Posts tagged: Likeability

Trash Your Competition Bad Idea

angry womanI tend to follow marketing people on Facebook, and for the most part they do a great job promoting themselves as experts in their field. Every once in a while however, someone uploads a post that does more harm to their reputation than good. Let me give you an example.

Talk Trash

Recently, one of the marketing people I follow uploaded a post trashing a competitor. She didn’t name the competitor, but she made a big deal as to how unqualified this individual was with respect to teaching a certain subject. It was clear that her intent was to promote her credibility as the expert while trashing the expertise of her competition. Bad idea. In doing so, she lowered herself in the eyes of many of her followers.

This Was My Intent … Really

I’m certain that if you asked her what her intent was with the post, she would tell you that she wanted to warn people not to fall pray to unqualified service providers. Problem was, that’s not how the post came across to me or to most of her readers. It read as though she had an axe to grind with this individual and this was her way of trashing them while promoting herself as the guru.

Now, if you were to read the comments her followers made concerning her post, you would think that she is a goddess who can do no wrong. Unfortunately, the only people who commented on her post where her acolytes who gave here a false sense that what she did was OK. It wasn’t, and here’s why. Read more »

Generating Likeability Through The Mail

Thank You Note

You’ve Got Mail

I fully intended to sit down this morning and write an article on likeability when my day was interrupted by the mailman. Up until that time, everything was perfect. The article was titled and mind mapped (which is a right brained way to do an outline) and anxiously awaiting to be organized into an entertaining piece of classical literature. But as I mentioned above, the mailman interrupted my day.

Among the bills, marketing postcards and fan mail was a note addressed to me from Darbee Fisher. Darbee is a real estate agent for Keller Williams here on Maui. I met her for the first time ten days ago when my son Josh and I went to their office to teach the agents how to generate leads using advanced blogging techniques. Knowing that Josh was a full time Internet marketer and computer repair technician, Darbee hired him to repair her computer.

Here’s the note I received which was addressed to Bob and Susan Sommers Read more »

I’m Your Customer And I Want To Say Thank You

fountainpenI’m your customer and I want to you to know that I like you and I like doing business with you.

Some of my reasons may sound a little odd, and to tell you the truth I don’t fully understand them myself, but I assure you my comments are sincere.

  1. I like you because you like me. You are the only supplier who has ever taken the time to send me a personal note stating how you feel.
  2. I like you because you are like me in so many ways. We share common beliefs and experiences. Because of this I know you understand me better than any other supplier.
  3. I like you because you are an expert at what you do. I know I can count on you to provide me with accurate information saving me time and money.
  4. I like you because you don’t take yourself to seriously. You can laugh at yourself and that makes me comfortable to be around you.
  5. I like you because I feel happy when I’m with you. I look forward to seeing you and hearing from you because you make me feel joyful when I’m with you. You make me laugh.
  6. I like you because you pay attention to how you present yourself. You take care of yourself and it gives me confidence that you are taking care of my business at the same time.
  7. I like you because you are genuine. I never feel like you are putting on airs or trying to be someone you’re not. I trust you.
  8. I like you because you associate with others that I admire. I do judge people by the company they keep, and you keep good company.
  9. I like you because I like to associate with people other people admire. I feel special when I am in your presence.
  10. I like you because you are attentive to my needs. You take the time to ask pertinent questions before offering a solution. You care.
  11. I like you because you’re courteous. You respect my time and space and you always let me know how much you appreciate my business.
  12. I like you because I know you’re on my team. I can count on you to be there when I need you.
  13. I like you because you give me the opportunity to do things for you too. You’ve done so much for me. It makes me feel good about myself when you allow me to do something as simple as buy your lunch.
  14. Most importantly, I like you because I like me best when I’m with you. You make me feel smart and interesting and funny and wise. This is your greatest gift.

And because I like you, I want to see you succeed. I want to buy what you’re selling and refer you to everyone I know. I’m delighted to go out of my way to add to your success.

Thank you for making it so easy for me to like you and to do business with you.

Signed, Your customer

Author: Bob Sommers

Are We Really Attracted To Competent People

drAll things being equal, experts generally agree that we tend to like competent people especially when they become relevant in our lives. This includes our parents, teachers, doctors, electrician, investment broker, auto mechanic, etc. The opposite is also true. As much as we are attracted to competent people, we are repelled from people who are candidates for the Darwin Awards.

