I first read about Heinrichs in a Bloomberg Businessweek piece on him. He’s quite a character, with high profile clients like Ogilvy & Mather and the Pentagon. Struck by some of the ideas in there, I decided to pickup Thank You for Arguing.
Compiled into 25 very readable chapters, he persuades the reader by illustrating how to win trust through managing your own volume control for positive affect, verbal jousting and calling fouls, and mastering timing. Sure in the real world this is all going to require a lot of trial and error, and practice in the trenches. But his book serves as a very good guide along the way.
Don’t worry too much about Aristotle, Cicero or the classics you never learned in school. If anything they serve as a colorful highlight to his useful everyday illustrations.
Some examples worth recalling are:
He has one whole chapter on Bushisms, which I found intriguing. He explains that Bush uses code grooming to very strong effect. When speaking to different groups, he emphasizes these code words in his sentences. With women, words like “I understand”, “peace”, “security” and “protecting”. With a military group words such as “never relent”, “we must not waver” and “not on my watch” were common. For religious audiences, “I believe” resonated strongly. He quotes a superb Bushism which in this light suddenly begins to sound powerful:
“I know what I believe. I will continue to articulate what I believe and what I believe–I believe what I believe is right.”
Rhetoric indeed. I’ll be studying this book for months to come!
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