Exactly What to Say: The Magic Words for Influence and Impact By Phil M Jones Book Summary

Today we will discuss the book, Exactly What to Say: The Magic Words for Influence and Impact by Phil M Jones, a rapid read of 150 pages. But in this book, 22 such magic words were told, which we can make a powerful impact in daily life by doing it with people, and you can turn the situation in your favor.

Since Dale Carnegie’s perennial classic “How to Win Friends and Influence People” was published almost a century ago, numerous books have tried delving deeper into the matter, uncovering (and sharing with the world) so many tips and tricks on how to influence others.

Exactly What to Say: The Magic Words for Influence and Impact By Phil M Jones Book Summary

Among them, Robert Cialdini’s Influence is the most celebrated one. However, Kurt Mortensen’s Maximum Influence and McKintosh & Luecke’s Increase Your Influence at Work have also had their fair share of admirers. Much more practical, Exactly What to Say is another book that falls in this category, and it’s worth every penny, Phil M. Jones writes.

He said, “The worst time to think about the thing you are going to say is in the moment you are saying it.” And he makes things clear straight away: “This book prepares you for nearly every known eventuality and provides you with a fair advantage in almost every conversation.” How is that possible? Through the power of magic words! Need to know what they are? Here’s a definition taken straight from the book: Magic Words are sets of words that talk directly to the subconscious brain.

The subconscious brain is a powerful tool in decision-making because it is preprogrammed through conditioning to make decisions without overanalyzing them. It works a little like a computer; it has only ‘yes,’ and ‘no’ outputs and can never land on a ‘maybe.’ However, it is strong and decisive and moves quickly (Exactly What To Say).

So this is a list of 22 magic words we will discuss in detail.

1. I’m not sure if it’s for you, but…

2. Open-minded

3. What do you know?

4. How would you feel if…

5. Just imagine…

6. When would be a good time?

7. I’m guessing you haven’t got around to…

8. Simple swaps

9. You have three options…

10. There are two types of people in this world…

11. I bet you’re a bit like me…

12. If you… then…

13. Don’t worry…

14. Most people…

15. The excellent news…

16. What happens next…

17. What makes you say that?

18. Before you make up your mind.

19. If I can… will you?

20. Enough

21. Could you do me a small favor?

22. Just out of curiosity

Let us understand all these in detail.

I’m not sure if it’s for you, but…

It is the best way to introduce any idea to anyone. Why? Because, subconsciously, the listener translates it to “There’s no pressure here… Why don’t you have a look at this?


• I’m not sure if it’s for you, but this option is available for this week only, and I would hate for you to miss out (Exactly What To Say).

• I’m not sure if it’s for you, but we have plans on Sunday, and if you’d like, you’re welcome to join us (Exactly What To Say).


Your subconscious works only along the lines of a “yes” and “no,” and since there’s no “maybe,” if you ask a group of 1,000 people whether they consider themselves open-minded, at least 90% of them would answer in the affirmative. Why? Because the alternative, “closed-minded,” sounds very, very bad. Use this to your benefit; if you start a sentence with “how open-minded,” you’re shifting the odds of your listener agreeing with you from 50/50 to 90/10 (Exactly What To Say).


• How open-minded would you be about trying this as an alternative?

• Would you be open-minded about seeing if we could work together?

What do you know?

The best way to overcome the “I know best” mentality of many people is to question the knowledge on which the other person’s opinion was founded.

Some people want to argue with you and the conversation quickly becomes a debate. To overcome this kind of conflict, don’t aim at winning the argument. Instead, you must question the knowledge on which the other person’s opinion was founded. It’s exactly what to say.


• What do you know about everything that has changed since (insert event)?

• What do you know about how things work here?

How would you feel if?

We know that people work a lot harder to avoid potential losses than to achieve a potential gain; simply put, nothing motivates us more than losing what we already own. To overcome this obstacle, or even better, to use it to your benefit, paint for your listener a future scenario so that you can trigger in him the proper emotions.


• How would you feel if your competition passed you? (The “loss aversion” trigger)

• How would you feel if this decision led to your promotion? (The “if-success” trigger; “loss aversion” in absentia)


For better or worse, we are storytelling chimpanzees; consequently, storytelling will always have the power to inspire, influence, and persuade. Why? Because it creates pictures in the minds of others and because we are wired to sit back and enjoy the view in such situations. When you were a child, the magic words were “Once upon a time,” and the adult formula was “Just imagine.”