When you become relevant in a person’s life, they will like you more or less based on your level of competence in the area where you’re relevant. If you’re an auto mechanic, they will judge you on your knowledge of cars. If you’re a teacher, they will judge you on your knowledge of the subject you teach and your ability to teach that subject. If you’re a potential spouse, they will judge you on a whole host of factors, none of which you’ll be able to live up to of course.

Here are a few things you can do to build your competence and likeability.

Do what you do better than anyone else

Walt Disney was supposedly quoted as saying, “Do what you do so well, that people want to see you do it again. And not only do they want to see you do it again, but they want to show their friends what it is that you do so well.”

People who are experts in their field, don’t just act like experts, they are the experts. They do what they do so well that they create an overwhelming demand for their time and their service. They become trusted and well liked celebrities in their field.

Become an expert in your field

studyEarl Nightingale, the inspirational author of “The Strangest Secret,” noted that anyone could become an expert in a very short time. His premise was that if you focused on learning any single subject for one hour a day every day for a year, it would be the equivalent of going to class for eight hours a day, five days a week for almost two and a half months. If you did the same thing for five years, it would be the equivalent of going to class every day for a year.

According to Earl Nightingale, if you dedicated just one hour a day to the study of your passion, you would quickly find yourself in the top one tenth of one percent in your field in a very short time. And today, with universal access to the Internet, there is virtually no reason you can’t achieve that level of expertise even without going back to school.

Look the part

People who are experts in their field look the part. Batman, Wonder Woman and Spider-Man are all good examples. They’re believable characters because they dress like you would expect a superhero to dress. If you don’t look the part, people are not going to find you credible.

It’s important to note that even superheros don’t wear their superhero outfits day and night. They play off-duty roles including newpaper reporter, freelance photographer and multi-millionaires. They dress the part when they want to project the part, even they’re involved in everyday activities. That’s why I wear a suit and tie when I give public presenations and a Superman cape when I go to county to pick-up my meds. I’m teasing of course, I don’t acturally wear a suit and tie. How silly.

batmanThere is a huge credibility gap when people or things don’t look like what you expect them to look like. You may remember the crash of Value Jet flight 592 on May 11, 1996. The flight was en route from Miami to Atlanta (a route I often flew) when the low cost carrier went down in the Everglades killing all 110 people on board. The thing that immediately stuck me when I heard about the accident was a promise I made to myself just a few months earlier.

After seeing a Value Jet cartoon logo painted on the tail of their planes, I made a promise that I would not fly Value Jet no matter how deeply they discounted their fares. I found it difficult to place my trust and my life in an airline that used a cartoon as their mascot. It conveyed a feeling of cheap and dangerous, not the feeling of safe and secure that you would expect from an airline. As it turned out, my intuition was right.

Speak the Part

One of the easiest ways to look smart is to not look stupid. Mark Twain is quoted as saying, “It’s better to keep silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” This is great advice that has been ignored by well-known American political figures for years.

Here are a few examples of stupid things people have said that didn’t do much for enhancing their perception with the American public.

“If Lincoln were alive today, he’d roll over in his grave.”
Gerald Ford

“Outside of the killings, Washington D.C. has one of the lowest crime rates in the country.”
Mayor Marion Barry

“This is a great day for France.”
President Richard Nixon attending Charles de Gaulle’s funeral

“It’s wonderful to be here in the great state of Chicago.”
V.P Dan Quayle

If you’re not an expert on the subject being discussed, don’t try to pretend that you are an expert. There is nothing more irritating and off-putting than listening to someone speak with authority who has no knowledge of the subject. Have you ever watched a Congressional hearing on TV? Point, match, game!

And, if you do or say something that looks or sounds stupid, don’t try to hide it. No one likes a person who takes him or herself too seriously. On the contrary, we do like people who can laugh at themselves when they make a mistake.

Professional debaters understand this principle better than anyone. Here are the rules followed by the great debaters and politicians of our time.

  • Don’t say anything stupid.
  • Talk about what you know.
  • Don’t say anything stupid.

There is a time to share what you know and there is a time to ask questions. Smart, competent people know the difference, and you do too.

Likeability Is A Journey Not A Destination

illustrationThe state of Hawaii (and most other states) will not issue a drivers license to anyone until they’ve attend an approved driving class, driven 50 hours on a temporarily permit with a qualified driver and passed a comprehensive written exam and an on-road driving test. Then, in order to keep your license, you must be able to prove to the police and other drivers that you understand and practice the rules of the road. But, there are absolutely no rules or training required by the state if you want to have and raise children.

