This month our Influencers from Around the World guest post comes from Debbie Hixson, a Cialdini Method Certified Trainer (CMCT®). She is a Senior Organization Development Consultant from Kaiser Permanente and a National Board Certified Counselor. You can read more about her here. I know you’ll enjoy what Debbie has to share.
The Impact of Liking on Voting and Other Relationships
How will you decide whom to support in this presidential election? Will your candidate share your views about the problems in this country and how to solve them? Do they share your values and beliefs? Do they have a similar background or have you shared similar experiences growing up and making your way in the world?
Some of us are very clear about who will we vote for and why. An article in my local newspaper interviewed several people and for them the answer is simple; their candidate shares their beliefs about what is important and what needs to be done to get our country back on track. They aren’t from the same background, but they do share a common philosophy about life. Guided by their perceptions about the person they support, whom they will vote for in the general election is very clear.
What makes us gravitate towards some people and not others? Why do we form relationships so easily with some people and not others? Why do we collaborate and cooperate with some people effortlessly, while with others it is a challenge? How can we be influential and persuasive with some groups or individuals and less so with others?
The answer is not complicated. It is based on a principle Dr. Robert Cialdini calls “Liking.” He says that we like people who are like us. Based on liking them, we will be more open to their requests to cooperate with them. Let’s be clear, liking is based on our perception of what we share in common with others that predisposes us to like them. Dr. Cialdini also says that we tend to like people who compliment us – that is they tell us what they like about us, which makes us like them even more. We also like people who cooperate with us.
So how do you get people to like you? Norman Vincent Peale says that getting people to like you is merely the other side of liking them. Think about someone you want to work with more closely. What do you know about them? Do you share common interests? Did you attend the same school? Do you share a passion for the same sports team or the same hobbies? You can foster liking based on the similarity principle if you claim to have a similar background and interests as the person.
The principle can be applied in all types of situations, at home and at work. Liking can be applied to family, friends, colleagues and customers. In my own practice as a coach and trainer, I need my clients to cooperate with me. I begin my relationships with clients by finding out a bit about them and then make a connection to own my interests and background to establish liking. I often find that I have many things in common with the people I meet. Establishing commonalities makes us all feel more relaxed and grounded particularly in new situations. Once I establish a connection, it is important for my work to like the other person. When I like someone, I tell them so. After all, if we like to cooperate with people who like us, letting them know helps facilitate your partnership.
Cooperating with others will also help establish liking. When we share goals in common, we develop a fondness for “our partners” who are helping us achieve a goal, deal with problems, make a decision, etc. So whom can you cooperate with? When you have something to ask of them, they will be more likely to say yes, because you cooperated with them.
Dr. Cialdini advises us to like our colleagues, customers or clients. When they see that you like them, they feel safe. They’ll have a good reason to feel safe because you will make sure that the people you like are treated well. You’ll make sure that they’re protected and their interests are served. This is really turning that rule on its ear where clients are saying, “The best place for me to purchase a product is not in the hands of someone I like who’s an expert, it’s in the hands of someone who likes me and is an expert.”
Think about ways you can increase liking by identifying commonalities you have with people you work with – or would like to work with – and make sure they know. And, when you like them make sure to share that as well.
M.A., M.Ed, CMCT