The number one reason people don’t get hired in the sports industry is “Likeability.”
In other words, if you’re not likeable, if you have a chip on your shoulder, if you’re a negative person, if you talk trash about other people, or if you’re just a miserable human being all the way around, nobody will hire you. (With the exception of your state’s DMV department, of course.)
On the other hand, the number one reason you WILL get hired in sports is also because of your “Likeability.” Employers, regardless of industry, will always hire the person they like the most, assuming each candidate has equal qualifications.
Fortunately, there are ways to become more likeable. Dale Carnegie, the best-selling author of the iconic book, How to Win Friends & Influence People, says there are Six Ways to Make People Like You. I’ve listed them below in bold letters. I’ve also included my own comments after each one.
As you read them, think in terms of how you can incorporate them into your overall job-search strategy. The key is to be yourself. If you’re not authentic, you will come across as manipulative and your strategy will backfire.
1. Become Genuinely Interested in Other People.
This is effective for informational interviews, networking events and social media connections. The key word here is “genuinely.”
Believe it or not, this is something that needs to be coached.A fake smile has the opposite effect of a genuine smile. Smile from your heart and your eyes will light up. A nice little tactic — one that will help you smile from within — is to find something you really like about the person you’re talking with and begin the conversation with that in mind.
3. A Person’s Name is to That Person the Sweetest and Most Important Sound in Any Language.
This one is dangerous. It’s a highly-effective tactic for getting people to warm up to you and trust you, but when it’s done too much and too often, it will come across as forced and make you sound like you’re full of bull.
4. Be a Good Listener. Encourage Others to Talk About Themselves.
Listening has become a lost art. We live in a world where everyone’s got something “important” to say on Twitter or Facebook, but the engagement is so superficial, you don’t often get anywhere. As you build your network, learn to get on the phone with them (or face-to-face) and ask meaningful questions. When they respond, take a full second before you open your mouth. This demonstrates that you have listened.
5. Talk in Terms of the Other Person’s Interests.
This one reminds me of Stephen Covey’s 5th Habit that says, “Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood.” People love to talk about themselves and what they are working on. Learn to see things through their point of view. This will give you an advantage.
6. Make the Other Person Feel Important — and Do It Sincerely.
This last one is accomplished by nailing the other five. Simply put, sincere and authentic communication are the keys to winning people over and becoming likeable.