Now, I’m not advocating that people should be required by law to get a child-license before being allowed to have children or that we as a community should not require drivers to prove themselves worthy before giving them the keys to a car. What I am suggesting is that there are life skills that are much more important to our success and happiness than driving a car, and we do virtually nothing to learn these skill ourselves, or teach them to our children.

Happiness, Health and Longevity

1150341_fast_carStudy after study shows that likable children and likable adults are happier, healthier and they live longer than their counterparts. These studies do not show the same results for smart people or rich people even though these are the skills we emphasis in school. Again, there is nothing wrong with being smart and rich; both are great. But imagine if you could be smart and rich and happy and healthy and live a longer more productive life at the same time. That sounds like success.

No one is born likable. The gods do not descend from the heavens and bestow the gift of happiness, health and longevity through likeability onto any of us.

We are not taught how to be likable in school even though the skill is easy to teach and immensely valuable. As far as I know, not a single school system in the country has made it a priority to teach this life skill to their students.

Imitation is the mother of learning

We learn how to be likable through imitating others including our parents, friends and teachers. We watch what they’re doing, we see the results of their behavior and we imitate them to the best of our ability. And this is as it should be, but there’s a better way.

The things that make people likable are not always easy to understand. You may like someone based on how they look or how they look at you, or dislike them for something as silly as their skin color, their accent or their political views. The reasons people like or dislike you don’t always make sense and they’re seldom politically correct.

wheelchairWe dislike the people we hurt

For example, we tend to dislike the people we hurt, even if we hurt them on accident. This helps explains why people who are taken to the hospital after a car accident seldom hear from the person who caused the accident. As time goes on, the person who caused the accident will justify why they hit the other person and mentally make it their fault. In the process they will also come to dislike this person for causing them inconvenience and mental anguish even though the person they hurt was not at fault and is enduring much greater pain.

Learning how to be likable is a journey. You can only start from where you are today and more forward from there. Here are the four things you can do to begin your journey immediately.

Step One

Start by understanding that being likable is not a selfish act. You will soon discover that the most likable people in the world have a knack for helping people like themselves. They do it in many different ways, and none of them are selfish.

Step Two

The second thing you’ll have to get comfortable with is that people are going to treat you differently. Once you develop the reputation for being likable, you’ll start to notice that everyone around you will like you back. They will try to hire you, buy from you, work for you, befriend you and refer you to their friends. Your life will be different, better.

Step Three

Next, it’s important to understand that there are dozens of reasons people will like you, and they are all based on how you make people feel about themselves. Take a good hard look at the people you like and list why you like them. Some of your reasons are going to look ridiculous but it doesn’t matter. If you can identify a reason why you like someone, there is a good chance others are going to like you for the same reason.

It’s just as important, and maybe even more important to identify the characteristics of the people you don’t like. Pay very close attention and avoid coming across in the same way. It could be how they smell, how they look at you, how they treat other people, etc. Identify their unlikable characteristic and eliminate it from your personality.

Likeability is a Game … Know the rules

Likeability is a game you play with people every minute of every day and the winner takes home all the chips. The best part of this game is that everyone you play with will share in your reward. If you’re going to play the game, and you are, you might as well understand the rules and use them to your advantage.

Sell Yourself First And Your Product Will Follow

My wife Susan and I rarely watch TV, but when we do we have an unspoken rule that allows us to enjoy our time together. If she sits down first, we watch what she wants to watch. If I sit down first, we watch what she wants to watch. Simple, and eminently fair according to Susan.

Last night we were watching a show about a wedding cake competition. (She sat down first.) The premise of the show was to determine who among the five bakers was able to create the best cake to be judged by the happy couple who would be serving the cake at their wedding.

How Much?!!!

To start, I had no idea that a wedding cake can cost well into the thousands of dollars. You heard me right … thousands of dollars. This just turned into a serious competition. As the show progressed, the couple walked from station to station talking to the bakers, expressing their thoughts, wishes and concerns about their cake. Now remember, the winner of this competition was going to walk away with a check for $5,000 and the losers were going home with $15 worth of eggs, milk, butter and flour. Game on!

I am not a professional wedding cake judge. I really don’t know what makes one wedding cake better than another. I would probably base my decision of which baker offered the best financing. What I am capable of judging however is the likability of each contestant, and here’s what I discovered.

What’s The difference?

As far as I could tell all the cakes looked great. One was as pretty as the next. The only significant difference was the interaction between the couple and the people eager to receive a check written in their name.

