Friday, January 20, 2017

Likeable vs logical

In both professional and social interactions, being likeable is much more important than being right. I am amazed how much this fact is ignored by otherwise intelligent people. If people don't like you enough, they won't even listen to you which means that you are wasting your time constructing arguments. People will be meaner to you. Your name won't come up when there are opportunities or positions to fill. In short, your quality of life will suffer.

How can you be more likable (in order of difficulty):
  1. Smile and greet a lot.
  2. Don't talk if you have nothing nice or productive to say.
  3. Avoid ad hominem attacks and generalizations. Example: "You always do this because your are an emotionless prick!"
  4. Find mutually beneficial solutions to problems, even if it means to settle on a less-than-optimal solution.
  5. If you have to argue, keep calm and argue with unambiguous data. This implies that you have to collect data before the argument.
  6. Be sympathetic to others. People rarely mean exactly what they say. There are different dynamics at work that makes them behave as they do. If you take their words at face value, you might think that they are dumb or crazy. They are not. Their feelings might be hurt by something else, they might be tired etc. 
People have flaws, don't treat them like computers. The next time you are about to label others stupid because they are not convinced by your perfect arguments, ponder if they like you or not.

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