Mastering Persuasive Communication: Insights from "Exactly What to Say" by Phil Jones

Mastering Persuasive Communication: Insights from "Exactly What to Say" by Phil Jones
Photo by Amy Hirschi / Unsplash

Words wield immense power—they can open pathways to progress, foster connections, and pave the way for success in business and personal endeavors. In "Exactly What to Say: The Magic Words for Influence and Impact," Phil Jones, a maestro of influence, offers a treasure trove of phrases anyone can use to communicate more effectively. This book goes beyond mere conversation—it's about strategically using language to persuade, engage, and connect.

The Magic Words

Jones identifies key phrases or "magic words" to help steer conversations toward desired outcomes. These phrases are psychologically compelling and are grounded in principles of influence and empathy. Here's how a few of these phrases can transform everyday interactions:

1. "Just Imagine…"

In Use: A financial advisor might say, "Just imagine achieving financial independence ten years earlier than you expected." This phrase helps clients visualize the benefits of a financial plan, creating an emotional investment in the outcome.

2. "How Would You Feel If…"

In Use: In a professional setting, you might ask, "How would you feel if we found a way to streamline this process and save you time?" This encourages the listener to consider the positive implications of adopting a new system or method.

3. "I'm Not Sure if It's for You, But…"

In Use: Introducing a new product to a skeptical customer, a salesperson could say, "I'm not sure if it's for you, but this gadget has helped others increase their productivity by 30%." It intrigues without pressuring, allowing the person to remain open to information.

4. "When Would Be a Good Time To…?"

In Use: When trying to book an appointment, one might ask, "I know you have a busy schedule, but when would be a good time to discuss your upcoming project?" This assumes a meeting will happen and works toward a mutual agreement on timing.

5. "What Makes You Say That?"

In Use: If someone objects during a negotiation, asking, "What makes you say that?" opens the floor for their reasoning. It shows you value their opinion and are willing to engage with their concerns.

6. "Would It Be a Bad Idea If…"

In Use: Suggesting an unconventional approach to a problem, one might pose, "Would it be a bad idea if we tried a more aggressive marketing campaign for a short period?" This frames the suggestion as something to be considered rather than an immediate decision to be made.

The Strategy of Words

Jones's philosophy isn't about manipulation; it's about understanding your audience and crafting your words to align with their perspectives and needs. By using these phrases, you're not bulldozing over objections; you're inviting your conversation partners to participate in the dialogue actively.

The Ethical Dimension

An essential aspect of Jones's message is the ethical Use of these "magic words." They are not meant for deceit or coercion. Instead, they should be used to foster positive interactions, build trust, and create mutually beneficial outcomes.


"Exactly What to Say" by Phil Jones isn't just a book; it's a guide to navigating the complex human interactions we face daily. By adopting these phrases into your linguistic toolkit, you can engage in more meaningful conversations and achieve results that are constructive and harmonious. Whether in sales, leadership, customer service, or personal relationships, Jones's strategies demonstrate that when you know exactly what to say, you can change not just the conversation but the outcome.

Embrace these phrases, practice them, and watch your conversations become more impactful, your relationships more profound, and your influence more significant. With Jones's wisdom in your corner, the right words are always at your fingertips.