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  • Writer's pictureDavid de Souza

'Exactly What to Say' - 80/20 Summary

Updated: Feb 4, 2022

“The first rule is that you can't really know anything if you just remember isolated facts and try and bang 'em back. If the facts don't hang together on a latticework of theory, you don't have them in a usable form.” -Charlie Munger

8 Mental Models from the book:

1. Algorithms

  • When you make conditional (if/then) statements they are believed because of the speech patterns and habits that we have grown up with. For example:

    1. "If you give me a chance in this role, then I am confident you won't be disappointed."

    2. "If you decide to give this a try, then I'm sure you won't be disappointed".

  • Another example of a conditional statement is: "If I can....will you?" For Example: "If I match the price for you, then would you be happy to place the order with me today?"

2. Choice Architecture

  • Guide a person, telling them what is going to happen during the process and end with a question. For example: "What happens next is that we are going to take a few moments, complete some of your personal details and get things set up for you to receive everything...what is the best address for you?"

3. Consistency & Commitment Bias

  • Everyone thinks they are open-minded because the opposite is being closed-minded. People's perception of their open-mindedness makes them feel obligated to explore possibilities."It seems like you are giving them a choice, when you are really you are heavily weighting the only option you are giving them. Ask: "How open-minded are you about at least trying it?"

  • "I'm guessing you haven't got around to...." - Either the person responds with pride or they double down on their commitment.

4. Curiosity Instinct

  • "I'm not sure if it's for you but...." - This phrase creates curiosity and intrigue. It causes the listener to feel less pressure, putting them at ease.

  • Asking a direct question can be seen as rude, adding: "Just out of curiosity..." before a direct question, helps to soften it.

5. Emotions

  • People make decisions with their feelings but use logic to justify themselves. Make their decision feel right (and follow up with logic to help them justify their decision). Create a future scenario that allows the person to feel their emotions (either loss or gain), for example: "How would you feel if this decision led to your promotion?"

  • Allow the person's own mind to build your case for you, this is more powerful than anything that you can describe yourself: "Just imagine the impact this could have."

6. Language Instinct

  • 3 is a magic number, it has rhythm and is easy to listen to a list of 3. Leave your desired choice until the end.

7. Resistance

  • Asking: "Can I have your number?" creates an extra step and causes permission-based resistance. Instead ask: "What is the best number to contact you on?"

8. Social Proof

  • People find solace in the fact that others have done something similar and it worked out well for them. Sometimes people need to be told what to do, but it is rude to say: "I think you should do this." The next time you want to say: "I think you should do...." say instead: "Most people would do xyz in this situation".


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