There’s a reason that stories are about as old as humans. As a species, we are hardwired for narrative: stories help us understand the world around us, empathize with others, analyze the past, and make decisions for the future. Think back to the last time you accepted a new job, moved into a new house or apartment, or decided to change your life radically. If you’re anything like me, you spent much time imagining what your life would be like before you took action (Exactly What To Say).

Invoking their imagination can be a powerful trigger when you want someone to decide in your favor, whether purchasing a product, collaborating with you, or agreeing with your point of view. By asking a person to imagine what success looks like, you can encourage them to enter an imaginative state. As Jones argues, “when you hear the words, “Just imagine,” the subconscious brain kicks a switch and opens up the image viewer, and it cannot help but picture the very scenario you are creating.”

Try this out at your next meeting (Exactly What To Say). When you’re hoping to get a decision in your favor, use the sentence: “Just imagine [Fill in the blanks of what success will look like].”


• imagine how things will be in six months once you have implemented this.

• imagine the look on your kids’ faces when they see you achieve this.

When would be a good time?

One of the biggest challenges of the 21st century is finding the time, you for the others, the others for you. First, however, you need to inspire someone to make room in his life for your ideas to sell your opinion, will you? An excellent way to do this is by asking, “when would be a good time?” This magic expression implies that there must be some good time and incites the listener to tell you when that time will be (Exactly What To Say).


• When would be a good time for you to look at this?

• When would be a good time to get started?

I’m guessing you haven’t gotten around to

This has happened to everyone at least once: someone promises they will do something, yet they have yet to after a certain period. You know full well that you may ruin things if you’re aggressive, yet you want to give the person of interest a nudge. How should you do it? By pushing for the adverse scenario! It’s the other person’s turn to fix it.


• I’m guessing you haven’t looked over the documents yet?

• I’m guessing you haven’t got around to making a decision yet?

Simple swaps

Changing one or two words can make all the difference. For example, swapping the slogan “I’m blind: would you give me some money?” with “It’s a sunny day, but I can’t see it” has yielded more than positive results. You do the same (Exactly What To Say).

For example, instead of asking your audience, “Do you have any questions?” ask them, “What questions do you have for me?” That way, you’re in control.

You have three options

When it comes to decision-making, we are notoriously susceptible to being fooled by our emotions and reason. Also, we tend to suffer from analysis paralysis when we have to choose from several options. An excellent way to take control over situations such as these is by offering only three possibilities; afterward, ask the other person, “Of those three options, what’s going to be easier for you?” That’s a magic word combo!

There are two types of people in this world

If you want to prompt a near-instant decision, frame the options within the “two types of people” narrative (Exactly What To Say). “The second someone hears, ‘There are two types of people in this world,'” writes Jones, “the little voice in their head immediately wonders which one they are, and they wait with bated breath to hear the choices.”


• There are two types of people in this world: those who leave their financial success to their employers and those who take full responsibility and build their futures.

• There are two types of people in this world: those who resist change in favor of nostalgia and those who move with the times and create a better future.

I bet you’re a bit like me

You can’t convince strangers to do anything because they are strangers: we are evolutionarily preprogrammed not to trust people who are unlike us. The tweak? Just say, “I bet you’re a bit like me,” whenever you want to furnish a closer connection to the other person (Exactly What To Say).


• I bet you’re a bit like me: you enjoy working hard now, knowing it will pay dividends in the future.

• I bet you’re a bit like me: you’re a busy person constantly juggling to get everything done (Exactly What To Say).

If you then

You remember the “if… then” sandwich from your childhood: “If you don’t tidy your room, then you’re going to be grounded for the weekend.” Or, even more universal: “If you don’t eat all your dinner, then you’re not going to get any dessert.” It worked. Well, now it’s your turn to act like your mother, a bit like her (Exactly What To Say).


• If you decide to give this a try, then I promise you won’t be disappointed.

• If you give me a chance in the role, I am confident you will thank me later.

Don’t worry

What is the best way to deal with a high-stress scenario? First, convince the other person that nothing’s out of order and that you have everything under control. You need no more than two words to do this: “Don’t worry.”

• Don’t worry. You’re bound to be nervous right now.

• Don’t worry. I felt just the way you felt before I started, and look at me now (Exactly What To Say).

Most people

Do you know what most people are afraid of? Being the outcasts, the hermits, the castaways; in a nutshell: being unlike most people. That’s why you can get most people’s attention by simply telling them what you need from them is precisely what most people would do. Most people should follow (Exactly What To Say).


• What most people do is complete the forms with me here today. Then, you receive your welcome pack, and we get you booked for a launch (Exactly What To Say).

• Most people in your circumstances would grab this opportunity with both hands, knowing there is almost no risk.

