We all say it. We want to work with people we like. But can it really be this easy to conduct business this way? Can we focus on networking with the people we like and with whom we genuinely connect versus just the “right” people? Michelle Tillis Lederman says yes – in fact, it’s better for your work and career in the long run?
Today we dish about likeability, how to be more concise and three red-hot ways to rethink networking.
Michelle is an author, speaker, trainer and communications expert. She’s a firecracker – and she’s also a blogger, animal lover and rescuer (you can see why we bonded), and a mom.
Her new book, The 11 Laws of Likability, is subtitled: Relationship Networking . . . Because People Do Business with People They Like. The book, featuring activities, self-assessment quizzes, and real-life anecdotes from professional and social settings, shows readers how to identify what’s likable in themselves and create honest, authentic interactions that become “wins” for all parties involved.
RS: Welcome Michelle! Your book is called The 11 Laws of Likability. Saving the actual laws for those that buy the book, what does this mean and how can they make your business life (and personal life) better?
MTL: What makes each of us likable is distinct to us, and to some degree it’s in the mind of the beholder. But the basic drivers of likability are the same for most of us. It is these drivers that I refer to as the Laws of Likability.
In many cases, likability actually trumps competence and many organizations differentiate the average performers from the stars based on their ability to lead, manage, and interact effectively with others. Life is about relationships and it is those relationships that sustain us and generate results. Likeability is everyone’s business, and people do business with people they like.
RS: One of your blog posts recently was called “Say What You Want to Say And Shut Up.” Loved it. And for all my talk on clarity, I tend to ramble when I think I’m not communicating clearly. How can we be more concise?
MTL: Start with the punchline. Is that concise enough? The simplest way to increase both clarity and brevity is to start with your conclusion. Often, we try to get others to follow our train of thought in order for them to agree with our opinion. If instead we start with the conclusion, it is much easier to follow, and be persuaded by, the explanation that follows.
Another tip, ask. Ask, “Is that clear?” or “Would you like me to elaborate?” Those questions prevent the rambling and allow us to be clear about what is unclear with a follow up question.
RS: What are 3 actionable tips for effective networking?
MTL: Shift the way you think about networking in 3 ways:
- From you to the relationship. It really isn’t about you or what you need. It is about the relationship and adding value to create connection. Don’t network just for need.
- From business to anything. We often start and stop conversations on business topics such as, “what do you do?” There is nothing wrong with that, but often we find the strongest connections come in other areas of our lives. Talk about a broad range of topics.
- From now to long term. Build the relationships that you want to build, not the ones you think you should. The network that you build based on connection is the one that will be there for you when you need it. Don’t network for now, network for life.
About Michelle: Michelle Tillis Lederman, PCC, author of The 11 Laws of Likability (AMACOM), is the founder of Executive Essentials, a training company that provides communications and leadership programs, as well as executive coaching services. Michelle believes real relationships lead to real results and specializes in teaching people how to communicate with confidence, clarity, and connection.
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