Maximizing Your Persuasive Power

Gui Gu Zi’s Strategic Persuasion is about developing strategies and persuasion to complement each other for winning together. The strategies and tactics for maximizing your persuasive power are covered comprehensively in this Chapter 9.  The key principles are covered first and the English translations of the original text are given in mind-map forms subsequently. By studying the translations, you may be able to come out with additional principles and tips to increase your persuasive power. Hope you can share with us too.

The Overview and Key Points
The following mind-map captures the principles and key points for maximizing your persuasion. it begins by pointing out that persuasion is not just about us but more about the listener. Why should they listen to us? We must earn the rights to be heard. Please go through the map below and see if can follow them to improve your persuasive power.



Want to go further to discover for your own?
I may not have discovered all the wisdom of Gui Gu Zi and so I present my translations of his original text below for your own study and learning, please remember to share with us your additional discovery.

1 Persuasion – Earn the rights to speak

2 Knowing the Speaker

3 Listen by Watch but Speak Not

4 Use Others Strengths

5 Five Emotions and Speech
Be aware of the listeners’ emotion. A person that is angry is not going to listen to anything. Need to calm them first and help them into the right emotion and mental state to listen and support what you are proposing.


6 Speak accordingly to the Types of Your Audience

7 Purpose & Qualities of Speech
A final checklist to reflect on what you want to say. Are you addressing your audience rightly? Do you have any worthy things to share with the wise or new things to teach those that know not? How are you saying it and the words you use, do they create surprises and curiosity? As an example, “The differences between male and female” is not as attractive as “Man are from Mars and Women from Venus”.

Lim Liat (c) 15 Sep 2016

Sun Zi’s Art of War Formula – Simple yet Comprehensive

The ‘Art of War’ of Sun Zi contains 13 chapters. The challenge is to capture the essence and yet without loosing any key details in as short a form as possible. Here is the Formula that tells you all.

I spent many weeks reflecting on how I can express the content of Sun Zi’s Art of War in as short a form as possible and at the same time not loosing any key details. The short form is good for us to remember, recall and to apply it into the many business decisions that we face.

One Chinese Word – 势 Comparative Power

It can be expressed in one Chinese Word – 势 Comparative Power. To be clearer, Sun Zi teaches us about how to 造势 Create or build Comparative Power and then 取势 ride on the wave of the created power.

‘知彼知己’ ‘Know Others(Competitors) and Know Self’.

The ‘how to’ is expressed in the famous quotation of ‘知彼知己’ ‘Knowing Others(Competitors) and Knowing Self’. This is about building our strengths relative to our competitors or in the modern management term of ‘comparative’ or ‘competitive’ advantage. Sun Zi used a bow and arrow to illustrate power and speed of action. The distance the arrow can reached is dependent on much the bow is bent (potential power or energy that we must build) and how fast the trigger, the arrow is released.

 ‘知天知地‘  Know Heaven (Weather, Season, Timing) and Earth (Terrain, Positioning)

What is frequently omitted is in the second part of ‘知天知地‘ , which is ‘knowing the timing (seasons and wealther) and knowing the terrain (or more precise, the shapes and advantages offered by the terrains such as cliff, narrow passage, water obstacle etc). Sun Zi not only tell us how to build our strength with his five factors of philosophy, timing, terrain, leadership and policies and seven measures which include the strength and skill of staff; he also tell us to make use of, or exploit the potential power from the external environment ot timing and terrains. Making use of the natural tendency offered by Heaven (Timing, Seasons) and Earth (Terrains), will allow us to have power without any of our effort! We just ride the tidal wave. Making use of nayural forces or tendencies is best illustrated with a puzzle. “How do you feed pepper to your cat?”. Hint: The answer is in the natural tendency of the cat.

Out Innovate Them

The last part then is the engagement between us and our competitors. The is for winning is to surprise them or in modern management term, out innovate them! Another way is speed. We can also sieze the initiative by out menuerving the competitors with deception, tempting, threatening, creating chaos, division, angering,  waiting while they labor and spend, attacking their weakness etc.

The Tag Line – Build Ride Innovate

The tagline for Art of War is then about build your comparative advantage over them, ride on the natural trends and out innovate them.

One More Thing – Business is a Love Affair more than War

Sun Zi was taking about war. To apply Sun Zi’s wisdom in today business world, we need to know one key thing – Business is a love affair with us customers first with our competitors being used as reference to evaluate our business value that we bring to our customers. The best way to out do our competitors is actually to focus first on serving and developing relationship with our customers. We keep track on our competitors is only for the purpose for serving and increasing our value to our customers. We make use of what our competitors are doing that we may do add even more value to our customers.

The Sun Zi’s Art of War Formula

To capture all the essential teaching of a subject, it is much clearer and simpler to express it as a fomula as shown below:SunZi Art of War Formula

Hope you can grasp the essential teaching of Sun Zi’s Art of War.

