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Book preview GRAPHO-PERSUASION: Mastering the Pyramid of Persuasion (Confessions of a Marketing Man)


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A queen has more influence over the king
than the senators because she knows his personality. Therefore, she knows what to say, how to say it, and how to act when she’s persuading him.
This is a pocket bible for the novice, timid and talented professionals, to help them to be more influential using Grapho-Persuasion. It is an innovative method, based on years of research, that blends together techniques from the sciences of graphology and persuasion for greater emotional impact. Know who people truly are, and you can move their heart easily, like a queen.

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Book preview GRAPHO-PERSUASION: Mastering the Pyramid of Persuasion (Confessions of a Marketing Man)

  2. 2. A book is better than an e-book.Get FREE the book Grapho-Persuasionwith The Persuasion Note iii
  3. 3. GRAPHO-PERSUASION Mastering the Pyramid of Persuasion (Confessions of a Marketing Man) A queen has more influence over the king than the senators because she knows his personality. Therefore, she knows what to say, how to say it, and how to act when she’s persuading him. This is a pocket bible for the novice, timid and talented professionals, to help them to be more influential using Grapho-Persuasion. It is an innovative method, based on years of research, that blends together techniques from the sciences of graphology and persuasion for greater emotional impact. Know who people truly are, and you can move their heart easily, like a queen. “I like to know who I am dealing with, and this book helps me to reveal what they are hiding from me. Fascinating!” Geoff Burch, best-selling author and BBC television presenter AMONG THE TIPS REVEALED: > How to understand people’s personalities and use this knowledge to persuade them > Persuasion is seduction: how companies use the same techniques as womanisers to win clients > From Martin Luther King, jr to Naomie Campbell, the secrets to make hypnotic speeches that move an audience > Various tools of persuasion, easy to “carry and deploy” in any situation In this insightful book, originally a letter to his sister, Victor Semo reveals the essential elements to master the art of persuasion. Jargon-free, packed with tried and tested advice, get more in business and your personal life.SELF-HELP/BUSINESS UK £9.99
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  5. 5. DisclaimerT his handbook was originally a personal, handwritten letter and manual to my sister Ghislaine. I wrote the handbook for her in order to help her be more in control ofher environment, and stop being a victim of stress and anxiety. Although now publicly available, it remains, for me, a personal letter.Throughout the text, you will still find mention of “Ghislaine”, “sister”,“brother”, and some personal stories and notes for Ghislaine displayed inthis rounded box: When you read the contents of a rounded box, I am addressing myself toyou. Replace the name “Ghislaine” with your name, and replace the words“sister” and “brother” with‘[my] friend.’ As someone who is taking the timeto read this book, I consider you a friend. Follow this persuasion trickthroughout the book and you will feel that I have written it for you.Please be advised that: • All the techniques and theories presented within the book have been used by men and women throughout history. In academic circles, many are considered unreliable because results of empirical studies conducted to date are inconclusive. Since scientists cannot prove or dis- prove these theories 100%, it is safer to consider them unproven ‘junk science’. My sole contribution as a ‘pracademic’ is to bring the school of persuasion and the school of graphology together. ix
  6. 6. x Disclaimer • All the businesses, places and names mentioned are real unless mentioned. • If you are an expert in persuasion, you might say that more persua- sion techniques could have been included, and I would agree with you. With your experience, whatever your profession, you also know that more does not necessarily mean better and this hand- book does not attempt to be an encyclopaedia. Some techniques are just too complex to put into practice, therefore it is better to present here those that are easy to ‘carry and deploy’. • There may be mistakes, both typographical and in content. You are therefore advised to use the text as a general guide.The purpose of this handbook is to educate and entertain only. • You may not like what you read, especially if you are sceptical by nature and prefer to see before believing. If that is the case, I ask you to be fair; try putting it in to practice first, then feel free to criticise. Criticism and debates are good, I welcome them; they keep you intellectually healthy.
