May 062011

My team’s performance was suddenly getting invisible to stakeholders. We were facing resistance in implementing good ideas. Untrue bad words were more audible. I started to look for a book to fight politics. We needed means to persuade others that we are doing good job and we want to implement good ideas. That’s when I found The Art of WOO.

What is WOO?

WOO means Winning Others Over. Woo is relationship based persuasion mechanism to sell and implement your ideas. You need to woo your audience to get your idea heard and implemented.

An idea selling to each of your audience is a four step process:

  1. Survey your situation
  2. Confront the barriers
  3. Make your pitch
  4. Secure Commitments
  1. Survey your situation

    Identify your strengths and weakness. There are six channels of persuasion (Interest based persuasion, Authority, Politics, Rationality, Inspiration and motivation, Relationships) and five persuasion styles (Driver, commander, advocate, promoter, chess player). Master all six channels and five persuasion styles because you need to woo a person using his preferred channel and use the style depending upon the situation (eg. Millitary commandar needs Driver style). Assess your favourite channels of persuasion and your favourite persuasion style using Appendix A and B respectively of the book.

    My most preferred channel is “Rationality” and my organization’s most preferred channel is “Politics” (details). My preferred persuasion style is “Advocate” (details).

  2. Confront the barriers

    A sales man knows that if a household has let him come in then he will be able to make his sales pitch and he may make a potential sale. You need to ensure the following before you can pitch for your idea:

    1. Speak the same language what your listener wants to hear (eg. talk about candies to a child, about computers to a techie and about cereals to a grocer).
    2. Never step on (or be ready to address) your audience’s values and beliefs
    3. Give your audience an incentive to say yes (for example propose a mutually benefitting proposal)
  3. Make your pitch

    Use the tools acquired so far (knowledge of your strengths and weakness, your audience preferred channel, preferred style as per the situation, your audience language, values, beliefs and reasons to say no) and make a pitch:

    1. Use logical reasons (I am asking for x because y)
    2. PCAN (Define the Problem, Explain the Cause of the problem, What is your Answer to the problem, Net benefits by your solution)
    3. Use appropriate mediums (Data/Statistics, Specific examples, Demostration/tangible objects, Testimony, Social concensus)
    4. Personalize your message (make it vivid, demonstration, show passion, tell a story, give your example, make it a puzzle, use analogies and metaphors, Question the obvious/reconceptualize/hypothesis, idea reversal)
  4. Secure commitments

    Ask your audience to [take a concrete action that] [requires effort,] [is freely chosen and] [is observed by or known to people other than you]. Concrete action can be Idea polishing, facilitating, authorization, endorsement, decision, or implementation. Do not rush your audience but be the force behind your idea until idea fuels itself. Once idea is in implementation phase, be flexible because you are not the only stakeholder. Ingrain (define specific role, finances, accountability etc.) the idea in organization.


The Art of WOO teaches practical insights without misusing the power to only one’s advantage (it does not ask to take credit of someone else’s work). This book drives a person’s desire for self actualization. You may review/buy this superb book at Amazon, or check this and other books in my library.

Do you have a better strategy? Write a comment.

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