I get a lot of feedback from my tips, and appreciate and respond to each email personally. A friend (thanks Bill!) dropped me a note recently to remind me of one of the best-selling business books of all time, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. Published in 1936, it has sold more than 15 million copies, and spawned a self-help empire. In 2011, Time put it #19 on it’s 100 most influential books list. If you haven’t read it, do so.
While it’s always a mistake to seek to be liked, being likable is important, and should be a goal of every leader.
So, here are some of Carnegie’s steps to make yourself likable. The steps are his, the comments are mine:
It was my job recently to tell a guy that he needed to smile more because he intimidated people. To prove my point, I took him in front of a mirror, and asked him to strike his characteristic pose; unsmiling, arms crossed. Then I asked him what a stranger would conclude from his expression. He didn’t have to answer because he actually scared himself! Most of us have RBF (resting b**** face). Stand in front of a mirror, relax your face, and tell me I’m wrong. Smile!
- Encourage others to talk about themselves
In my job I do a lot of listening, and I find that the best feedback I receive on my conversational skills are when I say almost nothing. I just ask questions, let the other person talk, and lap up the accolades that I so richly deserve (!) when our conversation is done.People don’t care much about listening to others. They want to talk; they want to be heard. Give them that opportunity. Ask more and more questions. Show genuine interest. This is one of the most important gifts you can give to another person.Let them talk about their interests, not about yours. Let them know that you care about what they’re saying. They’ll be stunned at what a great conversationalist you are.
- Make the other person feel important
I’m not talking about false flattery. I am talking about being interested enough to find out what that person contributes to the world, showing interest in it, and letting them know that their contribution is an important one.I don’t believe that the CEO is more important than the forklift operator. Without the much-maligned car salesman, the CEO of GM would have zero power. Without the person running the backhoe, the developer would have nothing to sell.Everyone plays an important role, and you can help everyone see that. If you can show them that they’re important, they’ll be eternally grateful to you.Those are just 3 simple Carnegie principles. Use them this week to make a difference in your relationships. And… read the book!