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Bob Burg on Winning Without Intimidation

Bob Burg is the real deal. He practices what he preaches. Some years ago, at a convention, I bought his whole packet on networking - CDs, tapes, books, and video and immersed myself in his methodologies.  I did this for two reasons. First, I had heard the man speak on tape and in person. Second, I met him and watched him in action. His CD series, "How to Cultivate a Network of Endless Referrals" was fleshed out in his own practice. As I listened to audio program, the rationale  made a great deal of sense to me.  As I came to understood his strategy it become clear that it was even more so, a  philosophy of life. Bob believes what he is saying. He sincerely believes that people are worth knowing and not just as means to some sales, or in the case of those of us in ministry, as means to an evangelistic end.

This sincerity and authenticity is what he advocates and practices with an accompanying warning: People can see through us. Whether we attempt to be or not, we are transparent in our motives. We cannot fake real interest in other people.

The bottom line for Bob Burg is in a matter of adjusting our own motives and tuning our mental engines to the goal of adding value to other people's lives. The concomitant of this is that we will become valuable to many people.

Bob is a genuinely nice guy who looks at you when he is talking to you, communicates a sense that he values you, shows appreciation, and recognizes you later as an old friend when he sees you in the hall.

From an article posted on

Develop profitable, win/win relationships with practically every new person you meet - whether one on one or in a social setting.

How? Ask questions. Specifically, "feel-good" questions. These are questions designed to put your conversation partner at ease, and begin the rapport-building process. These are not intrusive, invasive, or in anyway resembling those of the stereotypical salesperson. Feel-good questions are simply questions that make your new prospect/potential referral-source feel good; about themselves, about the conversation, and about you. Vital, because "all things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like and trust." Asking feel-good questions is the first step to accomplishing that goal.

I have recommended Bob Burg to many sales people and pastors along the way. I commend him to anyone who needs to work with people in order to maximize performance and reach full potential.  The key predictor of success in almost any profession or business that is not practiced in utter isolation is the level of people skills.

Burg comes at people skills from two different need driven questions in his work on referrals and his book on winning. In the first, he is anticipating a pleasant and non-confrontational setting where positive results are expected. In teaching on winning he places us in situations where we tend to be confrontational, direct, and demanding and often culminate our interactions with mutual frustration.

For Burg, the same underlying philosophy applies to both settings; People are valuable and deserve  respect. For instance, instead of intimidating people, he suggests that the eight key words that will get us what we want are, " If you can't do it, I will certainly understand."

It works like relational judo... and it is utterly sincere.

In "Winning Without Intimidation," Burg quotes from the Talmud, "Who is a mighty person? One who can control his emotions and make, of an enemy, a friend."

It doesn't matter what your business, profession, or ministry might be, Bob Burg can help you.

The "Winning Without Intimidation" Mission Statement is as follows: "To raise the consciousness level of the world in the arena of human interactions. To show people how to get what they want while helping others to feel good about  themselves."

Ignac Semmelwies, in 1837, discovered germ theory   and listening to him would have empowered the medical profession to save thousands of lives. However, because he was so obnoxious and combative, no one listened to him. Only in 1867 would they listen to a man with people skills, Joseph Lister.

I owe this timely reminder to my new friend, Rebecca Starr, an instructor at Fresno City College who is sitting at the table next to me at Starbucks and who proves to me that networking teaches us how to network.

Check out Bob's free weekly Ezine.

Thanks to Sherwin Nuland, "The Man or the Moment"  in "The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2005 : The Best American Series 2005" for the reference to Semmelweis