In the book “The Likeability Factor”, author Tim Sanders pounds around an interesting concept of choice. He throws us into a realization that, indeed, the choices that we make in life aren’t all ours. They are influenced by desired outcomes that factor in the perceptions, opinions, reactions and valuation of others.

Tim also breaks the naiveté among us. He writes about how our movement in our careers and the extra miles others walk for us depend not on our skills or abilities alone, but on how much decision-makers and the people around us “like” or are drawn to us. Admit it or not, there is some truth to this: “Life is determined by other people’s choices.”

There is higher preference today for EQ (emotional quotient) than IQ (intelligence quotient). Tim highlights how others treat us reflects in large sense how they perceive us. When we are “likeable”, they tend to warm up to us, consider us a friend, and invest in a relationship with us. Either consciously or sub-consciously, it becomes an imperative for them to do something for us.

He cites the secretary at the doctor’s clinic. The standard is they observe an appointment system. Who comes first is seen by the doctor first. So you make a call to the secretary and inquire if the doctor is in. By SOP, if you don’t have an appointment, most likely the secretary would advise you to see the doctor the next day. If there is still one slot left, the secretary would put you at the bottom. But if you are someone with whom the secretary connects, someone who is “likeable”, the secretary would creatively bypass the appointment system for you to be seen that day. In some instances, you would be advised to be at the doctor’s clinic at a particular time, seeing the doctor ahead of or in between other patients in queue.

Same works in the public market. When you treat the vendors with warmth and respect, you would enjoy a discount or come home with “pakapins” (extras). On the reverse: If you are the vendor, your customer wouldn’t even haggle the price with you. Some would not mind not getting the change anymore as a show of appreciation for honest and hard work.

As you go over the book, the examples would lead you to ask: “Is it a good thing to be likeable then?” There is nothing wrong to be likeable. We all should strive to be likeable. The goal of likeability after all is not necessarily to break rules or make accommodations at the expense of others or compromise principles.

Tim says: “Likeability is the ability to create positive attitudes in other people through the delivery of emotional and physical benefits.” He affirms “recognition” being a human need. Likeability, therefore, allows for others to treat you in the same way that you hope to be treated.

Fellow author Marcus Buckingham comments on Tim’s book: “Conventional wisdom insists that it’s more important to be respected than liked. In this book, Tim Sanders challenges that notion and reveals the awesome power of likeability. He shows us that if we want to garner support from our associates, earn the loyalty of our employees, lead our followers to a better future, be healthy, and finally achieve our life’s dreams, we must first be liked.”

Making an effort to know your colleagues beyond their professional functions inspires them to voluntarily render extra time at work to accomplish tasks. A bright smile to a server at the cafeteria would get you free soup. Simple conversations with the taxi driver about his life and family would encourage the driver to take a shortcut. A heartfelt acknowledgement of “Bossing!” to the parking attendant would earn you a reserved parking space at church every Sunday.

But likeability isn’t about getting extras. It isn’t about returns. It isn’t even about having people kowtow to you or treat you like royalty. It is a way of life that builds motivation on relationships, draws inspiration from people around you. Likeability is sharing more of yourself with others than gaining something from them.

So if you’re working on improving your likeability after reading this column but you’re still not getting that extra “sibuyas” (onion) from the vendor at the public market, don’t say they don’t like you. It could be that they like other customers better.


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