likeable speakers

They're Just Not That Into You

I've coached a lot of speakers and I've seen more speakers than I can count. And I've discovered that there is more to great speaking than excellent platform skills. We've all seen speakers who have perfect timing, never say um, have a well organized speech and exude confidence on stage. Yet, there's something the audience doesn't like about them. It could be air of arrogance, they may appear slick, or their words sound pretentious. If the audience can't connect they don't like the speaker. After working with so many clients and speaking to numerous groups I started to realize that people's success depended on how well they were liked. According to a Yale University study, people gain success not by aggression but by being nice. Being respected is good; being liked is even better. Juries award higher compensation to people they like. The most likable candidate usually wins an election. During the Democratic primary,Hillary Clinton's likability surfaced as an issue. Obama was perceived as more likable and won. During tough economic times, when a manager has to choose who gets a pink slip it won't be the the employee who is most liked. Employers hire people they like, clients do business with people they like, and sometimes likable students may even get a higher grade. So, if you want your message to be heard, if you want to influence, you've got to be liked.

What is likability? Find out in this video.

Did BP's Chairman Diss the American People?

Carl-Henric Svanberg, Swedish Chair of BP was blasted for his comment about "small people".Here is what he said:

..."He's frustrated because he cares about the small people and we care about the small people. "I hear comments sometime that large oil companies or greedy companies that don't care but that is not the case in BP. We care about the small people."

Had this been said by an American it would have been condescending;however, Mr. Svanberg is Swedish. English is a second language. He was referring to President Obama's frustration about the impact on the people in the Gulf area and he was saying that he shares his frustration and concern for the people.

When it comes to communication, there is a sender and a receiver, an intention and an effect. My belief is that Mr. Svanberg's intention was to show concern for the common man and to convey that they are sorry for the oil spill and it's impact.

The effect was to trigger emotion and a feeling that he was talking down to the citizens. Two words-"small people"caused this reaction. And that is the power of language. Language and culture don't always translate. When the Chevy Nova was introduced in Mexico it didn't sell. NOVA in Spanish translated into" No Go".

It would have been more effective if the Chairman had used the terms, American people, people in the gulf region, or the workers. When listening to words we also need to listen for intention. And when somebody is speaking a foreign language, understand that there will be miscommunication.