Author Q&A

Interview with Author Russell H. Granger

Q: Why a book on persuasion – how will readers benefit from this book?
A: Success, in business, in life requires getting YES decisions and actions from others. And we’ve been going about that process wrong for 2,500 years. One new blockbuster scientific discovery will help you get the decisions and actions you want.

Everybody knows the best way to persuade people is to use good logic and reason right? Wrong! The exciting discovery distilled from cutting edge live brain imaging is spellbinding, yet deceptively simple. The documented summary from this new science is fascinating: That summary is quoted from the book and PBS series The Secret Life of the Brain

“We are not thinking machines, we are feeling machines that think.”

Readers will learn how to easily, quickly get YES! decisions and actions from others.

Q: You mention that Persuasion the world’s oldest, most researched skill – Why?
A: Because it is the world’s most important skill. The most successful people are those who get things done with and through others, Persuaders rule! They always have, always will. They motivate change, build empires, revitalize corporations. Your success hinges on your power to persuade.

Q: There have been many books written about persuasion – what’s different about The 7 Triggers to Yes?
A: The book is based on newly documented scientific fact, not centuries old fiction. It’s about new, cutting edge brain science. We share the new science, and how it works. And then we do something no other books do – we provide a powerful yet simple process all can follow to persuade “YES!” decisions from others. As one psychoanalyst states, “Granger gives the complex art of persuasion the ease of paint-by-numbers clarity and a process for success.”

Q: How long have we studied this critical skill?
A: As mentioned, amazingly, for 2,500 years. When the early Greeks came up with their strange new concept of government, they learned that democracy worked best with persuasion, not with the club or the sword. In the 4th century BCE Aristotle wrote 3 volumes about persuasion. We’ve been at it ever since.

Q: What did Aristotle tell us?
A: He said that it is a human failing that we are sometimes more persuaded by emotion than by logic and reason. He stated that logic, reason and cognitive thought are the best routes to persuasion. We, all the researchers and psychologists, followed that line for 2500 years. But he was wrong. Flat out wrong! Yet that’s what we believed until today.

Q: What is persuasion, can you define it?
A: Persuasion is a powerful process for gaining agreement – for getting the decisions and actions we want. Harvard Business Review defines persuasion as “The language of business leadership.” Jay Conger, Director of The Leadership Institute at USC adds ”Persuasion is an effective process for leading your colleagues to a shared solution. Persuasion is a process for partnering with people to reach mutual goals and benefits. It’s getting someone to do something she wouldn’t do if you didn’t ask.

Q: Aren’t there other ways to get people to do what we want?
A: Sure – there are primarily three ways to get people to decide and act – We can use:

* Force
* Negotiation
* Persuasion

Force may produce action, but not willing compliance
Negotiation is a process where two people often get what neither wants. It takes training, skill and time

Persuasion is the best way to get full agreement, compliance, decisions and desired action.

Q: So what’s the breakthrough – what do we know now that we haven’t known for the last 2,500 years?
A: For two and a half centuries the curtain remained closed to the realities of brain function. The best we could do was observe actions and guess what motivated them. This backward approach produced wrong answers. The brain remained mysterious, closely guarding it’s secrets.

For the first time we can see, live, in real time, the blood, oxygen and neuron flows in the brain. We can watch elements of the brain light up as they are brought into play. We can introduce a decision request and actually watch the brain’s decision making process. Till now, we had the process all wrong.

We were told that good logic and reason should be the route to persuasion. We have today created a scientific, philosophical and psychological breakthrough that will forever change our approach to leadership, management, and selling. Understanding how the other guy’s brain works, we can for the first time we know how to effectively influence “Yes!” decisions.

Q: Well, all this is OK, but why bother to learn how our brains process information?
A: That’s easy – we can effectively influence other’s decisions ONLY when we learn how their brains process decision making information. The more we know about the brain, the easier it is to influence the decisions we seek.

Q: So what useful information have we learned?
A: For 2500 years we thought the higher forms of mental activity like rationality, cognitive evaluation, decision making and actions were based on logic and reason. Even the scientific community believed emotion plays havoc on rationality. We had it all backward!

With real time live brain imaging we learned that we use the emotional parts of the brain to make what we always thought were rational decisions.

Emotions not only guide our decisions, without the emotional input we are totally unable to make decisions – this is earth shattering knowledge! Logic and reason have their place, but not the place we once thought.

