The Art of Woo

The Art of Woo


Shell and Moussa, both on the Wharton School faculty, aim to help readers get attention and sell their ideas through point-of-view and the “other-oriented” perspective, which focuses on the audience’s needs, perceptions and feelings. Drawing on their experience in teaching executives to negotiate, the authors examine the most important moments of influence and provide a four-step process to achieving goals: survey your situation, confront the five barriers, make your pitch and secure your commitments. They offer a practical guide to improving one’s wooing skills, highlighting successes and failures from history and the present day. An entertaining and useful guide to acquiring the power of woo, this book will help readers beyond the professional realm.

- Publisher’s Weekly

“Ranging across history, from Charles Lindbergh to Sam Walton, the authors examine how savvy negotiators use persuasion-not confrontation-to achieve goals.”

- U.S. News & World Report

[Moussa & Shell] provide a fresh new approach to selling ideas with this focus on helping listeners find their strengths as persuaders. Eschewing traditional sales and negotiation tips and tricks, the authors instead develop their material around their principle of winning over others (WOO) to your ideas without coercion using relationship-based, emotionally intelligent persuasion. Borrowing from Stephen Covey (seek first to understand, then to be understood), the authors present a pragmatic approach to relationship-based persuasion, explaining their strategic process for getting people’s attention. Beginning with a demonstration of how to use WOO to sell ideas, they explain their four-step process and the six main channels of influence, including authority, vision, relationships, interests, and politics, used to solve problems. The material is relevant for managers and front-line staff, and there are numerous real-world examples of how WOO can be helpful in requesting raises, increasing departmental budgets, and, of course, handling direct sales.

- Library Journal

Alas, you won’t find Charlie Levine’s legend repeated to generations of schoolchildren. That’s because this rival of aviator Charles Lindbergh set his crew members against one another and allowed egotism and erratic behavior to delay the transatlantic flight that he had financed. Lucky Lindy, on the other hand, was blessed with woo, which allowed him to skillfully develop relationships with his backers, who made sure he took off on time.

What, you ask, is woo? The authors, who both teach at the Wharton School, extol the virtues of this relationship art, which they define as the ability to win over colleagues, clients and customers without coercion, using emotionally intelligent persuasion. The authors draw on the experiences of political figures like Napoléon and Abraham Lincoln, as well as famous businesspeople.

Many motivational books exhort readers to “sell yourself” to bosses and colleagues. This one counsels you to do so with self-awareness, finding a style that suits your strengths and weaknesses. The authors describe five models for would-be persuaders: driver (Intel ceo Andy Grove), commander (J.P. Morgan), promoter (Andrew Carnegie), chess player (John D. Rockefeller) and advocate (Sam Walton).

Woo matters not just in business. Rock icon Bono gets high marks for his woomanship in promoting social causes. A surprisingly genial visit in 2000 to the archconservative Senator Jesse Helms, during which Bono communed with the septuagenarian politician, yielded an appropriation of $435 million for debt relief for Africa. It wouldn’t have happened, say the authors, had it not been for Bono’s on-the-spot ability to switch “to a completely different language,” abandoning his fact-laden pitch to talk religion with Helms.

But don’t forget to woo with integrity. The authors tell the story of John Bennett Jr., who “found and embraced his own personal persuasion style–an affable mix of other-oriented Promoter and Advocate.” His relationship skills helped him perpetrate a $500 million pyramid scheme but couldn’t save him from the consequences: a 12-year sentence in federal prison. The bottom line: woo wisely.

- Time Magazine