The good news

This one you know from practically every second film: even if the good news follows after the worst news, they always tend to bring some relief (Exactly What To Say). The formula is even more potent if there is no bad news. Everybody wants positivity in life, and “The good news is…” is the magic word to infuse it!

What happens next

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, conversations may come to a halt due to the indecisiveness of your talking partner. The thing to remember for situations like this is simple: “the easier the question, the easier you gain your decision.”

So, make the next step by saying, “What happens next is we’ll try to fill out your details; Like: In terms of registering your details, what is the best address for you?”

What makes you say that?

Sometimes or often, you’ll face indecisiveness, objections, and protests. “I haven’t got the time now,” “I would, but I don’t have the money,” “I’m pretty sure your idea is great, but I’ve heard many better ideas,” etc. The worst thing you could do in situations like this is to respond with a counterargument; the best is to be inquisitive (Exactly What To Say).


• The customer says, “I need to speak to somebody else before I decide this.” You say, “What makes you say that?”

• The customer says, “Really, I don’t have all the money right now.” You say, “What makes you say that?”

Before you make your mind up

Moving from a “no” to a “yes” is all but impossible; however, moving from a “no” to a “maybe” and from a “maybe” to a “yes” is conceivable. The best way to step in the right direction concerning the first section of this two-part journey is by using the magic word “before you make your mind up.” It inspires the other person to rethink their decision, and, in many cases, they will (Exactly What To Say).


• Look, before you make your mind up, let’s ensure we’ve looked at all the facts (Exactly What To Say).

If I can, will you?

Sometimes, the objections coming from the other side are a list of reasons why the thing you want to do is unlikely to happen. “You have the power in these situations,” says Jones, “to remove the barrier by responding with a powerful question that eliminates the other person’s argument.” And that question is: “If I can… will you?”


• If I can pick you up and drop you off at home, then will you be able to be ready for seven pm?

• If I can match that price, would you happily place the order with me today?


Influencing other people’s decisions makes it easier for them to decide in a way that suits them best.

For example, if you are in a grocery store unable to choose between buying four or eight apples and the seller asks you, “Would six apples be enough for you?” you’ll probably answer “yes” because of the presence of that enough. Suddenly, four apples seem too few (Exactly What To Say).

Could you do me a small favor?

Just like Phil M. Jones, we are also pretty sure that there have been many situations in your life when someone could do just a little something for you and make your life immediately more accessible. Have you ever tried saying to them something like, “perhaps you could do me a small favor?” The worst possible answer to that question is a conditional “yes,” aka “Depends on what it is (Exactly What To Say).”

Keep it simple

Many people have a common urge to dig into the details—especially those who consider themselves experts on a particular topic. The last time I upgraded my mobile phone, I encountered this problem; the salesperson launched right into the phone specs and used many words and terms I didn’t understand. And to be honest, I gave many details that I didn’t care about. I just wanted to ensure that it had enough storage for a bunch of music and could run the apps I use for work without draining the battery (Exactly What To Say).

Keep it simple: what is the outcome you’re trying to solve for? Remember that people make decisions based on feelings, with logic coming second. So keep your answers to questions as high-level as possible, and avoid the temptation to dive deep into the details. Nine times out of ten, your prospect wants to know that you’re presenting a solution to their problem (Exactly What To Say).


When introducing a new idea, start with, ‘How open-minded are you?’ This will naturally attract people toward the things you’d like them to support. Everybody wants to be open-minded. Unfortunately, the preface ‘When would be a good time too?’ prompts the other person to assume there will be a good time, which is not an option (Exactly What To Say). A simple change of wording puts you in control. Swap the phrase, ‘Do you have any questions?’ with the improved, ‘What questions do you have for me?’

By prefacing things with, ‘The good news is,’ you cause people to face forward with optimism and zap any negative energy out of the conversation. In every set of circumstances in which you involve yourself in the decision-making process, you have the power to influence the actions of others (Exactly What To Say).

According to Seth Price, bestselling author of The Road to Recognition, “Exactly What to Say is a masterclass in the art of influence, persuasion and generating top-producing business results,” “a must-read for anyone looking to be more persuasive in their business and personal lives.” He’s right on both accounts: great as an introduction for beginners, excellent as a constant reminder for the experts, Exactly What to Say is the book you’ve been looking for in the case, you know, you don’t know what to say (Exactly What To Say).

Hemant Singh

Hello friends, my name is Hemant Singh. I am the writer and founder of this blog, talking about education, I am a student of BBA. I love learning information related to technology and teaching it to others. Through this website, I share information about News, Educational Post.

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