Photo by Johnny Delos Santos
I don’t hate dogs. But I think they all love to attack me.
One night, coming home from work, I saw in our garage a dog that I had never seen before. It was a chance encounter of two strangers. As I prepared to run away, the dog rolled over and showed me his belly while wagging his tail too. He was inviting me to scratch his belly so I did. For the first time in my life, I loved a dog!
According to experts, dogs expose to us the soft part of their body to say “I trust that you will not hurt me. And if you want to, that’s okay too.” We respond with a similar act of affection.
The same gesture is done by the animal called man. When somebody opens their arms, they are exposing the weakest part of their body. We respond by also opening our arms and we end up in an embrace.
That is what I do when I meet people or when I’m about to deliver a talk or make a presentation: I show a little “weakness.” I would usually start with a self-effacing joke appropriate to the situation. I may tell them that there’s nothing left of my left brain or that my wife forgot to give me my daily allowance. Just anything to let them know that I’m not as perfect as I look. Haha! They usually respond by relaxing their defenses. Disarmed, they don’t mind disclosing their weaknesses, too. The result is a warm, open and fun conversation.
(Self-deprecating humor should not be overdone because it may look like you’re fishing for a compliment.)
It doesn’t have to be a joke that puts yourself down. Any remark that causes shared laughter may sufficiently create a connection. I have a confession to make. When street vendors make me laugh, I am always tempted to reward them with a sale even though I don’t really need what they’re selling.
We’re not discussing this topic because we want to win a popularity contest. This topic is important to us because likability opens more doors.
One time, while we were shooting a video of our company’s top management, one of the big bosses admitted in the interview that ”business is personal. You wouldn’t want to work with people you don’t like.” Take it from one of the country’s most successful corporate leaders.
Bob Burg, author and one of the world’s most successful salesmen revealed that “all things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like and trust. “
If you’re very good at what you do but at the same time openly critical of people and things, you’re not making yourself approachable. Your peers and subordinates may avoid you when they think you’re judging them. (In any internet list of human fears, the fear of being judged is always in the top 4.)
On the other hand, being talented and at the same time likable gives you better chances of being enlisted in teams that take on the juicy projects.
Jessica Holbrook Hernandez, CEO of Great Resumes, is a globally recognized resume authority. She wrote that among other things in a job interview, “the employer wants to know…you’re going to be a team player-–and that you’re not going to create confusion, conflict, problems, or challenge their authority.”
Maybe, you’re a really good person inside but is just misunderstood. So, give others the chance to know the real you. Make more genuine smiles and engage people in conversation. People are eager to get closer to you and are just waiting for someone to break the ice.
Learn to choose your battles instead of defending your image at every opportunity.
In my current job, it is important for me to know what qualities of tv and movie personalities are most liked or disliked by the fans. The audience is not warm enough to celebrities who appear too perfect and too classy.
The fans gravitate more toward celebrities that they describe as “a real person”. And by being “real”, they mean someone who shows their true self, weaknesses and all.
The “real person” is not fussy, that’s why they make people around them comfortable. These celebrities would usually have longer careers.
By the way, dogs bark at us when they “smell” our fear or intention to attack. I think that humans have a good nose, too. We can tell who’s authentic and who’s just faking it.
If you have concerns about your job or if you wish to suggest a topic, you may email me at [email protected]
I would assume that you’re giving me permission to publish your email (if chosen) and my reply. Your identity will not be disclosed.
Read more about ExecuTips on www.robertlabayen.com
About the Author:
Robert Labayen spent 22 years in advertising prior to joining ABS-CBN in 2004. He was VP-Creative Director at Saatchi & Saatchi and Executive Creative Director at J. Walter Thompson, two of the country's leading ad agencies. He is currently the Head of Creative Communications Management at ABS-CBN. His job involves inspiring people to be their best. He is a writer, painter and songwriter.
Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.