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!

Be Brief. Be Bright. Be Gone.

“…and the long and short of it is?” Sometimes, we feel compelled to prove how much research we’ve done, how much credibility we have and how thorough we’ve been by sharing every little detail. Problem is, when we do that, people tune out, and we lose the ability to influence. … Continue reading

What’s the Point of Your Story?

The weather at the Boston Marathon this year was brutal. Forty degrees, 20mph winds and rain showers. Everyone was freezing and drenched from head to toe. By mile 4, Olympian Des Linden was ready to call it quits. Convinced it wasn’t her day, she offered to help pace and shield … Continue reading

Are We Defensive In How We Communicate?

When is being on your heels a good thing? And by that, I mean, being defensive. We’ve all seen it before in sports, most recently in the Super Bowl. One team is up, and then there’s a momentum shift and the tide turns. I’ve had sleepless nights while coaching my 4th … Continue reading

Heads Up, Phones Down

When I was at dinner last night, I couldn’t help but notice that everywhere I looked, people were on their phones. At one table, I saw a person talking to someone who was staring at his phone during the whole conversation. With 24/7 access to email, to Facebook, to Twitter, … Continue reading

Are You A Leader We Can Bank On?

“Focus on the jockey as much as the horse. Or, if racing eludes you, bet on the head coach…would you feel confident investing your hard-earned money on a legal bet this weekend on a team in the NFL without researching or knowing the history of the coach of that team?” – … Continue reading

The Top Ten Best (and Worst) Communicators of 2013

Announcing the 18th Annual Top Ten Best (and Worst) Communicators of the Year! The list is diverse, including business and global leaders, athletes, politicians and celebrities, with specific examples and tangible takeaways. See how these lessons translate for use with your colleagues, your customers and even your kids. The 10 … Continue reading

The Straw that Broke the Camel’s Back

I’ve heard over 100 presentations on philanthropy and giving. I spend a lot of time recording people speaking on video. Luckily, many of us are motivated to give back, and we want to urge others to do the same. This is not a complaint – instead, there is a great … Continue reading

Decline of Eye Contact – And How You Can Correct It

“Just look me in the eye already!” Now that’s a great title from today’s Wall Street Journal article and interview with Sue Shellenbarger. (Great exposure! At the end of the day, the eye contact piece was still ranked #1 in their “Popular Now.”) Here’s the feature. And if you want … Continue reading

Communicating Likability

In effective communicating, it’s not just important to be likable, but to exude likability. Proof? The Voice vs. American Idol. Are you an old time addict of American Idol as I was? I even blogged on how critical confidence was for success – probably my favorite Idol of all time … Continue reading