I recently read the book “Exactly What to Say” by Phil Jones. Here are my

  • main takeaways
  • practical lessons
  • summary

As always, I try to keep this short rather than trying to recount the whole book.

My Rating:

3 Types of "Magic Words"

  1. Attention – Okay, I’m listening …
  2. Interest – Okay, maybe …
  3. Decision – Okay, I’ll do it.

Main Takeaways


1. What do you know about …?

  • Makes people think about the topic
  • If they know something, they will want to show it
  • If not, they will want to learn

2. How open-minded are you to …?

  • Nobody wants to seem close-minded


Move people from “No, thanks.” to “Maybe” and only then to “Yes”.

3. Just imagine …

  • Makes people visualize how good it could be

4. How would you feel if …?

  • Add the major benefit(s) of your idea/product

Buy the book on Amazon or – if you prefer listening –

get the audiobook.


Be a “decision catalyst”

5. The way I see it, you/we have three options …

The ‘rhythm of three’ makes for easy listening for the other person.

  • Troublesome status quo
  • Laborious alternative
  • The option you want them to pick –> path of least resistance

Practical Lessons

  1. Practical phrases to help convince people of your idea.
  2. Easy to implement
  3. Very practical whenever you want – or need – to convince somebody of something.


“Exactly What to Say” is a short and accessible book. While it gives you a few standard phrases to work with, you should not necessarily stick to them verbatim. Once you have internalized the ideas behind the words, you can easily use things like “how would you feel if” instead of “just imagine”.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by how easily these principles can be adopted and applied in real life.

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