defend yourself against them.

6.       Impulse: Using Scarcity And Urgency To Create Irresistible Offers by Al Rahming.

          Here you’ll learn the universal method for creating impulsive behaviour and get your target audience to fall for your offers, be it an idea, a service or a product. It lets out the secrets of human nature; how we are wired, what drives us the most and how to increase compliance behaviour using scarcity and urgency as baits.

7.       How To Win Friends And Influence People By Dale Carnegie

          Published in 1936, this book remains a classic in persuasion. It offers six ways to make people like you, twelve ways to win people to your way of thinking, nine ways to change people without arousing resentment, and much more. Getting your stakeholders to change their points of view, attitudes or behaviours is not an easy task. You need the right level of persuasion skills to succeed. Reading these books may just be the right place to start.

Posted by Lekan Ojenike