Saturday, August 13, 2011
The 11 Laws of Likability: Relationship Networking. . . Because People Do Business With People They Like, by Michelle Tillis Lederman--A Review
AMACOM, ISBN 9780814416372, September 2011
How can you network more effectively? Be more likable.
And while that may seem a bit flip, it really is the key. As Lederman says, "People do business with people they like." If you are not likable and reliable, people will find someone else to do business with.
The good news: you can learn how to be more likable, how to make your likability more visible and apparent to others, and Lederman provides a nifty little primer for getting started. And she starts with a personal revelation: Some years back, when she was giving a presentation to students on, amongst other things, making sure every professional interaction has a clear purpose or goal, she asked them what they thought her purpose in that presentation was--and one student said, "You want us to like you." In the moment, she thought to was a ridiculous answer; of course she wasn't concerned about being liked! The comment stuck with her, though, and over time she realized that, in fact, not only do we all want to be liked, but being liked is essential to networking effectively, both personally and professionally. In the years that followed, a growing understanding of what makes us likable and how it works for us led to the need to articulate these lessons for others.
Reduced to its basics, Lederman's advice is: Be yourself. Be nice to yourself: don't say rude, harsh, demeaning things to yourself, but rather use positive self-talk to keep your confidence up and your outlook positive. Be curious; show your interest in learning about others, and offer information about yourself. Finding common interests and common experiences helps to build connections. Always have the conversation--be open to meeting people and talking even if it's not clear what you can do for each other. Be helpful; if you can share information, make a connection, share a relevant personal experience, do it. Don't worry about whether the person will ever be able to reciprocate. Being generous isn't just its own reward; it helps make the world better. And you never know when the person you help may be able to help either you or someone else, in the future. Speak up: Don't be afraid to give compliments. And if something is making it hard for you to focus on the person you're talking to, let them know, so that they don't think it's disinterest in or annoyance with them. Be patient; it takes time to build relationships.
That's the very, very simplified version. Michelle Lederman has a lot more to share, personal experiences both professional and social, as well as tips, exercises, and self-assessment quizzes to help you evaluate your own likability, and work on increasing it. This is not "remake your personality and change your life in thirty days;" this is real, practical advice with reminders not to try to change too much at once--to be patient and work with realistic goals for mastering new skills.
There's a lot to work on here, but as a reading experience, it's well-written and flows easily. You can and should take plenty of time to work on the information and skills offered here, but you won't bog down on your first read through to take in the basics and get a sense of where you want to start first on the those exercises.
I received a free electronic galley of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.