Q: OK, but how does this affect our ability to influence others?
A: From birth we each build an emotion based database of past experiences and actions. From this emotional database we create our own internal navigation system. This navigation system triggers immediate, automatic decisions that are right for us.

Q: Is there really a brain element that triggers these emotional automatic responses?
A: Surprisingly, yes! Science has located the brain’s emotional trigger point – a small almond shaped structure called the amygdala. (A-Mig-da-la)

Activate the amygdala’s triggers, and you get the decision you seek. The emotion based request for a decision triggers a sub-conscious emotional memory, and you get a quick, automatic “gut feeling” for the right way to go. Make a request based on logic and reason, and the amygdala sends the info to the cerebral cortex for lengthy. Literally painful cognitive evaluation – decision delayed!

Q: So what is a trigger?
A: A trigger is a decision shortcut your persuasion partner employs to avoid the time and pain of laborious analytical evaluation.

Q: Why do we need these internal navigation aids – our triggers?
A: The need for decisions never stops – we are bombarded every hour of every day with decision requests. If we had to analytically evaluate each decision need, we’d be paralyzed – we’d go nuts. Our triggers help us make quick automatic decisions that are right for us.

Q: Well, how do we benefit from the 7 Triggers?
A: Remember that the triggers lie within the other person. We are not applying triggers, we are going to activate the other person’s triggers. We evaluate each of the 7 triggers, then determine which triggers are most likely to activate the other person’s decision process. We then help the other person make the right decision by activating his most applicable triggers.

Q: Can you give an example of activating another person’s trigger?
A: Here’s a personal application of the friendship trigger – the trigger that supports every other trigger. The friendship trigger has been built into our emotional system since birth – we bond with and trust those who care for us. We are more easily persuaded by those we believe to be like us, friends. To activate the friendship trigger, we need to find common interests. Friendship generates trust and trust activates a powerful internal trigger.

I needed an operation, and wanted the best doctor in the world to do it. He was extremely selective re whom he would operate on and I was not a great candidate. He was a real curmudgeon – difficult to talk to. As Chairman of the College of Physicians and Surgeons, and department chair at one of the world’s top hospitals he was a very busy guy. I was told to make the first meeting quick, business only. I violated everything I was told.

In our first meeting I began with “Doc, what do you do when you are not working so hard?” He gave me a very surprised look, thought for a minute, said “I love blue water sail boat racing.” To my amazement, he ushered me around his desk, and pulled up his yacht club website where his 65 foot ocean racer was featured, along with his racing credits. Now I’m not a sail enthusiast, but I am a boater. We became friends through boating, a shared interest. He agreed to operate on me, and thanks to application of the friendship trigger, I’m alive today.

The friendship trigger makes it easier to activate every other trigger.

Q: What are the other triggers?
A: Well, one really needs to read the book to learn and understand them, but here’s a brief outline.

• The Friendship Trigger
• The Authority Trigger
• The Consistency Trigger
• The Reciprocity Trigger
• The Contrast Trigger
• The Reason Why Trigger
• The Hope Trigger

Q: What else does your book provide?
A: We present a complete process, a simple outline for determining which triggers will work in a specific situation. We then show how to organize a triggers based presentation focused on the emotional elements of the other person’s brain. We provide simple, easy to apply forms and outlines for the entire persuasion process.

Q: Does the process work?
A: It works incredibly well. I have made more money since I understood the triggers than ever in my life – and it’s an exciting way to get full agreement, commitment, decisions and action from others.

Here’s just one fascinating example. Former GE CEO Jack Welch was designated the top business person of the 20th century. He took a stodgy, stagnant company and turned it into a financial juggernaut. – today’s General Electric. Welch persuaded this monumental feat using only one sentence and two of the 7 triggers. He personally visited every GE branch, region, and division office throughout the world. Speaking to workers he never mentioned the data, logic, financial facts, rationale or business complexities for the revitalization of the company. No, he simply activated two triggers in every GE employee stating what became his mantra: “Every GE Unit that is not #1 or #2 in it’s industry will be either fixed, sold or closed.” He activated the hope trigger – every employee hoped to keep his job – and he activated the authority trigger – they knew he was an authority and would follow through. With two triggers and one sentence he persuaded employees to make one of the most amazing corporate turnarounds in history.

Persuaders rule – they always have, they always will. I wish every reader a more powerful, more persuasive, more successful life.