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The Language of Trust: Selling Ideas in a World of Skeptics Hardcover – May 4, 2010


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

As CEO of his own communications consulting firm, research strategist Maslansky advises clients like Starbucks, Bank of America and Microsoft on successfully communicating with their customers, an effort he admits is far more challenging in the shaky economic aftermath of the 2008 financial collapse: as a nation, we are more distrustful than ever that the government and other major institutions are looking out for the interests of average citizens and customers. To combat rising skepticism, Maslansky's offers a step-by-step strategy for "credible communication" based in quantitative and qualitative research, including input from focus groups and surveys demonstrating people's responses to different forms of messaging, and real-world examples from a number of industries, including finance and politics (contrasting, for example, President Obama's campaign messages with then-Senator Hillary Clinton's). Key to his approach are four messaging principles-being personal, plainspoken, positive, and plausible-and the idea of listening to and prioritizing customers' interests. Along with executives from Van Kampen Investments and Consulting, Maslansky clearly and convincingly demonstrates that words do matter, almost as much as how they're said.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"Trust has never been more important in the corporate world-because there's so little of it. For years, people have tried to figure out how to communicate trust. Now, finally, Michael Maslansky has unlocked the DNA of trust. Anyone who cares about their employees, their customers, or their reputation has to read this book."
-Dr. Frank Luntz, author of Words That Work and What Americans Really Want...Really

"To successfully earn trust in face-to-face or Facebook communication, embrace the proven concepts in The Language of Trust--they're as important to your life as involuntary breathing. It's just common sense."
-Thomas L. Harrison, LHD, chairman and CEO of Diversified Agency Services division of Omnicom Group Inc.

"Michael Maslansky has written the ultimate guide to winning trust in a world that has lost it. He writes with wit, wisdom, and a commendable absence of jargon. If you are concerned about trust, and all of us should be, then this book is an indispensible starting point."
-Lord Gould, former polling and strategy advisor to Prime Minister Tony Blair, and Deputy Chairman of Freud Communication

"Marketers, financial advisors, and communicators of all types should take note of the lessons in this book....More than most, Michael understands the enormous challenges we face, and this book provides an essential set of tools and practical approached for reconnecting with customers who may have lost faith in what we offer. It isn't enough for us to have a good story to tell; we must also be able to tell a good-and credible-story. The Language of Trust will help any communicator who muct win over a skeptical audience."
-Cathy Weatherford, CEO of Insured Retirement Institute

"Today's polarized discourse makes it hard to understand problems, much less fix them. The Language of Trust provides the core principles needed for moving forward."
-Philip K. Howard, founder of Common Good and author of The Death of Common Sense and Life Without Lawyers

"There are many books on effective communication, but this book is unique in the way it recognizes the importance of language and messaging as ways to build trust when talking to customers, partners, or employees. The Language of Trust will help any executive who must communicate with strength and credibility."
-Suzanne Coulter, president of Polo Retail Corporation
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall Press (May 4, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0735204756
  • ISBN-13: 978-0735204751
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #681,224 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

(www.languageoftrust.com; Follow on Twitter @m_mas)

Michael Maslansky is one of corporate America's leading communications and research strategists. As CEO of maslansky luntz + partners, he advises Fortune 500 corporations, industry associations, major litigation practices and non-profit organizations on what to say, how to say it and, most importantly, why it matters.

How CEOs, companies, and entire industries communicate - whether during crises, in advertising and public relations campaigns, or with investors, Congress or the American people - often means the difference between success and failure. Clients from Pfizer to Bank of America to Microsoft to Starbucks turn to Michael to understand the public mood, challenge conventional wisdom and transform not just what they say to key audiences - but how they say it.

Michael shares with clients his in-depth understanding of hot-button issues in banking and financial services, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, corporate social responsibility and non-profits, technology and consumer products, and litigation and politics. Over the years, he has helped Fortune 500 companies position and differentiate their brands and products during good times, and protect their reputations during crisis. He has worked with industries to reframe the national debate over issues including Medicare, climate change, digital movie and music piracy, and, most recently, lead in Chinese imports. And he has worked with a range of companies on corporate social responsibility efforts relating to the environment, public health, and labor standards.

Michael's strategic analysis builds on insights from his unique combination of expertise: battle-tested communications experience combined with a deep understanding of public opinion. He has conducted hundreds of research projects in over 20 countries using his firm's trademarked polling and focus group methodology, lauded by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, "60 Minutes," "Nightline," and PBS's "Frontline," among others.

Additional clients that have sought Michael's counsel include FedEx, Morgan Stanley, Procter & Gamble, UBS and The Walt Disney Company. He has also worked with a wide range of industry associations including the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturer's Association, the Personal Care Products Council, the Direct Marketing Association, and the New Orleans tourism industry.

