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Notes from the book Magic Words

Chapter 1: Magic words connect you with others by motivating them. Source

  • Magic words motivate others, and thus make you a more effective communicator.
  • words only constitute about seven percent of what we communicate – the rest is body language and tone of voice.

  • magic words only work when they go hand in hand with a strong, positive human connection

Chapter 2: The most important magic word is “yes” and the word you should avoid the most is “no.” Source

  • the word “yes” is ingrained in our psyche; we love hearing it. It’s the ultimate magic word.
  • don’t say, “Please fix this for me.” Instead, ask, “Can we fix this?” Because, if you can get someone to say yes, they’ll be more likely to actually do it.
  • get the other person to say yes two or three times before you get to the actual request
  • salespeople increased their success rate from 18 to 32 percent by inducing the people to say yes at least three times before coming to the sale
  • When you mention something negative, the conversation moves away from positivity toward feelings of fear, caution and rejection.

Chapter 3: Grab attention by using names and direct attention by saying “but.” Source

  • if you want to grab someone’s attention and focus, say their name before you make your point. It’s that simple.
  • People also feel more important and more highly valued when they hear their name
  • But Eraser - “But” has a very specific power. When you say the word “but” you decrease the impact of the preceding phrase
  • But Enhancer - emphasize the phrase that follows
  • So start out with the information you want the person to forget, then use a “but” and end with the information you want them to remember.

Chapter 4: “Because” and “if” motivate people to act and think. Source

  • If you can give them a reason, they’ll be more motivated to act.
  • “because” is the next magic word
  • encourages them to search for their own “because” and, once they find it, they’ll be much more motivated to act on it.
  • if,” induces people to think more hypothetically and creatively
  • it combats reverse psychology.
  • “If you don’t bet on them, think how you’ll feel when they win,” 73 percent took their advice.
  • use “if” to guide people’s thoughts in a certain direction.
  • If the person insists they can’t do something
  • “What would you do if you could?”

Chapter 5: “Help” is useful when delegating responsibility and “thanks” keeps motivation levels high. Source

  • It makes you feel important and needed, doesn’t it? That’s what makes “help” such a powerful magic word
  • “Thanks” is important in business: businesses need to thank their customers and bosses need to thank their employees. “Thanks” keeps customers happy and makes employees feel more valued and motivated.
  • employees should feel accomplished and proud when they finish a project
  • smiling more often

Chapter 6: Final summary Source

  • elicit “yeses” and avoid “nos,” direct attention with “but,” motivate others with “because” and “if” and show appreciation with “help” and “thanks.”


  • MOC Presentation and Public speaking
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