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!

From the Boardroom to the Living Room

In a recent Leadership Presence for Women program, we were discussing the Decker Grid™ when a participant raised her hand. “Can I use this on my husband?” she asked. This question comes up a lot, and the answer is a resounding yes! While Decker’s main objective is to teach communication … Continue reading

Smile With Your Eyes

As Guy Kawasaki says, don’t be afraid of the crow’s feet. That’s right, the most sincere smile is a Duchenne smile (named for French neurologist Guillaume Duchenne) that lights up your eyes and shows off your pearly whites. Guy is a powerful influencer and speaker – and his Duchenne smile … Continue reading

What Does Your Face Say about Your Leadership?

“A picture is worth a thousand words.” We’ve all heard that. But what about the face you present to your colleagues or a potential group of investors? It matters, too. Leadership is not just how we communicate ourselves verbally, but visually. As a leader, your facial expressions can set, or … Continue reading

Sneeze Season: How to Present When You’re Sick

A few weeks back I had to fend off cold/migraine as I gutted my way through a lengthy presentation. It would have been nice to reschedule. Sometimes that’s just not possible. You, too, may find yourself having to battle your symptoms while presenting. Beyond “drink lots of fluids,” here are … Continue reading

Nelson Mandela: Consummate Communicator

“Let there be peace for all. Let there be justice for all. The sun shall never set on such a glorious human achievement.” – Nelson Mandela We join the rest of the world to celebrate the incredible impact and legendary life of Nelson Mandela. While much can be said about … Continue reading

Lightening Up!

True or False: To be taken seriously, you have to be serious? False. People buy on emotion and justify with fact. Whether we’re presenting at a quarterly business review (QBR), in front of your board or simply touching base in a one-on-one meeting, we have to be light! But don’t just take … Continue reading

Decrease Your Disparity Gap

Who do you see when you look in the mirror? Is it the same person your boss, your family, your audience and everyone else sees? All of us, men and women, alike, can be our own harshest critics. That’s why Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches campaign immediately went viral (as did … Continue reading

Should I Be Likable or Influential?

Actually, you can be both – and you should try to be both. When you’re likable, you’re almost automatically more influential. As Bert wrote in You’ve Got to Be Believed to Be Heard, “The likability factor dominates in politics. It dominates in business. And it dominates in our day to day lives. … Continue reading