Gideon Amichay: No is not an acceptable answer

(eTN) - After looking at scores of online reviews for NoNoNoNoNoYes written by Gideon Amichay (Gordon Books), everyone from marketing, advertising and public relations gurus to book reviewers overwhel

Gideon Amichay: No is not an acceptable answer

(eTN) – After looking at scores of online reviews for NoNoNoNoNoYes written by Gideon Amichay (Gordon Books), everyone from marketing, advertising and public relations gurus to book reviewers overwhelmingly offer rave commentary.

In a marketplace where NO is the default retort, how has Amichay been able to rack up all such positive responses?

Perhaps it is his ability to mix and mingle with the top of the food chain (I met him at a soiree at the home of the Israeli Counsel General / Ambassador). Perhaps it is his professional success (Amichay has won more industry accolades then Tiger Woods has trophies). Perhaps it is his boyish charm and soft-spoken approach in an industry where slick and suave or geeky and weird are personalities that populate the landscape. Perhaps it is the fact that he has taken the core frustration of every individual, put it through a Madison Avenue slicing and dicing machine, seized what is old and made it new again.

Old Message. New Delivery

Moving from No to Yes is not a new theme. Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton of the Harvard Negotiation Team wrote Getting to Yes in 1981 (Houghton Mifflin Company). Getting Past No was written ten years later by Roger Fisher and William Ury (Random House).

It appears that getting from no to yes is an objective that never goes out of fashion; however, Amichay, as a professional advertising executive and excellent story teller, has found the way to dust off an old message and sell it back to us as though we were hearing it and reading it for the first time.

Is No an Answer

The only time a NO is appreciated is when we did not want a YES in the first place. NO – it is raining and you really do not have to pick me at the airport at 2AM. NO you do not have to marry me although I am pregnant with your unborn child. NO you are not guilty of robbing the convenience store at gunpoint.

Most of the time our objective is to get a YES. YES your budget for $1.2 million is approved. YES your mortgage for your new coop is approved. YES I will marry you!

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We eagerly listen to Amichay tell us how he developed the resolve not to take no for an answer, and how he uses his finely tuned intelligence and Israeli magnetism to move mountains (when necessary) to get to the YES that he wants. He understands that getting to YES is not a straight line and he has the fortitude combined with his belief that he is ABSOLUTELY CORRECT that enables him to bounce from NO to NO until he gets what he is looking for – a YES!

The Switchback Road

His mother Rachel wanted him to be a doctor or a lawyer; he wanted to be a cartoonist. Born in Holon, a suburb near Tel Aviv, his wishes and dreams did not seem realistic. Although he was talented and studied at the Bezalel School of Art (1989) in New York, a career in cartooning and advertising was not a natural fit for a young Israeli. During his time in New York he weekly traipsed over to The New Yorker Magazine office with the intention of getting his cartoons published. Thanks to continued New Yorker rejections he learned that while a NO was unpleasant, it is not paralyzing. Instead of killing him it energized him, forcing him to be more creative, more insightful and increased his desire for YES. The good news is that The New Yorker finally did give him a YES (1995) and his famous cartoons are available for purchase on the magazine’s website.

Successful at Getting to Yes

Amichay graduated from Bezalel Art Academy, Jerusalem with a BA (Honors) in Graphic Design/Visual Communication (1990) and he was awarded an EMBA in Creative Leadership from the Berlin School of Creative Leadership (2008). Currently Amichay is based in New York City representing clients that include DOGTV USA, PANGO USA, 9/11 Memorial Museum New York, TIPA, AUDI – VW – SEAT – SKODA (Israel), Dream Pretzel – PRESSELS, Habaitta.com (Israel), Wikipedia (Israel), Channel 2 NEWS (Israel).

Required Reading

At the airport heading to a sales meeting, at the end of a long day when you feel that nothing has been accomplished, instead of picking up a coffee or a martini, pick up a copy of Amichay’s book. It inspires, motivates and will really make you feel better.

I plan to require all my college students to read NoNoNoNoNoYes as part of their semester requirements. One is never too young or too old to realize that “no is not an answer, it is just an obstacle.”

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