The Power of Smile for Professional Success

4 years ago
 

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Likeability is key to ongoing career success and advancement.

Many years ago in my first job I experienced what disruption a company merger/acquisition does to the acquired company's workforce. I worked in a larger, public company that was bought out by an even larger company. My boss was let go and replaced by some no-nothing, womanizer who had little experience or management know-how. It sucked. I remember the day he fired our very well liked boss. He let her go, asked her to clean up her things and leave. The same day he asked me if it was too soon to move into her office. I said, can you at least wait for tomorrow? We were all a little taken off guard by his callousness and his move into her office that same day did very little to fix his image. He told me oh get over it, it isn't person, it's just business.

Fast forward a few months, I had enough of his crap. And seconds after one of the other account managers left his office turning in her resignation, I walked in and did the same. He said to me, "I can't believe you are doing this, I thought we were friends." To which I smugly replied, "It isn't personal, its just business." IN YOUR FACE is what I was thinking, but knew better than to burn bridges.

I have read a lot of recent posts, books and articles about likeability in the work place. And oddly enough most recently experienced the termination of a person enlightening everyone else' spirits becuase they were not very well liked, and didn't make an attempt to change that. So if anyone thinks for once nothing is personal in business they are sorely mistaken. Most business decisions are made based on personal feelings and justified with business reason. That is the reason my husband and I just purchased a car from one dealership over the other, we liked the sales guy. It is the reason companies go to such great lengths to protect and build their image, they need to evoke a positive emotion from you so you continue to do business with them.

Whether you are in B2B or B2C it is all about the relationships you build and maintain. It is essentially getting people to like you first, then you can get them to be interested in your business. There is a reason word of mouth marketing is so popular and social media has become so powerful, because it is based on relationships. One thing I like to observe is the power of relationships on professional progression. Getting people to like you and respect you will open up more opportunities because people help who they like. I read a great article on likeability, "The Simple Step to Become a Remarkable Likeable Person."
In a nutshell it was be interested in the other person. Stop talking and start listening. Ask great questions that show you are listening and care about what someone is saying.

I have a few other tips to add for increasing your likeability factor, because business is personal and they do impact each other greatly:

1.) Smile - Simple right? I smile at everyone who walks in my office, I pass in the hall or see in a meeting. There is something so powerful about appearing happy that draws others to you.
2.) Ask people how are they doing. And listen. I hate when people ask a question then look off into space. Really listen. And, if you don't have time to don't ask. The most important factor in influencing others is to appeal to their self-interest so listen. Take notes of their spouse name, kids names, interests. Remember those facts and ask them later how (insert spouse/kid/pet) is doing. Showing that person they are important enough to you that you remember that stuff is critical in developing effective relationships.
3.) Treat people equally. Be nice to the receptionist all the way up to the CEO. I have seen people who step on those below them and kiss the butts of people above them. This might work in the interim, but never underestimate the power of the people below  you (organizationally wise). Plus those are the people who will help you accomplish more.
4.) A little self-disclosure goes a long way. This means both the conscious and subconscious act of revealing more about oneself to others. So whether you share a little bit about your personal life (BTW, you can share too much) or decorate your office with pictures of you, your family or friends giving people some insight to your personal life makes you appear human. I also saw an article about why top CEOs let people call them by a nickname, it creates a connection.
5.) Be Genuine. If you can't do any of the above naturally, then practice, and if you still can't be genuinely interested in someone other than yourself, then consider becoming a mortician. Any breathing person can see through the BS of insincerity. Being disingenuous can be more damaging then you think. If you aren't happy, figure out why and change it.

So whether you are in sales, marketing, c-level job, it doesn't matter what you do being a likeable person is key to your professional success. I am not saying that jerks aren't effective at work, but their results are short lived and do more damage than good. Hope these tips help someone else. I know they have definitely helped me.

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