As National Security Advisor and US Secretary of State during the 1970s, Henry Kissinger was considered America’s greatest international negotiator. When asked who he considered the best such negotiator he had encountered, he nominated Egypt’s president Anwar Sadat because of a pre-suasive tactic he regularly employed that allowed him to get more from a negotiation than was warranted by his political or military position at the time. Before beginning negotiations, Sadat would attribute an admirable trait to the opposing side (perhaps a history of sympathy for the underdog or support for those in need or a tradition of fairness) that fit with what he wanted. In other words, Kissinger said, “Sadat gave his opponents a reputation to live up to”–something they then did remarkably often.
A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade
The author of the legendary bestseller Influence, social psychologist Robert Cialdini shines a light on effective persuasion and reveals that the secret doesn’t lie in the message itself, but in the key moment before that message is delivered.