Take one of these books on your next flight
Now that you’ve relaxed your mind with fun beach reads this summer, your first business trip this autumn might include one of these modern classics on the art of management and business communication.
Before heading to the airport, grab a copy or download to a device one of the following three best sellers to make your next flight a mix of business and pleasure.
“The Ultimate Sales Machine” by Chet Holmes
Ostensibly about sales, this book is even more about leading, managing and marketing. And it’s a must-have for executives wishing to grow a business, managers wanting to strengthen a department, or employees aspiring to become managers. “Guerrilla Marketing” author Jay Conrad Levinson, the author of more than 50 books himself, was so impressed that he called this book, “[A]ll a business person needs to read.”
Though author Chet Holmes died of leukemia in 2012, his wisdom lives on in this compelling 2007 classic. Holmes, who doubled the sales of many businesses within 12 months and consulted to scores of Fortune 500 companies, underscores the need for organizations to establish and implement policies that will help them grow. For example, in a section on how to implement change, he suggests calling a meeting for employees to talk about certain areas of the business that aren’t going well. Encourage them to complain and feel the pain. This will help ease the struggle of later implementing a new policy to improve that area of the business.
His mantra throughout the book is that procedures should be implemented with ongoing “pig-headed discipline and determination,” a technique that helped him become a karate master as a teenager (a cute and inspiring story he reveals in the preface).
Holmes said companies that implement policies as if they were large companies can grow. Otherwise, companies that think like small companies will remain small. He suggested documenting scripts, procedures and activities so that 50 new hires could come in tomorrow and everything would be clear to them if they followed your procedures manual.
On selling, Holmes suggests serving potential clients as an educator and resource, and to use independent data to make the case for a product or service instead of your own data.
This book also has terrific sections on how to execute effective meetings, attract and hire great employees, make trade show appearances more fun and effective, as well as a chapter on time management secrets of billionaires (fittingly, it’s the shortest and least time-consuming chapter).
A couple of small portions in the book are dated, as it was published before social media became standard in business, but 98 percent of the ideas still hold up as powerful advice on how to grow a company.
If you enjoy audio books, this one is narrated in grand style by actor Anthony Heald (“The Pelican Brief,” “Silence of the Lambs”).
“Pitch Anything” by Oren Klaff
When we are wishing to be most convincing, we are usually not. Klaff shows how to overcome this dilemma by using principles from pitching in the world of high finance in our everyday lives. Along the way he draws from his own experience, ancient Chinese philosophy and a sophisticated French waiter.
Klaff has successfully landed numerous multi-million-dollar deals with private equity firms and hedge funds, and he discloses the rationale behind his methods by bringing us into boardrooms to watch as high-stakes pitches unfold.
This 2011 book starts with a bang and then steps back to explain how the mind works, but it isn’t long before Klaff is again taking readers back into the offices of financers for some deals and a few capers.
Klaff shows how mildly defiant acts can pop an executive’s power frame, hold attention and even earn respect. He tells of the time he demanded the apple from a bored executive’s hand, causing the surprised man to pay attention the rest of the pitch. Klaff also reveals how he got owned by a classic French waiter—who used similar principles on him—while trying to impress clients at a fancy restaurant.
Klaff further enlightens readers by weaving into his pitches the three rules of the Tao: 1. Eliminate your neediness 2. Speak only of your excellence 3. Withdraw.
Klaff’s lessons merge and culminate in the book’s final example, the “airport deal,” which is high drama and an exhilarating case study in preparation and precision of delivery.
“Presenting to Win” by Jerry Weissman
The next time you present, will you effectively deliver a high-impact message that persuades listeners to act instead of stare, yawn or check their phones?
Learn valuable presentation strategies from a renowned presentation consultant, Jerry Weissman, who has coached hundreds of executives preparing initial public offerings when millions of dollars are at stake.
Early in the updated 2008 edition—which Fortune magazine named a “must-read”—Weissman illustrates how strong storytelling can help a novice presenter. The public relations department at Microsoft asked him to coach young executive Jeff Raikes on his delivery skills with only a day of preparation before an upcoming speech. Weissman instead helped Raikes with his story and was later praised for his coaching of voice and body language. “Simply getting the story right helped to transform a hesitant and uncertain speaker into a dynamic and confident one,” Weissman wrote (Raikes would go on to become president of Microsoft’s Business Division and later head up the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation).
Weissman makes a persuasive case for why learning to up your speaking game is worth the time: “The person who is able to tell an effective business story is perceived as being in command, and deserves the confidence of others. When you are in command of your story, you are in command of the room. Your audience will follow where you lead, and so will money, influence, power, and success.”
—Ansel Oliver is a manager of client special projects at SnappConner PR.