  7. 7. Introduction Objections from the AudienceW henever I do a seminar or talk about Grapho-Persuasion, I usually get these two comments: 1. “Handwriting analysis does not work. It is a quackery”. 2. “People don’t write anymore with a pen and paper, but with a key- board and a computer screen. They handwrite occasionally only to take notes or send greeting cards”.And I always have to answer these two questions: 1. “Does it really work?” 2. “If it works, is it really relevant today? People are more and more online”.My answers to critics, sceptics and other Jeremiahs of this world are alwaysthe same.Answer to Comment / Question 1:“Like any student, do your homework. Try first, then we’ll talk. Here ismy number and email address to send me your feedback”. This is my usualanswer when I don’t have time to expand further. When I can, I explain: Graphology (i.e. handwriting analysis) has been around for almost four 1
  8. 8. 2 Grapho-Persuasionhundred years and the question remains, is it a science, a pseudo-scienceor an art? The science has demonstrated that an individual’s handwritingis unique, like their DNA1. Scientific studies remain unclear as to whetherit is possible to establish a correlation between someone’s personality andhis or her handwriting. Handwriting analysis is a combination of scientificprinciples and the subjective interpretation of the graphologist, who can bevictim of bias. As with any doctor that reads a patient’s X-ray, a handwritinganalysis’s report is only as good as the impartial graphologist who does it. As a pracademic and due to the high risk of bias, I see graphology like adver-tising and marketing: not entirely scientific. During the application of scientificprinciples for a marketing campaign or the handwriting analysis of someone, ata certain point these principles will be subject to the personal interpretations ofthe marketing director, or graphologist. Their interpretations and implementa-tions will determine the success of the campaign, or analysis. Body language is not a science. If you believe that someone’s attitude andfacial expressions gives you more information about what that person is reallythinking, than what he or she is saying, why don’t you believe in graphology? Businessmen and politicians say that you can learn about a person’spersonality and the way they do business by the way they play golf. Sciencecannot prove this myth, but if you are one of those who believes it, whydon’t you believe in graphology? Fingerprint analysis includes a degree of subjectivity, exactly like hand-writing analysis. If you believe in fingerprint analysis, if you acknowledgethat fingerprint analysis confirms your unique identity and does not attemptto predict your future actions, why don’t you believe in graphology? Graphology confirms your unique personality today, not yesterday or to-morrow. It does not predict the future. If you believe that you can influenceand persuade someone that you’ve known for years because you know theirpersonality (e.g. family members or spouse), why don’t you believe that youcan do the same with a stranger, as long as you know his or her personality? Do you believe in behavioural economics? Many persuasion techniques
  9. 9. 3 Introductionused by salespeople and marketers are derived from behavioural economictheories. Do you believe in behavioural psychology? Graphology is a form ofbehavioural psychology theory: Behavioural Economics + Behavioural Psychology = Grapho-PersuasionThink about it for five minutes (and during that time let me get a glass ofwater). Still sceptical? All right, I continue.... Here are few phenomena that science still cannot explain why they work,we just accept them2: 1. Placebo effect: the placebo effect is a persuasion technique usually used by doctors and propagandists (it is not covered in this book). Why does it work? 2. Yawning: Why do we yawn? Why is it contagious? (i.e. when you see someone yawn, you tend to yawn too). 3. Female orgasm: in contrast to the male orgasm, there is no evidence that the female orgasm plays a reproductive role, so why does it exist?Scientists are still debating these questions. If you ask, some will give you anhonest silence as a response. Some will say your question is a floccinaucini-hilipilification, why get a headache in trying to understand all the Whys andHows of the universe. It works, just accept it. Others, the obdurate Jeremi-ahs and pompous scientists, will give you a verbose answer full of scientificjargon that makes their explanation appear very intelligent and thereforeplausible. But if you scratch beneath the surface, you soon realise that it isnonsense. Illusion is the best weapon of marketers, you should never make up yourmind on what you read, hear and see only. As a pracademic, the best adviceI can give you is to be critically open minded. Listen to both sides of theargument, analyse, make your own tests, and finally decide which side youwill join. But if you are like most first year students who believe they knoweverything and anything in life, well, you already know what to do: closethis book and keep following the herd.
