Archives for June 2019

Are you likable?

Studies have shown that likable people are more successful. This makes sense because I feel comfortable saying that almost any person you ask would rather be around and do business with someone who is likable versus someone who is not. Because of this, it’s good that being likable is something you have the power to control and improve on.

Being likable is easy if you think about the qualities you like in others. For me, and likely most of you, these include being sincere, listening well, being transparent, and being understanding of others and their differences. And, again, people who have these skills and are highly likable have been shown to outperform those who don’t.

So what can you do to be more likable? Ask questions. People like to talk. If you ask questions the other person will think the conversation went well even if you only spoke a small percentage of the time. This involves listening fully so you are engaged in the conversation and can ask good follow up questions. I have a partner who says you want to picture the other person wearing a baseball hat that says “Make me interesting.” He means ask good questions and stay engaged.

Another thing you can do is be genuine. Nobody likes people who are fake. They want people they can trust, people who are comfortable in their own skin. If you are trying to win people over, you are approaching it the wrong way. Be yourself, and confident in who you are.

It also helps to have positive body language. Body language communicates a lot, even when you aren’t paying attention to it. An example is the person sitting across from you who is smiling, but has their arms crossed and is sitting in a closed manner. They think they look happy and confident, when they truly appear tense and closed off. If you are not sure about your body language. ask someone you trust. You may be surprised at what they say. If they tell you things they think you can improve on, you can practice in front of a mirror or pay more attention when you are speaking with others.

There are many other traits that go with likability, but the few I mentioned are a good place to start. Even if you believe you are likable, try to see if you can improve on these in business and personal settings. Practice can help, and it is worth your time and effort to invest in yourself.

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Preparation matters

I had a conversation this week that reminded me of a post I wrote years ago about the importance of preparation. I went back and looked. The post was spot on regarding the conversation between me and my client. So I revised that post for the current situation because it is a good reminder of how import preparation is.

This week, I called a client to set up a block of time to prepare for a mediation. The client didn’t understand why we needed to meet and thought you just go in and see if the dispute can be settled or not. This common misconception regarding mediation speaks to the importance of preparation.

I explained to the client that the two most important times in a lawsuit are mediation and trial. Mediation is the last time a party has any control over the outcome of a lawsuit because you have no real control when it is in the hands of the judge or jury. Why wouldn’t you prepare for such an important event??

It begs the question as to why you wouldn’t prepare for any important event or conversation, such as a mediation, a year end meeting with a supervisor regarding performance, salary or bonus issues, a job interview, an important conversation with a child, co-worker, spouse, etc. Preparation is much better than “winging it.”

Preparation allows you to create the message you want to communicate and will give you a better chance of making sure you and your position(s) are understood. This will put you in a better place to achieve any goals or desired results. It also will bolster your reputation and what others who deal with you think about you. And reputation is everything.

The message is prepare, prepare, prepare, and see where it gets you, because, as Benjamin Franklin smartly said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

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Ordinary people do extraordinary things every day

I first remember reading or hearing this in a quote from Jim Valvano, the North Carolina basketball coach who said “Every Single Day, in Every Walk of Life, Ordinary People do Extraordinary Things.” In 1983 in the NCAA Men’s Basketball championship game his underdog team was pitted against the heavily favorited Houston Cougars, but won right at the end of the game. He later passed away from bone cancer, but, in addition to starting a foundation for cancer research, he gave speeches and made enduring statements such as the one I quoted above.

Of course, you don’t have to be an athlete to do extraordinary things. All of us have the ability to do so. One way is by supporting non-profits and helping lift up others in your community who need your support. Many of you likely do this already. All of us can and should because we all can do amazing things for others.

I look to people like Maria Brunner, who lives in the Phoenix metropolitan area, and runs Insight Management,  a company that focuses on marketing and promotion in the music and entertainment industry. For the last few years, in the free time she doesn’t have, she has convinced bands, promoters, caterers and others to provide her with leftover food from backstage catering that would otherwise go to waste. When they provide her with the leftover food, she personally delivers it to shelters for homeless veterans or other homeless populations. Many times she leaves and comes back while a concert or event she is working is still going on so she can complete the work she is paid to do.

It took some time for me and another person who knows Maria, along with others, to get her to turn her good deeds into a real non-profit, but now Musically Fed exists. In addition to what she has done to help homeless populations in Phoenix, she has convinced some bands and managers to do this on every tour stop in each city. Bands and groups that I am aware of doing this include Fleetwood Mac, the Country Music Association, and others. And I know am missing other bands and groups pitching in

Maria may not be happy that I am telling her story because she is not looking for kudos or thanks for what she is doing. She does extraordinary things every day despite not really having time to do so because it’s who she is and what she does.

If you question how she does all she does and gets it all done, I think you will hear some version of when you see a hill, it always looks worse than it is, so you take it in small chunks. If you approach your days like this you will be able to accomplish more than you can imagine.

I challenge you to find the extraordinary things you can do in your days to make your corner of the world a better place.

I also want to point you to Musically Fed’s website, which is located at
https://musicallyfed.org/, in case you are inclined to support Maria’s fantastic heartfelt mission. You also can contact me for information.

Go forth and do good!!

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