I earn my living as a professional persuader. I am what some people call a hired gun. I sell my talents to corporations, governments, and individuals who need help to persuade, sell, or negotiate.
I love it. The bigger the challenge, the more the adrenaline runs. Along the way, I've negotiated on billion-dollar deals, aided the launch of some of the world's best products, and even helped politicians win elections.
“Speech is power: speech is to persuade, to convert, to compel.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
It's much easier when your clients include companies such as Toyota, BMW, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Unilever. These companies appreciate what it takes to win the battle for hearts and minds against formidable competitors.
Nevertheless, I never cease to be amazed at how few people understand the art of persuasion. A large group of people – 25 percent, pollsters tell us – believe that persuasion is sorcery, a mysterious black art practiced by wizards who masquerade as politicians, advertisers, and spin doctors.
Vance Packard popularised the notion in his 1957 best-selling book The Hidden Persuaders. “Many of us are being influenced and