Beyond the Build


The Likability Quotient.

Over the years, I’ve learned that the ability to relate is just as important as being knowledgeable. In my book, likability–making that personal connection–is one of the ingredients to success.

Whether it’s at the beginning of the selection process or at the end, I’ve found that when quality, value and price are equal, it’s often the likability quotient that drives a transaction. We all would rather do business with people that we like. Around here, I try to impress that idea upon our management team.

A couple of weeks ago, I ran across this article from the Charlotte Business Journal, which echos my thoughts on the importance of being likable. Here are few tips that were shared, things I have learned and (tried to) practice  over the years:

Be attuned to verbal and nonverbal communication. I’ve been in meetings when a person says one thing and their face is 180° opposite. Not good. To me, people listen with their ears and their eyes.

Smile. No one ever turns away from someone who smiles. It communicates that you are positive, genuine and warm, qualities that people pay special attention to. No one wants “slick.”

Traveling through airports as I do so often, I’ve taken to smiling more. You would be amazed at how contagious it is. Just practice smiling and see how the public responds.

Be in the present. Work toward being connected, a two way street for sure,  by sharing thoughts and ideas. Find common ground and the relationship will surface.

Learn low-key self-confidence. If you make a mistake admit it. People like people who are willing to share their shortcomings are far more real. If you look less-than-perfect, don’t  worry about it. We’re all human.

How important is likability in your work? Do you have tips for making it a conscious effort?  


Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.