Guest blog Idris Fashan

This is the first in a blog series on X5 Management’s principle of LRT: Like, Respect and Trust. As many who have worked with X5 may be familiar with this expression, I decided to do some deeper research and unpack each of the elements of LRT—the psychology, the effect it has on people and the interrelationship between Like, Respect and Trust.

Likability: What is it?

More important than defining likability is figuring out what makes it happen. Being easy to like is just that, a state of being. It’s not necessarily something you have, but it can be something you attain.

Many academics and pundits argue over how likability happens, but they do agree on several points. Tim Sanders succinctly asks them in his 2005 book, The Likeability Factor:

1. Friendliness – How well do you communicate your openness to others?

2. Relevance – How well do you connect with others’ interests, wants, desires and needs?

3. Empathy – Do you recognize, acknowledge and experience other people’s feelings?

4. Realness – How much integrity and authenticity do you reveal that stands as the base of your likability?

In our recent conversations, Mike Mack shared a few observations:

Likeability starts with you.
The most interesting and appealing people don’t yammer off about their recent exploits or successes. In fact, it has been proven that our minds best respond to people who stimulate us with questions. According to Roger Covin, Ph.D, “Human beings possess an innate need to form relationships and belong to groups. . . As such, there exists a strong motivation for most of us to form connections with other people—whether it be a friend, an acquaintance or a spouse.” It makes sense for us to remember that to be appealing, we must talk less, listen more, and ask questions about what motivates the people you talk to. What are the passions or frustrations that lead to the events they’re sharing? The key is to be genuinely curious about people and the lives they lead.

All of the more obvious aspects (eye contact, solid handshake, smile, appropriate attire, being nice) come from having an authentic, consistent desire to connect with people and a curiosity about what makes them who they are.

Likability loops back.
One of the most consistent aspects of likability is the depth of desire people grow for helping you be more successful, but this is simply an outcome. The core element is how likable people bring the best out in those around them. Likable people care deeply about the people around them, whether they are well-known or not, well-to-do or not, highly visible or not. Where a person might be in life is not necessarily the focus. But as likable people touch others‘ passions and motivations, connecting with those around them, they influence their world in a highly positive way, and this reverberates in multiple directions. Likability comes first. There is an odd belief that respect, support and admiration comes from a person’s rank, name or accomplishments. There are definite examples of this in the world of leadership, and even Machiavelli asserts that “it is better to be feared than loved.”

But today, this is not the reality.

Likability is a fast track to success.
Getting what you want involves connecting with others as they work to achieve what they want—and desire to help them. The simple strategies that come out of these sincere conversations enables well-liked people to learn more from the people around them. These enriched connections (with peers, mentors, leaders and subordinates) gives people shorter paths to reaching their goals as those around them are elevated.

A more modern response to Machiavelli, George Foreman (whose accomplishments and name graces hundreds of products worldwide) once said, “I learned early in life that if you want people to love you, you gotta make sure you love them back.”

Success and celebrity start with likability.

Stay tuned for the next installment of the LRT series, Respect, in the coming weeks.

Idris Fashan
A valued strategic partner of X5 Management and X5 Blog contributor.  Idris Fashan is a communications and business development specialist. He worked for government agencies by editing and improving business plans up for review by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA). He was also a guerilla marketer and became a content editor for offbeat internet radio station and magazine Instrumentalyst. He is a self-professed “word nerd” who relishes in the writing process, whether it be a long-form business report or a creative piece of advertising copy written with a wary buyer in mind. He has over 10 years’ experience in marketing and communications and he received a certificate in SEO copywriting from Success Works online program. He holds a communications degree in professional writing from Grant MacEwan University. He also studied marketing at Saint Mary’s University and not-for-profit fundraising at the University of Waterloo. He is a member of the Professional Writing Association of Canada, Business Networking International, the International Association of Business Communicators, and the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce.

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