  11. 11. The Creation of Grapho-PersuasionP ersuasion, influence, power, political manoeuvres, political philosophy, lobbying, hypnosis, the art of rhetoric, psychology, Cor-porate Social Responsibility (CSR) and ethics: these are some of the fieldsI’ve been analysing as a Marketing Manager and a part-time PhD researchstudent since 2007. The more I researched how corporations influencedgovernments, and the tactics and strategies used by lobbyists to persuadepolicymakers to agree with their clients’ opinions on public issues, the moreinterested I became in finding an answer to the question: How to effectivelyinfluence people? In the 1970s, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) who lobbied forthe environment and more CSR in boardrooms were considered as demagoguesand anarchists by business leaders and policymakers. Yet, by the 1990s, theyhad turned this around, earning the respect of those same people. They hadpersuaded corporations and governments that the concept, People, Planet andProfit, was better than Profit only. How did Greenpeace, Friends of the Earthand Christian Aid, to name just a few, spread their “green” ideology and make itmainstream? It took a few decades, but they succeeded in the end. In 1975, if achief executive stated publicly that the environment was none of his concern, hewas applauded by his peers and the comment would have been largely ignoredby the public. Today, if one dares make this sort of statement in public, theyknow they will be reviled and condemned by both the public and their peers.What a change in just thirty years! 13
  12. 12. 14 The Creation of Grapho-Persuasion To understand how corporations, NGOs and governments influenceeach other, as a pracademic, I needed something more scientific than thetechniques advanced by Dale Carnegie in his classic book How to WinFriends and Influence People. I read all the academic papers and books onpower and influence that I could get my hands on. I studied psychology,Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), body language techniques andthe methods used by experts in the art of seduction and dating, nick-named ‘Pick-Up Artists’, and how they seduced women. I studied thesciences of behavioural economics, irrational behaviours and communi-cation techniques used by lobbyists to persuade government officials. Istudied the methods used by the best sales and marketing people. I readcountless stories of successful businessmen, entrepreneurs, historicalpolitical figures and strategies of warfare. I attended seminars on these topics but by 2009, having read so manybooks and talked to so many experts, these events did not teach me any-thing new. Many times, when listening to the speakers, I felt that I couldwalk on to the stage and finish the presentation myself. One day, at a workshop on Assertiveness and Presentation Skills, I wasstunned to see the speaker take out a book and recite the contents. He thentold us that, for more information, we should go out and buy the bookson a list he was passing around! When you pay to attend a workshop, youexpect to hear something new, to garner something of value to take withyou at the end. You don’t want to see a speaker, who’s been paid £1,000 fora half day workshop, only to watch him stand up in front of you and read abook, especially if he’s not even the author! What surprised me most that day was how many other delegates foundhis presentation new and refreshing. For me, what he was saying was obvi-ous and could be found in books at the library by anyone interested enoughin the subject. As a doctoral student conducting research, I’d done little elsefor the past two years. After that disappointing workshop, I came to the conclusion that there is
  13. 13. 15 Grapho-Persuasionnothing new being shared by all these professional speakers and consultants.It is the same old meal, recycled and put in the microwave. It is presented topeople as a different dish but the food (knowledge) is still the same. Theseconsultants have mastered the art of selling yesterday’s food every day, andmany dare call themselves ‘gurus’. Peter Drucker used to joke that peoplecall them ‘gurus’ because the word ‘charlatan’ is too long! I analysed all the number one bestselling books on my shelves and atthe library, gauging the content and how it was presented, i.e. layout,template, the number of pages, references and the bibliography. Myinstinct was right: in the last twenty years, no new, innovative theoryand no new thinking in business management sciences, public rela-tions, marketing and personal development sciences has contributed to adiscovery on consumer behaviour or business strategy to the extent thatcompanies systematically implement it, or that it is taught in all majoruniversities. Business strategies and tactics used online are not new, theyare adapted from the offline world. A report from sourceforconsulting.comreaffirmed this opinion. According to the report, having something newand distinctive to say remains the biggest challenge of consultants todate and, as a result, the primary difference lies merely in the planningand execution of the consulting services they provide4. There is, it appears, four categories into which authors can be divided.Within the first two lie the true gurus who are making significant contribu-tions to knowledge; the remaining two categories contain the media titledor self-designated gurus who present old, established theories and practicesin a different light. Many times, these are the consultants who write booksjust to establish their reputation as experts in their fields, since writing abook reinforces your credibility. “The secret of good writing is to say an old thing in a new way or to say a new thing in an old way.” (Richard Harding Davis)
  14. 14. 16 The Creation of Grapho-PersuasionCategory 1: Academic research- Category 2: Professionals drawingers building on the work of their upon their years of work experience,peers, developing new theories and developing principles they haveprinciples, then successfully diffus- observed working in all businessing their work to the general public situations (e.g. Jack Trout).(e.g. Robert Cialdini and MichaelPorter).Category 3: The Re-framers. Category 4: The ‘Referenceurs’Authors who re-package and present (re-framing combined withthe work of the first two categories référencement (listing)). Authorsas if it was their own. Their who re-package and present thepackaging looks more attractive, work of those in the first twotheir writing style and presentations categories, focalising on making itare entertaining, and the book more entertaining and interestingpublisher creates promotional hype for the reader. It is often historicalto make the content appear new research and contains numerousand refreshing. references. For example, Robert Greene, co-author of the best- seller, The 48 Laws of Power, is one successful writer in this category. He presents well-established concepts, difficult to prove scientifically they all work in any given situation, in an easily readable fashion. (This book you are reading now falls into this category, with a zest of category 2).
