The art of persuasion 2: How to argue

Image of man puzzling over jigsaw pieces
Structure of argument, how to argue

What is an argument?

In the Argument Clinic, a sketch from Monty Python’s Flying Circus, an absurdist comedy series, a man pays for a five-minute argument. The customer goes to a room where a man behind a desk hurls abuse at him. The customer interrupts saying he paid for a five-minute argument, and this is not an argument. The abuse hurler apologizes explaining this is Abuse, Argument is next door. Continue reading “The art of persuasion 2: How to argue”

The art of persuasion 1: Rhetoric

illustration of speaker with masks
Rhetoric: The art of persuasion

George Orwell once wrote that a classical education would be impossible without corporal punishment. Maybe that’s why it isn’t taught in school today.  A classical education was demanding. It included rhetoric: the art of effective speaking and writing.

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Don’t write your business book—plan first

Plan your business book
Don’t let your book get away from you. Plan first, write later

“Any organization that won’t take the trouble to be both clear and personal in its writing will lose friends, customers, and money.”

— William Zinsser, in his 30th anniversary classic, On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction

Continue reading “Don’t write your business book—plan first”

Pre-Suasion by Robert Cialdini

Cover of Pre-Suasion
by Robert Cialdini

Reviewed by Christopher Richards

A dangerous book

Which messages cause people to comply? Robert Cialdini’s new book addresses this question. Pre-Suasion is a revolutionary way to influence and persuade. Pre-suasion operates by creating favorable conditions a few moments before trying to influence. This is a powerful book, and not without its ethical concerns. Continue reading “Pre-Suasion by Robert Cialdini”

Perfectionism will kill your writing

Image of snooty man
Perfectionism isn’t excellence, diligence, or accuracy. Neither is it tenaciously doing the best you can. Perfectionism is intolerance of a necessary learning process.

Think about how an infant  learns to walk. He doesn’t give up the first time he falls down. He doesn’t think to himself, “This walking stuff is not for me. I’m no good at it. I’ll crawl through life.” Continue reading “Perfectionism will kill your writing”

The Master Communicator’s Handbook

The Master Communicator’s Handbook by Teresa Erickson and Tim Ward
The Master Communicator’s Handbook by Teresa Erickson and Tim Ward

Reviewed by Christopher Richards

Your message won’t speak for itself

Whether you’re speaking to a child about putting on her shoes, or you’re head of an organization trying to solve a global problem, you need to understand and be understood. Continue reading “The Master Communicator’s Handbook”