The Power of Likability – Have No Missed Opportunities!

When someone runs for President of the United States, and a regret they have is that they were possibly “too serious” – that’s a learning moment for all of us.

“I did feel a heavy sense of responsibility. I wasn’t as loose or open as I could have been.”

This week on The View, Hillary Clinton shared a key takeaway from her presidential campaign: she came across as “too serious” — and it inhibited the warmth that many said she had off-camera.

We all know hindsight is 20/20, and as leaders, many of us don’t get a do-over. We have to make the most of every opportunity, every pitch, every meeting—it’s our ability to connect, authentically, that requires a shift. Our clients often say, “to be taken seriously, I have to be serious,” which is practically the same thought process that Hillary shared, was part of her downfall.

Like Hillary, our default is to lead with competence—when, in reality, our audience needs connection. As Dr. Amy Cuddy says, “Warmth is the conduit of influence: It facilitates trust and communication and absorption of ideas.”

Start by connecting with others through a light face or a smile. It’s an easy thing to practice. Lift your cheeks and lighten your face when you speak. Show more affect and emotion—it boosts your likability and allows you to influence. Almost all of us can do it better. If we coach one thousand people, there’s only one that probably smiles too much.

Let’s learn from these misses—we all have amazing opportunities every day that we can smile about!

Top 10 Communication Moments of 2017

Communication drives moments, and moments matter. When we experience something bold, it jolts us to action, leaves a measured impact, ignites a collective memory, or empowers the afraid. These are the moments that punctuated 2017. These are the moments that changed the way we think or inspired us to act. … Continue reading

The Telephone Game

The telephone game is fun, especially as a kid or with kids. It’s the one where everyone sits in a circle and one person would pick a word or phrase then “pass it on” by whispering it to someone next to them. The fun was seeing how much the message changed … Continue reading

High Stakes Q&A: Try These Tips

Even if you’ve been avoiding the news at all costs, you probably heard that one of the most high-stakes, public Q&A sessions of the year happened last week. An estimated 19.5 million people watched it on network television, and that doesn’t count those who live-streamed it from their desks, since … Continue reading

Top 10 Communication Moments of 2016

What a year. The Olympics. A Presidential Election. So much noise this year – a colossal communications cacophony. What, then, stood out? The moments. With such a divisive political, economic and social landscape this year, we found that people heard what they wanted to hear, and we also felt it … Continue reading

Connecting Matters to Sell…and to Influence

As we ramp up next week’s reveal of our annual Top 10 of 2016, it’s always an interesting effort to trim and tuck to make the list as robust and complete as possible. We consider memorable moments, and we also think back about the people who have influenced us. This … Continue reading

Learnings from Vin Scully – A Legend Passing on Legendary Principles

As we approach the final weeks of the legendary Vin Scully announcing for the Dodgers (67 years!), it’s important that his lessons don’t go unnoticed. Tom Verducci had a great write-up for Sports Illustrated, and we recommend all to read. We took something away from his article, of course tied … Continue reading

Is There a Second Tier Audience?

We’ve all done it. Opened the previous deck. Tweaked a few slides. Updated the numbers on the corresponding leave-behind, then scrambled off to the next presentation, meeting or coffee. Most of the time, it works. The new client or contact gets the bulk of the information you wanted to share, … Continue reading

Analogize It!

It’s one of the most common communications white lies we tell ourselves: “If I say the words, people will get it.” Even when your audience is well-versed in your subject matter, it’s not always true. The truth is, the most accurate data points and thoughtful analysis in the world won’t resonate … Continue reading

The Big Short

A lot of times people ask, “What are the essential components of a speech?” They’re looking for the silver-bullet, the ideal length of time spent, the appropriate level of seriousness, how much humor, how many data points to include, etc. Often, we look to TED talks, popular speeches and commencement … Continue reading