  15. 15. 17Beyond that, no other books or academic papers on the science of persuasionshed any new light, and I saw no sign of upcoming, new and real gurus. The problem was that, like most academics, I had become an expert byhaving read and studied all the books on the subject that were out there.I was now an expert-scientist and I have reached a plateau in the learningcurve. I was a Master in the Science of Persuasion. The only way to grow myknowledge and move on to the next phase, that is, become an expert-artist,a Master in the Art of Persuasion, was to stop reading and start acting. I’dneed to practice every day and, by trials and error, keep sharpening mypersuasive skills. So I sailed off on a journey to become my own Master, armed with anotepad and a pen in my pocket where I could jot down my thoughts andobservations from my experiences. I would approach women in the street and flirt with them; I would go tocoffee bars and observe how people interacted with each other, noting howthey communicated. I would analyse all the newspaper articles, marketingbrochures and product labels that I came across, trying to understand whythey were written and presented in a certain way, trying to understand thesubliminal impact, if any, created by the combination of the words used. In face-to-face or telephone conversations, I would listen to and observecarefully the other person: their walk, their vocal intonation, their smile,how they shake hands, the look in their eyes, the attitude and gestures, thegrooming, what kind of watch was worn including whether it was on theleft or right hand, what kind of shoes and had they been polished, whichjewellery was visible and hidden, the choice of briefcase or handbag. I evennoted the fabric of the clothes and whether they’d been pressed or not, howlong the other person could hold my eye during the conversation, their pos-ture on a chair, the accent and richness of the vocabulary, etc. All these littledetails had escaped me previously but now I sought them, like a detective,especially little details. They are clues to the personality and state of mindof your interlocutor, which opens a little bit more the path to successful
  16. 16. 18 The Creation of Grapho-Persuasion Grapho-Persuasionpersuasion. I started developing a system based on my personal experiences and calledit The Pyramid of Persuasion. The Pyramid of PersuasionNote: Except the Cornerstone, there is no need to master one layer before moving tothe nextBut in my quest to become a successful expert-artist, something was stillmissing. One day it dawned on me. To truly and successfully persuadesomeone, the greatest advantage lies in knowing the person. That’s why aqueen wields greater influence over her husband, the king, than all the sena-tors put together. When you’re pitching a new idea, your pitch is more likely to be success-ful if you know the person to whom you are presenting. You will have someinstinctive knowledge as to how best approach him or her. You will knowwhat to say and how to say it. Therefore, it was necessary to swiftly get toknow the stranger inside and out. I needed to get into the head and heart ofthat person as fast as I could. NLP would help, but it would not be suffi-cient on its own. One day, while perusing psychology books at the library, I stumbled upon abook on graphology (i.e. handwriting analysis). As an academic, I was naturally
  17. 17. 19sceptical since handwriting analysis had been criticised for the lack of empiricalstudies that would validate it as an exact science. Yet, the book noted graphol-ogy had existed for several hundred years, since the first book published on thesubject, and it was still popular in France, Germany and Israel. Companies usedit for recruitment purposes, alongside psychometric testing. Anglo-Saxon coun-tries despised handwriting analysis. Puzzled, I decided to give it a go. From my own tests conducted on a small sample of people I knew, gra-phology had an average accuracy of 80%. Assuming that no scientific studycan predict the behaviour of animals, including human beings, with 100%certainty because we are all creatures of emotions and those emotions driveus, I started trusting graphology. It gave me enough information on some-one’s personality, I realised, to better influence that person. To improve my knowledge of graphology, I knew I had to learn from anexpert. Oddly enough, call it luck or destiny, I met a man one evening atan event. His name was Owen Williams, a sixty year career expert calledupon regularly by individuals, companies and the police. A former presidentof