Now you would have thought that all the contestants would have treated the couple with respect. You would have been wrong. And just as I had expected, the baker who was the least likable was the first to be eliminated. And the person who won the competition was the most likable. No surprise here.winner

Likability matters. Did you know that the presidential candidate who had the highest likability rating with the American people has won every general election since JFK won in 1960? There are also dozens of studies that found that likable people are more likely to get a job, keep a job and move ahead in that job. They’re happier, healthier and they live longer.

So, if you believe the statistics, getting elected and winning a wedding cake competition is not about political issues or cakes, it’s about being liked. But how do you become likable? Here’s the answer!

How Do You Make People Like You

If you want to be liked by others, you must focus your attention on helping people like themselves first. It’s that simple. If you can help people like themselves, they will like you in return.

Unfortunately, most of the bakers did not understand that winning is not just about creating a beautiful wedding cake. Winning is about creating a beautiful environment where your customer feels liked, appreciated and confident that you will listen to them and pay attention to their opinions. If not, you’ll be walking home alone with your eggs, milk, butter, flour and an empty check book.

I would love to hear how being likable has impacted your success. Please comment below.

Name Tags That Initiate Conversation

I first saw the idea implemented while visiting the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee. It was pure genius. There was a steady stream of guests waiting to check-in to the hotel who were all cheerfully greeted by friendly front desk clerks wearing name tags. But these were no ordinary name tags. They had a magical quality about them that transformed the attitude of each and every guest.

Erin – Cork Ireland

Everyone working at the hotel wore a name tag with their first name and the name of the city and country they called home. “Chris – Marietta, GA” “Dennis – St. Louis, MO” “Erin – Cork, Ireland.” Guest after guest approached the counter with a smile and a comment about the employee’s hometown. “I went to high school in Marietta.” A guest yelled from down the counter. “How about those St. Louis Cardinals? I think they’re going to win the pennant again this year. What do you think?” Another guest roared.

There were people who had waited in line for over 20 minutes and had allowed others to move ahead of them so they could talk to a clerk from the city of their choice.

Scott Ginsberg

The Opryland Hotel is not the only place on earth that understands the value of a name tag. There’s a young man named Scott Ginsberg from my home town of St. Louis (I know that because I saw it on his name tag) who has been wearing a name tag 24/7 for over 2,500 days in a row. Scott was so impressed with the results of wearing a name tag that he had it tattooed to his chest. He even wrote a book about it entitled, Hello, My Name is Scott.

We like people who are like us

We like people who have the same interests, the same background and the same experiences. We like these people because they validate us. They make us feel good about who we are, where we came from and what we’re doing with our lives. They identify with us at a level no one else can possibly understand which creates a heightened level of attraction. And the more unique the similarity, the greater the perception of understanding. Let me give you an example.

I live on the island of Maui in Hawaii with my family. When I’m on island I don’t start a conversation with everyone I see wearing a Maui t-shirt. On the contrary, when I’m in St. Louis visiting my family, I’ll track down a complete stranger wearing a piece of Maui clothing and strike up a conversation about Hawaii. I’ve gone so far as to invite a handful of these people to my home when they visit Hawaii. I’ve never invited my dentist or letter carrier to my home, but I’ve invited a complete stranger just because he or she was wearing a Road To Hana t-shirt in a place other than Maui. What’s up with that?

There Are Only Two Ways

There are only two ways you’re going to unearth common ground with people. Either they’re going to tell you something about themselves or you’re going to disclose something about yourself to them. And not every piece of personal information shared is going to resonate with everyone. It’s a numbers game well worth playing. But don’t wait for the other person to make the first move.

Likeability Magnet

They won’t do it. You need to take the risk and reveal something unique about yourself first. Here’s what I suggest. The next time you’re at a convention or party or social function, convert your name tag into a likeability magnet. Add a simple word or phrase to your name tag that discloses something about yourself that will generate conversation.

Over the years my name tags have included: Fireman, SLUH, SWM, New Father, Bart Simpson, St. Louis Cardinals, UMR, Atlas Shrugged, 5 miles/day, 18#, Atlanta, Mizzou, hemorrhoids and Ten days to go. Each word, number or phrase was intended to make it easier for people to start a conversation with me and to attract people with similar interests, and it worked.

Who knows, one day you may be at a convention wearing your new name tag and someone might just walk up to you and say, “Hey, I just had a colonoscopy too. Let’s do lunch.” And maybe, just maybe, that stranger will be me.

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