Lim Liat (c) 26 April 2014

SunZi’s Art of War – The Misquotes and Keys that are missed even by the Experts

A famous book like SunZi’s Art of War is likely to be quoted partially. Even so, there are already much wisdom to be gained. But, having the full quotation will lead us to greater success. We look at the famous quote, or misquote, of “知己知彼,百战百胜  know self, know others, win every time”. Yet, the best strategy is to win without a war. Having peace in the world is not about just building more powerful weapons and larger military, but more importantly, it is to build better well being and sharing for more people so that there is no reason for war. That’s the heart of Sun Zi.
What has Sun Zi’s Art of War to do with Christmas that have me to write about in this season of peace and joy? Much, if you know the heart and purpose of Sun Zi’s Art of War.
Let begin with the famous quotation, or mis-quotation.
The source of Know-Self-Know-Others can be found in two places in Sun Zi’s Art of War book. They are shown below in the mind-map:
There are 3 key errors: 
  1. Order.
    • Know our enemy first, and then we can compare ours against the enemy.
    • Most people look at themselves first to claim their strengths and weaknesses. That is incorrect.  Typical SWOT analysis begins with listing your own strengths and weaknesses. That is an error. We should look at the external Opportunities and Threats first and then back to your strengths and weaknesses to address those opportunities and threats.
    • Furthermore, our strengths or weaknesses can only be determined in comparison with the enemies that we are going to fight with and with respect to the theatre and timing of our operations.
    • Strengths and weaknesses should be determined from the external. In a business, the external are competitors and customers, the markets, industries, and locations that we operate in.
  2. Not Win every time but Not Loose every time.
    • It is a secured position but need another two factors to ensure a win every time.
  3. The Two More Factors: Know the Heaven & Earth – i.e. The Right Timing and the Right Terrain to take advantage of.

There are Four Factor

  1. Know-Other,
  2. Know-Self,
  3. Know-Heaven: the Time & Seasons,
  4. Know-Earth: the terrains and the positioning. or the market and industries, the PESTEL factors
How do we know others and our strengths or weaknesses. Sun Zi proposed 7 measures. See Sun Zi Art of War-3: Health Check with 7 Measures.

Sun Zi however tells us that knowing something is better than knowing nothing. Knowing self and not knowing other bring us 50% success rate at times. The worst case is, not knowing anything which will result in 100% failure.

We need the two additional factors of knowing Heaven and Earth to ensure completeness.
How to appraise a situation is given in Sun Zi Art of War-4: Appraisal & Prediction.

Even Better is Not to Go to War – How to Win without a Fight .
Another misunderstanding about Sun Zi’s Art of War is the purpose. It is not a book that teach us to win every war. It is in fact book that teaches us how we need not go to war! Sun Zi say the best strategy is to win without a fight! Fighting will result in destruction and deaths that both sides will suffer. The better way is to build oneself up such that others will not dare to take us to a war. They surrender voluntarily. Other better strategies will be to defeat their plans before execution, negotiate for win-win for all, and war is only the very last resort. Even if have to, win it quickly without much losses of lives.

See Sun Zi Art of War-5: The Principles for Good Strategies

How to Build a High Performance Organization that others will respect and follow.
The heart then of Sun Zi’s Art of War is about building an organization or nation that other will respect and follow rather than trying to dethrone you.
See Sun Zi Art of War-6: Leadership Skills and Creating HPO

Having peace in the world is not about just building more powerful weapons and larger military, but more importantly, it is to build better well being and sharing for more people so that there is no reason for war.

Hope this post encourages you to look deeper into Sun Zi’s Art of War.

Lim Liat (c) 25 Dec 2013

12 Success Principles from Chinese 36-Strategies

The Chinese 36-Strategies, some called it, 36-Tactics are well known and gainfully employed in military, business and politics. They usually have a bad connotation associated with it – dirty tricks. But if we examine them carefully, they are powerful strategies that can be used for good or evil.  Good as building a successful businesses and bad as destroying the competitions or enemies through deception and lies.  In a just and legal society, lies are bad and could be liable and criminal acts are not be done. In other words, we can use the 36 Strategies in a right, truthful and legal ways.

The 36-Strategies have the following interesting points (Please refer to the mind map attached):

  1. The Name of the Strategy is just 3-4 Chinese Words that gives a vivid picture of what to do for that strategy.
  2. There is a commentary on what the strategy means. The 2nd part of the commentary is a quote from a hexagram in  i-Ching.  This shows that the authorship comes after i-Ching and it is an extension of i-Ching teaching.
  3. From Form to Concept. The picture while vivid, may actually trapped our thinking. Hence, we need to abstract the form to the original concept of the strategy. The picture is just one form, an implementation of the concept. There could be other forms that we should adapt to our present situation.

36 Strategies are too many to grasp and apply. The original text divided them into 6 segments with 6 strategies each  I find them not too clear, and at best may be can be divided into winning (covering winning, engaging and advancement), confusing and lost 3 main segments. I prefer to regroup them into 12 principles and place them in order of starting a new and/or growing a business. It begins with probing (situational analysis), watch for the opportunities, exploiting the opportunities and so forth as shown in the mind map below. I will explain the individual strategies in clearer terms in the future. But I think the mind map speaks volume already. Hope you can benefit from it.

36 Strategies by Types

Lim Liat copyrighted April 2011