Why do you think Barack Obama won the US Presidential Election? Perhaps it was because of his policies for change, or even the amount of money invested in his campaign. Or perhaps it was his ability to eloquently express the hopes, answers and beliefs of a good chunk of the American people.
I think it is probably a mixture of all these reasons, and a few more. But more than anything else, I believe he has a high Likeability Factor.
So what’s Likeability got to do with anything? Surely we’re going to vote for the policies not the person? Somehow I don’t think so! What many politicians tend to forget is that we voters are humans and the thing about humans is, they’ll always be driven by their emotions not their logic. We let our heart rule our head all the time.
If we decide that we don’t like someone, then we have a heck of a job believing anything they say. How well our politicians score on the Likeability Factor is going to influence whether we believe them or not.
Roger Ailes the communication coach to Presidents Reagan and Bush Snr. Wrote – ‘The silver bullet in business and politics is the like factor. All things being equal, we are more likely to vote for people we feel we like.’
Who do we like
However so many of our politicians seem totally unconcerned by this. Consider some other public figures that have been affected by the like factor.
Bill Clinton came through some difficult situations relatively unscathed; the reason being that the American public quite liked him.
Margaret Thatcher suffered more than she needed because too many people didn’t like her.
Princess Diana’s funeral gave a clear indication of how many people liked her. I don’t believe we would have seen the same outpouring of public grief, had that tragic accident happened to another member of the Royal Family.
If your Likability Factor is high, votes go up, sales go up, you go up and your life will be a lot easier.
I like my accountant
But what about the other people in your life, are they likable? What about your boss, your dentist or your accountant? I get some funny looks when I tell people that I’ve no idea if my accountant is any good or not. How would I know if he is a good accountant? I’m not competent to judge. I only know that I like him and I trust him, and that means he’ll continue to get my business.
Warren Buffet, Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, sometimes acclaimed as the world’s greatest investor, once said – ‘I’ve walked away from some great deals because I didn’t like the people I was dealing with.’
So, what do we do
So how do we get this Likability Factor if we haven’t got it? Or how do we improve it if we have, and what’s it all about anyway?
Likeability is about being human; it’s about displaying warmth. Bill Clinton displays warmth, Hilary Clinton less so. Richard Branson has warmth so did Princess Diana. Nelson Mandela has it; Margaret Thatcher didn’t display it in her time as Prime Minister.
Likeability in people will also be measured by their ability to really listen and be interested in others. Likeable people use your name and look as if they care. We like people who have something positive to say and don’t whinge!
Likeable people empathise with our problems and accept that we may have a different view of the world from them.
Likeability is demonstrated by a genuine smile, good eye contact, a sense of humour and relaxed open body language.
Whether in our personal or working lives; people will judge us by what we say and what we do. However, more importantly, this will be influenced by how likeable you are.
‘If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend.’ – Abraham Lincoln