Thursday, May 12, 2016

I like you so I’m going to hire you.

Last week I attended a presentation that purported to give you an edge when dealing with others. When I left the presentation, however, I wasn’t thinking about how interesting the topic had been or whether it was something I wanted to implement myself. Because my impression was that the speaker was self-absorbed and a bit of a braggart, despite the compelling nature of the subject matter, I was relatively uninterested in learning more about it. Maybe that’s harsh, but it brought home to me that being “likeable”* when you’re trying to sell something—an idea, a product; really, anything—may be more important that I’d initially thought.  

As a rule (to which there are, of course, exceptions), people will do business with people they like.

This seems painfully obvious, but it’s a powerful tool in sales and therefore shouldn’t be overlooked. If a customer likes you, according to this article, they are likely willing to pay more and will be more lenient on timeframes for delivery. Even if you’re not a “salesperson,” being likeable in the workplace means you’re more likely to be hired, to find it easier to get help, to garner more information, and to have mistakes forgiven.

Part of me scoffs at this whole “likeable” thing. It seems potentially manipulative. But upon reflection, it seems to me that a large part of being likeable has to do with whether you can connect with someone. And true connections can only be forged when there is sincerity and credibility. So if you can focus on being “real”—being truly engaged, caring, and true to yourself—as well as being knowledgeable about your subject matter, then I guess aiming for “likeability” may not be such a bad goal after all.

* Although I recognize that Merriam Webster prefers “likable” for the American audience, I’m pretending to be British for this one and am leaving in the “e.”

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