This week we're taking a look at Mark Jeffries' The Art of Business Seduction: A 30-Day Plan to Get Noticed, Get Promoted, and Get Ahead ... usually I have a problem with those long title/subtitle combinations, but in this case it certainly helps (as "The Art of Business Seduction" by itself just brings up the wrong images!). I take it that the author chose "seduction" to describe this just to be provocative ... while the techniques here may very well be based on the dynamics involved in romantic adventures, the purpose here might just as well be tilted "how to sell your personal brand" with the same subtitle.
The book itself is a bit oddly set-up, the first half is the "30-Day Plan" (based on the framework of "Listen, Watch, Anticipate, and React", or "L-WAR") and the second half is additional supporting material. Over in my review I posit that this might be due to it possibly starting out as an e-book that (Pinocchio-like) "turned into a real book" at some point, especially as the tone of the first half is frequently reminiscent of the "squeeze pages" you find hawking assorted .pdf how-to tomes out there, while the rest is far more straight-forward, and might have been subsequently added to get up to a standard book length.
Now, is this a book about the job search? No. However, a quarter of the book specifically addresses Networking strategies, and I found these very worthwhile, especially the concept of the "jealousy reaction", as a way of leveraging basic human psychology to create rather focused interest in what you're bringing to the table. Needless to say, this could be a key tool in finding a job. That is not to suggest that the "plan" is without value, but it is basically a self-help strategy for re-training your perceptions (and related activity) to be more aware of what "the other guy" needs, wants, and is looking for in their interactions with you ... with "30 days" being the generally acknowledged time span necessary to ingrain new personal habits ... it targets behavioral changes that would benefit anybody, certainly.
Thanks to the folks at Wiley (who had sent me a review copy), I was able to get the following interview done with Mr. Jeffries (behind the cut):
Q: Briefly, what's your background?
An economist by education and former stockbroker with Merrill Lynch - I
woke up one morning and knew I was in the wrong job! I always had a
skill for communicating and was often used to make presentations to
groups of investors - so I decided my next step had to be in the field
of communication. I luckily got into television and hosted finance
shows (no one ever watched!) But I made connections and built a network
which led me to what I do now.
Now I spend my time hosting huge
corporate events, interviewing panels on stage, delivering my keynote
speech all over the world and coaching execs in how they connect, speak,
network and sell.
Q: Have you had notable job-transition experiences?
(See above). Total career re-invention from finance to TV to keynote
speaker and author. The secret: speak THEIR language and never stop
Q: Why did you decide to write a book about "business seduction"?
I have been doing this all my life - always making great connections,
building a strong network and telling stories which "seduce" people into
wanting me. People don't spend enough time selling their value and
benefit and pointing to the "social proof" that exists all around us.
Creating a great story, seeded with "social proof" seduces people into
knowing that they need you.
Q: How would you recommend somebody utilize these techniques who was "between jobs"?
Its always about smartly leveraging those people around you and not
being afraid to ask. Let people know that you interested in a new
challenge and NOT that you are desperate for a job. Meet with people to
ask them questions - this often sparks ideas and notions about you. If
you have cool ideas about your industry, tweet them, add them to your
linked in profile or write a couple of blogs.
Perform a personal
online audit - see what people find when they search for you ... And
add new stuff so you look more current and connected
Q: If you had just ONE piece of advice for today's job searcher, what would that be?
Don't go quiet. People out of work understandably lose confidence and
disappear off the radar. Go the opposite way! Be seen and heard, stay
connected and ensure people understand the value and benefit of having
you on the team.
Q: What do you feel makes your book unique?
Its a fresh way to approach the same challenge of reaching for
continued success. This is an instantly useable toolbox of communication
techniques and concepts to help you seduce your targets into choosing
you for the job, pay rise or contract
Q: Aside from your book, what resources do you recommend?
Being well read is being well-fed! Be on top of your industry, the
gossip, the people, the deals, the trends and the news. Use all
resources to improve your knowledge.
Q: Any additional words of wisdom?
Great communication is a finely balanced scale - every little thing you
do to adapt your approach to suit the person in front of you will tilt
those scales in your favor!
Since he neglected to mention it, I guess I'll add here that the author has a web site with additional materials, including several videos (among which are a couple of very good interviews specifically
about what to do in a job search), plus a free iPhone app "to instantly
improve your influence skills". As always, there's more details on the
book over at my review, so do go check that out!