Be liked to be more successful

PEOPLE are more likely to want to do business with you if they like you. But are there things that you can do to foster that chemistry? Yes, says American business writer, entrepreneur and investor Guy Kawasaki, in his new book Enchantment. Enchantment, he says, is “the process of delighting people with a product, service, organisation or idea”, and its outcome is “voluntary and long-lasting support that is mutually beneficial”. The bedrock of enchanting people is having a good relationship. Here are his four tips for making people like you more.

1.Smile. “What does it cost to smile? Nothing. What does it cost not to smile? Everything, if it prevents you from connecting with people. While smiling sends a very clear message about your state of mind, not smiling creates an opening for many interpretations, including grumpiness, aloofness and anger – none of which helps you enchant people,” writes Kawasaki. Nobody likes to do business with grumpy people, and a miseryguts doesn’t get what he wants. “The key to a great George Clooney-esque smile is to think pleasant thoughts. If you’re grumpy inside, it’s hard to have a smile that lights up a room. The most you’ll achieve is a fake smile, and a fake smile won’t make people like you.” A real smile is one that involves the eyes as well as the mouth – so “make crow’s feet”.

2. Dress correctly. Overdressing means “I’m richer, more powerful and more important than you”, while underdressing means “I don’t respect you, I’ll dress any way I please.” What you want is “equal dressing”, which says “we’re peers.” The way you dress for business is not about showing that you have money, style or great taste, but making people like you. Also make sure your dress matches what you stand for. If you are the out-of-the box thinker, then jeans and a T-shirt might work, whereas if you are the “adult supervision”, then a suit can work even if others don’t wear one.

3. Use the right words. Express yourself simply. Use the active, not the passive voice – the passive is “wimpy and inefficient”. And keep it short. “If people are interested, they’ll ask for more information,” reckons Kawasaki. Finally, do not use war or sport analogies. “Many people have not fought in a war and those who have will tell you that war is confusion, death and pain more than glory, victory and leadership.” Also, wars have winners and losers. The aim of enchantment is “mutually assured satisfaction”. Be equally careful with sports analogies – cricket means nothing to Americans, or baseball to Brits.

4. Perfect your handshake. Scientists have studied this and the upshot is that you should:

l “Make eye contact throughout”

l Smile genuinely, grip and squeeze the other person’s hand

l Stand a moderate distance from the other person, neither too close nor too distant

l Make sure your hand is “cool, dry and smooth”

l Use a “medium amount of vigour” when shaking

l Hold the handshake for “no more than two to three seconds”.

Guy Kawasaki’s Enchantment is out next week