Thoughtscape: Thoughts and Tips from Mike Clayton


Issue 11


  Stronger Impact:
How to Win an Argument
    News and views



Dear %1

On 4 October, I am working with colleague Angela Marshall, of Appearance Management to create a unique half-day business seminar.  I hope you will want to attend or, if you cannot, pass on this invitation to a friend or colleague.  Details are below the tips.

One of the best ways to make a stronger business impact is to cultivate the skills of how to win arguments.  As a warm-up for the Stronger Impact seminar, here are seven techniques you can use.

1. Emotion
Don't allow yourself to get caught up in the emotion of an argument - it will rob you of some of your ability to think clearly.  Instead, take a few deep breaths, draw yourself into a strong confident posture, root your feet to the floor, and feel a sense of calm.

2. Evidence
"Take nothing on its looks; take everything on evidence. There's no better rule." says the lawyer, Jaggers, in Great Expectations.  With hard facts, your argument will be solid, and hard to counter.  Prepare your case with data, statistics, references and citations.

3. Reason
A logical argument can move your opponent one small, compelling step at a time from a shared premise to your conclusion, with minimal friction.  Make each step small and irrefutable.  For the technically minded, the small but fascinating "
Rulebook for Arguments" is an Amazon slow-burn best-seller for under a fiver.

4. Questions
Asking the right question at the right time can give you an instant win, as your opponent realises the truth.  Better still, a question is not an argument, so you won't be seen to be arguing.  Ever since Socrates, clever questioning has been seen as a paradigm of wisdom.

5. Listening
When your opponent is arguing, you will  be tempted to formulate your next counter, as they speak.  Don't!  Listen to what they say: not only is it more respectful, preventing an escalation of conflict; but you may hear something unexpected that will help you move your argument forward.

6. Personalisation
The other thing you may hear is a clue to how your opponent thinks and how they like to express themself.  Use this to couch your argument in terms that are best calculated to get your message through, loud and clear.

7. Being Right
It always helps to be right.  Socrates demolished the Sophists in debate, for their willingness to argue a point with skilful rhetoric, regardless of the merits of the argument.  Never succumb to that temptation outside a formal debating room.  Sometimes, you will realise that you missed a point and were wrong: so the only way to be right is to change your mind, admit you were wrong, and agree gracefully.


For more information:

Brilliant Influence, and the Handling Resistance Pocketbook


Stronger Impact


Portraying the right professional image and understanding how to influence colleagues and clients can give a huge boost to your
business and personal effectiveness

Do you want practical strategies and techniques that:

  • make prospects more likely to buy from you

  • mean clients and customers look to you for advice

  • boost your chances of promotion

  • enhance your performance at interview

  • help you get a "yes" when you ask for help or a favour

In two 75 minute seminars, Mike Clayton will speak on business influence and how to present a persuasive argument, and Angela Marshall will explain how having the right professional image and business etiquette will give a great boost to your profile.

You will also receive a complimentary copy of Mike’s book, "Brilliant Influence", and Angela’s book, "Being Truly You" ("for Men" or 
"for Women"

Please join us at Fetcham Park House, on
4 October 2011, 9am for 9:30.

The right image gets the right results
You will learn:

  1. How to differentiate yourself to create a positive impact

  2. Which aspects of your appearance to focus on so people notice you
    and are impressed by you

  3. How your clothes can reinforce or undermine your personality

  4. Why fit and grooming really matter and how to adapt them to
    formal and informal situations

  5. The modern rules of business manners and etiquette

  6. How to be a charming host and a gracious guest at business events

  7. Wardrobe secrets from a professional – for professionals

Business is all about influence and persuasion, from securing that vital contract to managing your team.

