Everyone’s selling something — maybe it’s selling a company’s products to skeptical buyers, maybe it’s “selling” our personality to the man or woman we hope to have a relationship with. Whatever we hope to sell, not all of us are good at closing the deal. We give in to our nerves or sabotage our important messages with conflicting signals that turn off the person on the other side of the table. How do we get better?

Power Cues by Nick Morgan offers some suggestions. The title is a bit of a misnomer, as Morgan isn’t really giving you a handful of gestures or phrases that connote power. Instead, he’s trying to get you into alignment, so that your attitude, your words, your non-verbal signals, and even your voice are in harmony. Put it all together and you have a consistent message that helps you get more of what you want.

Some of what you read in Power Cues will probably be old hat — most of us know we are sending signals with our bodies as much as with our words, for example — but Morgan does offer a different spin on many topics. The message that resonated most with me is Morgan’s call for authenticity. “Fake it ’til you make it” rarely works, because people can’t fake it for long. The real you will come through, so if you have not sold yourself on the words you are saying, you can’t expect to keep up the energy and enthusiasm that it takes to convince others. Some part of you will betray your message.

However, many times we are sold on our message yet still sabotage ourselves through our nerves or simply our weak patterns of communicating. Morgan discusses various tactics we can use to get people on our side, from subtle mimicry of the other person to working on commanding your voice. None of these skills is learned overnight, however, so you really have to be willing to put some work in to use them effectively. In fact, Power Cues is less about manipulating through small tactics and more about getting yourself to a place where these tactics are second nature. If you’re thinking to yourself, “Now I’m going to lower my voice for the big finish,” you’re probably not fully focused on the task at hand, and perhaps not being completely honest with the person you’re trying to convince.

Morgan offers some enlightening Power Cues but no shortcuts — practice, practice, practice to make them work for you.

— By Adam Jusko Follow KM Credit Money on Twitter