Leadership Tactic #45: How to Enchant the Pants Off Someone

A few months ago, I saw one of my favorite types of promotions for new books: An author named Guy Kawasaki was giving away copies of his new book, Enchantment, to bloggers if they agreed to review the book. (My publishing company does something similar with advance reader copies of our books.) I signed up immediately.

The subtitle of Enchantment explains it all: “The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions.” The way Kawasaki talks about it, it truly is an art form. Here are some of my favorite tidbits from the book (all of these are almost quoted word for word):

  • Social scientists have found that the best negotiators spend 40 percent of their preparation time finding shared interests with other people.
  • A car wash offering a loyalty card nearly double customer retention by changing their offer from “Buy eight washes, get one free” to “Buy ten washes, get one free–and we’ll start you off by crediting you for two washes.”
  • A student ran an experiment in which he placed two signs on a trail in the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona to try to see which sign resulted in fewer people pilfering petrified wood. When the sign depicted multiple people picking up the wood, people inferred that this was a common thing to do, and people took 7.92% of the wood. When the sign depicted only a single person picking up wood–an outlier–only 1.67% of the wood was taken.
  • Follow the 10-20-30 rule with PowerPoint presentations: slideshows should have 10 slides, presentations should be 20 minutes, and the font on the slides should be no smaller than 30-point.
  • I love this quote from Ben Goldacre: “The plural of anecdote is not data.” How many times have you heard someone say, “I heard a few people talking about X, and they weren’t happy about it.” Our human reaction is to react to that information as if it’s data, even though it’s completely anecdotal. Sure, 4 people who show up at your fundraising event may not like the ocelot dumplings you served. But what about the other 200 people? Poll them to get real data.
  • Two of my favorite critical factors (out of ten) that Guy listed for when you need to make a critical decision: If no one could see that I was doing this, I would still do it. AND If everyone could see that I was doing this, I would still do it.

I found those insights fascinating; hopefully you will too. In fact, I’d like to give you the opportunity to read the whole book…for free. All you have to do is write in the comments section one of my blog entries that really enchanted you–one that made you think or act or share. You can link to it if you can find it, or you can just describe it. Or you can even just mention a type of entry I write that you always enjoy.

Please comment by this Thursday evening. One comment per person. I’ll randomly choose a winner on Thursday, and then I’ll either send you my copy of the book or I’ll send it to someone who you think would really enjoy it.

10 thoughts on “Leadership Tactic #45: How to Enchant the Pants Off Someone”

  1. Oh this is too easy – I share your blog all the time. My favorite entry was the Angel Baked Cookie contest because one of the people I shared it with won and gave me the cookies 🙂 I guess I could generalize and say that I enjoy how much emphasis you put on reader participation – polls, contests, comments. You once told me your objective was to stimulate conversation. You must be successful because the comments sections are often longer than the blog entry!

    Personally my favorite posts to read are the fake articles because they make me laugh.

    And my favorite to share are your publishing ones (how many writers/publishers/people involved in promoting the written word have I sent in your direction?) because you are so passionate about Blank Slate Press.

    • Thanks Ariel! And yes, my goal is to stimulate conversation. I have a few fake articles in the pipeline–I’ll publish one of them this week.

  2. I’m going to cheat and offer two recurring posts. For fun, the posts surrounding your survival during the water outage of 2011 was hilarious. A wonderfully composed collection of prose.

    For something that is thought provoking, the Management Techniques or Leadership Tactic series tops the list. I realize a lot of these are taken from books such as Dan Pink and the above mentioned book, but they are too often unpracticed in the wild.

    • Thanks, John. Indeed, I borrow a lot of material from Dan Pink, Dan Ariely, and Malcolm Gladwell (and now Guy Kawasaki), mainly because I think their insights are worth repeating. I’m glad you gain value from them.

    • Katie, to be fair, one of my dealbreakers is that women I date need to make their own candles from lard. Call me “old fashioned,” but that’s just how it is where I come from.

      Thanks for thinking of such an old entry! I write so many of these that if I go back 6 months, it’s like someone else has written the blog for me.

  3. The panties poll was informative and entertaining for all – I’m sure it got a LOT of people thinking. 😉

    I always like your man vs. woman style posts – both ones we’ve teamed up on and all the others.

  4. I like Guy Kawasaki, but let’s be honest. The ENTIRE book boils down to the cliff’s notes from the best business books in the last 10 years. He even acknoledges this in the beginning. There is nothing original here. If you have read Good to Great, Influence, Mindset, How to Win Friends and Influence People, etc. then you have heard EVERY idea in this book. If you like reading summaries of great works, then try reading Switch. It has the same feel and an equal number of stolen ideas from the same books.

    • Hal–I think that’s a fair assessment. Although I must say that it was nice to have all those ideas in one place! I haven’t read Switch, but I started Made to Stick and didn’t find it all that useful.


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