Like is a concept I have wrestled with for the greater part of my life. Not that I don’t understand the meaning of the word, I do. It is trying to get a grasp on the whole concept that keeps me somewhat mystified.
I once watched an eight year old boy walk into a room with other boys and girls, all around his age. A total of maybe nine or ten were gathered in the room. The gender split was roughly equal. Some were no doubt a little younger and others were older, but there was no huge age discrepancy. Before this young man entered, a couple were off playing by themselves, but most were gathered around two or three boys. They were laughing and talking and all seem to be at ease with one another.
Maybe at this point I should interject that these were not ordinary kids, they were all models and each one of them had been modeling for several years. They were out-going and completely comfortable making new acquaintances. When the eight year old boy I mentioned earlier entered the room the entire dynamics changed. Within a few short minutes every child was grouped around the eight year old and he was laughing and talking to them. He had established total control over the room. Even the couple of strays were brought into his sway.
As I witnessed this transformation I was dumb struck. He wasn’t dressed any differently. He did not possess a commanding voice, he was only eight. He didn’t say, “Hey you all, come over here.” Actually his demeanor was kind of shy. Yet every child gravitated to him. CEOs would pay dearly for his ability to command the room. What made this child so immediately likable?
This happened over thirty years ago and at times I still ponder what transpired in the room. What hidden talent, or mojo, or vibe did that eight year old boy possess that drew every one of those children to him like a magnet draws iron filings?
There is a new book published earlier this year by John Wiley & Sons, Inc entitled Likeonomics: The Unexpected Truth Behind Earning Trust, Influencing Behavior, and Inspiring Action. The author is Rohit Bhargava. His writings have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, the Guardian, Fast Company, NPR, and MarketingChina. His first book was Personality Not Included and has been translated into nine languages. For kicks and giggles he is Adjunct Professor of Marketing at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. So apparently the brother is extremely gifted in time management.
I haven’t completely finished the book yet, nor has he provided me with a complete understanding of the episode I witnessed thirty years ago, but I have read enough to realize he and I share many of the same convictions…only he writes much better than I do.
One of the first concepts he establishes is there is a real ROI on likeability He goes on to establish five key principles:
Yea, if you take each of the first letters it spells TRUST. At first I thought it bordered on hokie, and kind of still do, but it makes it easy to remember and drives home a very excellent point. His argument being if you are likeable then people will trust you. Being trust-worthy is the real key to standing out from the competing hoards.
I experienced this earlier this today. Susie and I are launching a new company. We are developing the content for a supremely radically different Women’s Professional Development Conference. We are incorporating acrobats, fire eaters, sword swallowers, magicians, shadow puppeteers, drama, contortionists, unicyclists, laundry dryers, and Barbie dolls into a power packed day long seminar that will leave women feeling Stronger, Better, & Ready For Whatever in their professional and private lives. Remember, I told you it was supremely radically different.
This afternoon I received a phone call from an international motivational speaker who (somehow) had heard about what we are doing. He was extremely impressed as I discussed our concepts and business plan with him. So much, that by the end of the conversation he said he wanted to mentor us and help take our message to the international market.
Our team is floored…to say the least. We never expected anything like this. We were thinking about how to take our message state-wide. He expanded our entire vision with just one phone call.
Now segue to later this evening. I RSVP’ed for a meeting of life coaches. This will be their first time meeting so everyone was encouraged to give a brief bio of themselves and their company. I wrote almost verbatim (plus some extra for more detail) what I wrote above. I described how our content empowered women to truly make changes in their lives. To be more successful and stretch their ideas of what was possible.
The response I received was this:
Is this a joke or what?
I guess I need to cultivate my believability more.
I’m going to go read another chapter.