the UK International Graphoanalysis Society, Owen was a true expert-artist in handwriting analysis! He gave me his business card and few monthslater, when I felt that it was time for me to become a certified graphologist,I called him. The problem was, at eighty-three years old, he was retiring.Since my motivation was not to make money but a personal interest in gra-phology, he accepted to teach me. I was going to be his last student. I loved the private lessons with Owen; a fascinating man who always hadcaptivating real life stories to illustrate a lesson. He constantly said: “I have beendoing this for sixty years! Sixty years!! If it did not work, it’s been a long timeI would have given up! Bring me anyone and I’ll tell them who they truly are!People in this country [UK] don’t believe it, but they don’t know that the policecall upon us [graphologists and forensic graphologists] regularly!” I blended together the sciences of persuasion and graphology andcalled this new theory Grapho-Persuasion. Grapho-Persuasion is the use of graphology to understand some-
  18. 18. 20 The Creation of Grapho-Persuasion one’s personality and the incorporation of this information in to the techniques you use to persuade that person.In academic circles, there is an old joke: “Copy from one source and it isconsidered plagiarism; copy from many sources and it is considered research”.Well, my dear Ghislaine, I do not pretend to have created something reallynew here, Grapho-Persuasion is what came out of my research. Critics, nodoubt, will have plenty to say about it, but the Grapho-Persuasion theory –and I’m still improving it – is not a science, it is an art. Like psychotherapy,no empirical research will establish that Grapho-Persuasion works withcomplete accuracy because, as I pointed out earlier, we are all emotionalbeings. Grapho-Persuasion was the missing piece of information that I needed inorder to progress along the learning curve and find the answer to this query:How to successfully persuade? I don’t think of myself as an expert-artist in persuasion yet. Human beingsare complex emotional creatures, difficult to understand. I am still sailing.Victor Semo, August 2010
  20. 20. PART THREE GRAPHOLOGYGhislaine, you and I are both scientists. There are no empirical studiesthat validate body language as an exact science, yet we believe in it. Ifyou accept that someone’s body language tells you more about whatthe person is really thinking rather than what is being said, you shouldnot be sceptical of graphology. The view, “I am right, you are wrong,” will always prevail when opin-ions diverge. But before you say “no” to something, you must try ityourself and by yourself, then make a judgement. Don’t be influencedor persuaded by what people say. There is no place for prejudice andbigots in research.If, after trying, you do not like the results, close this manual and give itto a charity, and, if this is the case, then: • You should never believe in body language again and any of the persuasion techniques presented here. Despite having been around for thousands of years, most of these techniques can- not be empirically demonstrated to be working 100%. But we all know they work, we just cannot prove them scientifically. Persuasion, like marketing, is more art than science. • You should never believe fingerprint analysis again. Nothing is certain in life: 87
  21. 21. 88 The Secret RecipeThe Illusion of Certainty “There is nothing certain in life but death and taxes” (Benjamin Franklin) Sir Francis Galton (1822-1911), cousin of Charles Darwin, made an enormous contribution to sciences, including the foundation of weather forecast reports, regression analysis for statistics and fingerprint analysis. There are thirty-five to fifty points (the ridge) in a fingerprint. By looking at all these points, he estimated that the probability of a match between two fingerprints was one in sixty-four billion. The police compares, on average, eight to sixteen points to find a match between a suspect’s fingerprints and those found at the crime scene. If a match is found by the police, then it is up to the subjective review of a fingerprint examiner to determine if the suspect is guilty or not. In 2002, in response to the reversal of David Asbury’s murder convic- tion after the fingerprint evidence was discredited, Scotland’s Justice Minister, Jim Wallace, said that despite the great degree of skill involved in fingerprint analysis, “There is an art form here, it’s a skill which does involve judgment and can’t be boiled down to an exact science”19. Like graphology and