Prior to being named President of ml+p, Michael founded MarketResearch.com, a leading market intelligence company where he served as president and remains on the Board. Previously, he led a distinguished career as a corporate attorney with Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz.

Michael is a graduate of Columbia University Law School and the University of Pennsylvania. He lives in New York City with his wife and two children.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
5 star
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4 star
17%
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See all 23 customer reviews
Michael and his team nailed it with this book.
Christopher Swink
I recommend not only senior level managers to read this book, but also anyone who has the responsibility to deal with customers, even internal ones.
Amazon Customer
It was easy to read with information that fit with my work well.
M. Bryant

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Michael Margolis on May 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The Language of Trust reads like a manual for communicating complex issues in an environment of growing cynicism. It's got a nice balance of principles, working examples, and research-driven insights. The book includes lots of topical coverage of perception challenges faced by financial services, the environment, healthcare, energy, and policy campaigns, to name some of the industries covered.

The book presents a unique perspective, I think probably most relevant for corporate communicators and industry trade groups. As a business storyteller myself, I was most fascinated with the sections that dealt with shifting perceptions and that everybody has competing versions of the truth. As Maslansky describes, too often we lead with "our truth" instead of trying to frame a story that will connect to "their truth" - how our audience sees and experiences the world. That one insight, explored in depth makes the book a valued addition to my library.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

PART ONE: THE NEW LANGUAGE OF TRUST
1. America's Post-Trust Era
2. It All Starts with Words

PART TWO: THE FOUR PRINCIPLES OF CREDIBLE COMMUNICATIONS
3. Be Personal
4. Be Plainspoken
5. Be Positive
6. Be Plausible

PART THREE: THE NEW WORD ORDER
7. Getting to Listen: Engaging Before Discussion
8. It's Not About You: Putting Their Interests Before Yours
9. That's Not What I Meant: Context Before Specifics

PART FOUR: THE MEDIUM AND THE MESSAGE
10. The Language of Trust in a Digital World
11. The Anti-Trust Laws: Twenty Banned Phrases

The content in each chapter is filled with both principles and working examples.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Brendan Ziolo on May 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This review is similar to the one posted to my blog: Dude, It's Marketing ([...]).

It's no surprise that language and words play a key role in making your message credible and engaging to your audience. Michael Maslansky and his co-authors, Scott West, Gary DeMoss, and David Saylor, do a great job explaining just how important language is to selling your product or service in their new book, The Language of Trust: Selling Ideas in a World of Skeptics.

It's always been surprising to me that so few companies spend much time and money on crafting the messages and communications they use for their business. Michael presents a compelling case for why this is absolutely crucial to your business in an era where "trust is dead".

But more important than an analysis of the post-trust era in America, Michael talks about the Four Principles of Credible Communications (Be Personal, Be Plainspoken, Be Positive, Be Plausible) and the New Word Order (Engagement, Theirs Before Yours, Context). It is these two sections that are an absolute goldmine for anyone looking to create new messages or improve the communications of their organization.

Michael explains how changing the language you use is hard and that these principles may run counter to what you've done before, and believe still works, but there is little doubt after you read the book that you do need to change your language in a world of skeptics. You can no longer rely on the facts and hope to change the view held by your audience as the facts can mean different things to different people. You need to approach the language you use from your audience's perspective and use the Four Principles.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Adam D. Kamenstein on May 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book not only helps you think better about what you plan to say, but about what you are aleady saying in your creative copy, your social media, your industry outreach, and elsewhere. I approached this book as a "skeptic," if not entirely a cynic, but came away a firmly convinced believer that the author, Maslansky, has laid out an insightful playbook for how to communcate with maximum impact accross a broad range of topics, audiences and media. I highly recommend this book to anyone selling a product, an idea, or themself.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Thayer Fox on May 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I've read a lot of public relations books throughout my career and most spend a chapter or less on messaging. This is the only book I've read dedicated solely to message development. Not only does it give this crucial PR element its due respect, but it also provides the tools to develop messages the right way. And the author provides the insight that helps you internalize these ideas - instead of simply providing a checklist.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By K. Shapiro on May 17, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As I professional services provider who has to communicate effectively with successful, intelligent, skeptical and wealthy clientele, I have often been frustrated that my efforts to offer advice to clients that is truly in their best interest are often initially looked upon so skeptically by those we are trying to help. This book did a masterful job of helping me to understand why people think in this manner and how we can better communicate our ideas to them in a style that will resonate with them allowing them to more easily accept and act upon our advice. This book has been a revelation and I am sharing it with all the people on my team.
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