You will learn:

  1. The four secrets of instant impact

  2. Assertiveness techniques to get what you want

  3. The three essential behaviours that create powerful trust in your audience

  4. How to structure a compelling and persuasive argument

  5. Three ways to use language to connect with your audience

  6. Basic platform skills to deliver your message with power

  7. How to handle objections

Angela Marshall
Angela Marshall is one of the UK’s leading image consultants. Since 1995 she has worked with all manner of clients including blue-chip companies like Barclays Bank, Deloitte, BG, Shell, politicians and other professionals to enhance their personal image, etiquette and manners.

Regarded as an expert in her field, learn more about Angela here.

Mike Clayton
Dr Mike Clayton spent 12 years with Deloitte Consulting, before setting up his own training businesses. Now, Mike speaks to business audiences about influence, persuasion, decision-making and project management. 

An author of six books to date, learn more about Mike here.

The Seminar will be on Tuesday 4 October,
and starts at 9:30.

Refreshments will be available from 9am and we do encourage you to arrive early to enjoy our fabulous Fetcham Park House venue.

When you book the seminar, you will also put aside for you, your complimentary copies of Brilliant Influence and Being Truly You in your choice of "for Men" or "for Women" edition (Together worth £26.98).

Your investment for the seminar and two books is just £95 plus VAT.  If you have a colleague who also wants to attend, you can book two seats, with books for each of you, for £145.

Full details and booking are on our website,



Stronger Impact
Colleague Angela Marshall of Appearance Management and I had a great planning session, and our one-off seminar in October is really taking shape:

How to Make a Stronger Impact
when Selling and Presenting

It will be from 9am to 1pm on 4 October, at Fetcham Park House in Surrey.  I will speak on business influence and how to present a persuasive argument, and Angela will explain how having the right professional image and business etiquette will give a great boost to your profile.

You will also get complimentary copies of my book, Brilliant Influence, and Angela's book, Being Truly You in the men's or women's edition.

More information and booking alternatives are on the Stronger Impact website and also below the main article to the left, in this newsletter.


Stress Management

Brilliant Stress Management is out now and Brilliant Book of the Month at WH Smith travel bookshops, so if you are flying around the UK, you should see it on sale.  It is my sixth book.

Brilliant Stress Management
Order Here

Risk Happens!

Risk Happens!
Managing Risk and Avoiding Failure in Business Projects

Risk Happens! is selling well.  One reader I have never met emailed me to say:

"I am am a PM of 10+ years standing and I have never found such a concise read on risk management that provided so much valuable information."

Order Here

Risk Happens! includes 60 invaluable tables and checklists, and 57 figures and diagrams. There is a full list on the Risk Happens! website, along with  downloads of risk management tools.

Brilliant Project Leader will be my next book, and I got the proofs in the post today.  This is a wider amplification of much of the material in my Practical Project Management Seminar.

Brilliant Project Leader
6 December


September Seminar Dates
Attend the seminars:
Practical Project Management (morning) and
Risk Happens! Control Risk and Avoid Failure in Organisational Projects (afternoon)
in London on 28 September

We have added three extra dates for my new seminar, The Three-hour MBA (afternoons) along with
Brilliant Time Management (mornings), in September.  These are on:

  • 14 September: London
    RIBA in Portland Place

  • 22 September: Manchester
    Renaissance Hotel

  • 29 September: Birmingham
    Copthorne Hotel

All of my seminar dates are on my website, and you can book by calling 01227 252100.





My focus this year ...
... is on writing, responding to press enquiries, and new speaking engagements.  If you know a conference organiser who is looking for an engaging speaker with great testimonials, please do send them to my website:  If you need a speaker now, just contact me using the links below, or the contact form on my website.  You can download my speaker pack here.

Best regards


I recognise you get a lot of email and I don't want to add unwanted inbox clutter.  I intend to give useful tips and thoughts, but if you don't wish to get any more, I will understand, so just click the "no more emails" link and they'll stop.

Many thanks

    Please contact me ...
... Tel: 08456 441349
... on Twitter @mikeclayton01

Click on the banner to learn about our fantastic event...

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© Mike Clayton, 2011