forensic graphology, fingerprint evaluations are only as good as the analysis by the fingerprint examiner. “The difference is that it is easier to forge someone’s fingerprint than their handwrit- ing,” remarked Milton Carlson, an expert in handwriting analysis and fingerprint examination in the 1920s. This remark is still valid today20. In 1991, Byron Mitchell was convicted of driving the getaway car in a robbery carried out in Pennsylvania. The case was based on two latent fingerprints, one found on the steering wheel and another on the gear lever. Mitchell appealed in 1998 and in 1999.To prove the reliability of the fingerprint match, the FBI sent the latent fingerprints found at the crime scene, along with the inked prints of Mitchell, to fifty-three laboratories of state law enforcement agencies. From the thirty-five agencies that respond- ed, eight did not find a match for one of the latent prints, and six could not find a match for the other; a failure rate of 20% (one out of five tests). The FBI then re-sent the exemplar and latent prints to the laboratories with the points of similarly marked. Only then 100% of the laboratories agreed21.
  22. 22. 92 Emotional AspectsEach zone depicts:E+: extreme responsiveness, very impulsive and heart-over-head. They find it difficult to control emotions and need to express them.DE: a high degree of responsiveness and influenced by others; affectionate and expressive.CD: a responsive nature, they attempt to control emotions but with difficulty.BC: influenced by emotions but fairly objective.AB: head-over-heart emotional responsiveness, in control of emotional expressions and objective. They can appear indifferent and selfish.FA: a lack of responsiveness, they hide their emotions, are self-interested and cautious yet, may have a polished public self-image and appear friendly.F-: reserved, cold, completely self-interested and emotionally withdrawn. You don’t need to know personally these two men to be certain they are very different Gordon Brown, 2010 Tony Blair, 20076.2 Emotional Depth (Pressure in Writing)After emotional responsiveness, emotional depth is the second aspect of ahandwriting specimen to assess.
  24. 24. For Designers, Engineers, Marketers, “G FR o-P boo rap thSpeakers, Salespeople, Womanisers... EE ers k h e gift uas ion ” THE PERSUASION NOTE CARDS A visual aid that reminds you the tricks and techniques that influence human behaviour 52 ways to persuade from the sciences of behavioural economics and social psychology Be more creative when brainstorming ideas Be more persuasive in your business and social circles
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  26. 26. It all began 9 years ago, during my first creative project.As a young and inexperienced engineer, and then later as a marketer, I wasoften in the library. When working on new products or marketing projects,I constantly looked for information on design ethnography and, how tounderstand and influence human behaviour. For quick and easy reference,I noted the techniques on cards.Then I’ve realised that having ideas is good, but you must still be able to sellthem. In business and engineering schools, my lecturers had taught me howto think, but not how to talk. “I am a creative person, not a salesperson”, is acommon excuse in the creative community. That’s why so many great projects,strategies and causes are lost. Good ideas, bad presenters.Learning how to pitch in front of clients and my superiors was costly. Afterseveral mistakes, and with the development of the Grapho-Persuasion method,I began also noting sales techniques on cards.The Persuasion Note Cards is a collection of the best persuasion techniquesand principles, used for centuries by the greatest marketers, salesmen, productdesigners, politicians and womanisers. The 52-card deck is fun, easy to use andeasy to carry.Each card illustrates a “weapon of mass persuasion”, drawn from the sciencesof behavioural economics and social psychology, with real-life examples. Whenbrainstorming with your team and clients during a project, or when preparingyourself for a meeting, keep these cards visible at all times. They will remindyou how persuasion works, and how to integrate elements of it in your work.From business and personal experiences, I guarantee you that you will find the52-card deck useful. If you don’t, offer it to someone who will benefit from it,or contact me at for a 100% refund. No quibble.Victor Semo,Creator of the Persuasion Note Cards
  27. 27. A book is better than an e-book.Get FREE the book Grapho-Persuasionwith The Persuasion Note iii