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Use winning words to get what you want

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in Workplace Communication

Why do some people always seem to be successful at getting what they want? It’s their use of the power of persuasion, says Laurie Puhn (, author of Instant Persuasion.

For example, she says, you can use “winning words” in these situations to get what you really want:

To the office-supply store clerk:

Foot-in-mouth comment: “This item is damaged, and it’s the last one. Oh, well, it’s only a nick.”

Persuasive speak: “Excuse me, this item is damaged, and I was told it’s the last one. How much of a discount can you give me if I purchase it?”

Persuasive follow-up: “A 10% discount? Can you do any better? Is there a manager or someone I can speak to about this?”

On a business trip, at a hotel:

Foot-in-mouth comment: “The bill is wrong. When I made the reservation the person told me that the garage parking was included in the daily rate.”

Persuasive speak: “You’ve charged me for the garage in error. Susan Smith in reservations said it was included in the room rate. I have a copy of an e-mail from Susan to validate my claim.”

To the potential vendor:

Foot-in-mouth comment: “Is that your final price? Well, it’s just too much. Thanks anyway.”

Persuasive speak: “Look, I want to hire you for the job, but I have another estimate that’s $100 less. If you can beat that price, you’ve got the job.”

In a restaurant, to the maitre d’:

Foot-in-mouth comment: “Are we allowed to sit at that table for four even though we’re only two people?”

Persuasive speak: “We’d like to sit away from the kitchen entrance. Will you please let the waiter know?”

In a movie theater:

Foot-in-mouth comment: “Darn. There are no two seats together. I wish we had come earlier.”

Persuasive speak: “Excuse me. There’s an empty seat to your right. Would you mind moving down one seat so that my wife and I could sit together? I'd really appreciate it."

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