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Management pocketbooks reviewed: #1


Hook Your Audience
The Negotiators Pocketbook
The Influencing Pocketbook

Authors: Patrick Forsyth, Richard Storey
Publisher: Management PocketBooks
Year: 2000
ISBN: 1 870471 78 4 (audience)
1 870471 17 2 (negotiating)
1 870471 79 2 (Influencing)
Price: £6.99 and £9.99* (*Hook Your Audience)
Format: Paperback, A6 size

Before I start, let me declare an interest – ‘I love Pocketbooks!’. There, I have said it. I am a self-confessed pocketbook-lover and have been for some years, since the early days of easy to read, relatively cheap, informative and amusing books based around a particular theme. They cover the majority of the major themes we, as trainers, cover in our work in a structured format that makes them easily transformed into training resources, where necessary. I have included them as part of the training materials offered to delegates on a number of my courses. At £6.99(ish) they provide cost-effective, professional-looking additional support materials.

I was disappointed, therefore, to find that ‘Hook your Audience’ by Patrick Forsyth was not in the format of all the others. It is a different size and shape and without the usual ‘OHP’ look to the pages. I suppose it is altogether more modern, but the old adage ‘if it’s not broken, don’t mend it’ comes to mind. That is particularly appropriate for this book, as it deals with stories and quotations pulled together in an attempt to ‘enliven, embellish and amplify’. As trainers, we will have been using similar methods for a number of years and if we haven’t we will have put a large number of people to sleep, I imagine. These are standard ‘tools of the trade’ for us and I must confess that Patrick Forsyth seems to have brought out all the old favourites for us to reminisce over. If you are thinking of using this as a new trainer or presenter, don’t be surprised if your audience or delegates do not finish the stories for you, as there is little new in there. Its format is not particularly useful, either. If they had categorised the quotes and missed out the comments in between it would have been more useful. I must confess that there were a few new ones in there I would love to use again, but wading through the book to find them is not an option. Perhaps an index allowing me to get direct to the topic areas would be useful. This is not a criticism of Patrick Forsyth – far from it.

In the same batch of Pocketbooks I looked at was ‘The Negotiator’s Pocketbook’ by, guess who? – Patrick Forsyth. Thank you, Patrick for sticking to the plan on this one. It does exactly what it says on the tin – ‘A pocketful of tips, techniques and tactics to help you negotiate the best deal’. Maybe I am biased, but I like the format, I know exactly where to find what I need from the book from the Fundamentals, through the seven stages of preparation, ten techniques to keep ahead (now do you see why these are useful?) to summary checklists. This could very easily for part of my training courseware when I next train negotiation. I could not honestly say that I could find a similar niche for ‘Hook your Audience’.

Equally predictable was the quality of my last Pocketbook, ‘The Influencing Pocketbook’ by Richard Storey. Looking at both influencing and negotiating together, there are clearly areas of overlap, but it is always interesting to get two different people’s perspective on the same issue. This book deals with the personal skills involved in influencing and deals with different personality types, communication skills, rapport and handling resistance. Once again, it has lots of lists, useful to bullet and include in training and I can see that this could easily become part of the repertoire of books included in training courses, particularly in Sales Training. It is possible, in fact, to develop exercises around both the negotiators and influencers pocketbooks and you would have a ready-made basic sales course.

My overall impression is that I still love Pocketbooks, but you can keep the derivatives!

Hook Your Audience, The Negotiators Pocketbook, The Influencing Pocketbook were reviewed by Jooli Atkins of Atkins Business Solutions Ltd.


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