An unspoken, major headache on the first day of high school was the first day of lunch. You had one shot to secure your prime table choice and fill it with your select group of friends.
Why didn’t we sit at a different table every day with a new set of people?
Obviously it’s because we prefer to be around people we like, people we know, people we’re comfortable around – our friends.
As adults, we try harder to love everyone, “expand our network,” and act more social. But the reality is that life is just high school over and over again.
Business is a popularity contest.
Your likeability plays a far larger role than most people realize when it comes to crushing an interview, closing a sale, or getting a promotion.
Having the highest G.P.A on your resume, the best sale price or the most talent isn’t going to land you the gig if the people you’re trying to impress hate being in the same room as you.
Some of the most successful business people I know also happen to be the funniest people I know. It’s not a coincidence.
We’re not all natural-born comedians, and it doesn’t have to be as complicated as memorizing your joke book. You also don’t need to force a friendship if it’s simply not there (For The Office fans – You don’t want your client to be like Michael Scott hiding behind the door from Andy Bernard). You simply show a crack of your personality, and have interest in the person you are meeting with beyond the money they could potentially give you.
I personally always love asking about other people’s pets – when I can. I’m a genuine animal lover, and I always feel like it softens the mood. It’s an old school trick – but if you take a few seconds to look around their office, you might find something on their desk that would show a hint of something they’re passionate about.
Would you be invited to sit at their lunch table, if you were only asking them for money? Or a job? Or a sales pitch? Just remember that no matter what the act of business you are doing – it’s people working with people.