Enchantment: A professional brand evangelist teaches us to gain influence through the exercise of charm

A practical guide to increasing likeability and trustworthiness and improving our personal and professional lives.

This week I did a guest post over at the excellent Book to the Future blog talking about the book I've just
read, the book I'm currently reading and the book that's next on my pile. The book I've just finished is Guy Kawasaki's very stimulating Enchantment. It's almost an etiquette guide for a newer, busier age, and it reminds us of the importance of respecting other people's time and feelings, especially if we want them to do something like buy from us. The simplicity and profundity of Kawasaki’s message was quite a revelation to me.

Guy Kawasaki rose to prominence as a kind of roving public relations guy for Apple, the man being paid for his enthusiasm about the products and his ability to convey that enthusiasm.  I suspect that Kawasaki is an all-round charmer. Smiling, handsome and gifted with an ability to speak plainly and convincingly, Enchantment is as much a guide to his own success as to the potential successes of all of us. Published by Penguin Portfolio, it is aimed squarely at a business audience, but I think that almost anyone will find this book a valuable and idea-stimulating read, particularly if you work in a creative field.

Each chapter sets out a simple stage on the path to success, setting forth a number of ideas and case studies around each idea. From launching a product with pizzazz to overcoming the resistance of naysayers, Enchantment is an unpretentious and easily used guide to getting things done in the world.

And the trick, of course, is not just to make a flash first impression and then fall back on your usual traits of unsatisfactory personal interaction. We've all known those people - solicitous, interested and affable on the first meeting and then brusque, pushy or even standoffish on the second. Consistence is the key to charm, and in order to enchant others we must be consistently generous. It should come as no surprise that a willingness to help and give is seen almost universally as being an attractive quality that attracts other people to us. That said, most people still remain almost exclusively focused on getting something from others, and Kawasaki says that if we make consistent giving a focus in our lives we will soon see the benefits. He recommends ways of giving that invoke kindly feelings in others and encourages them to reciprocate:

1. Give with joy
2. Give early
3. Give often and generously
4. Give unexpectedly

Of course, if you make this a part of your life you will soon realise that giving is its own reward and is much larger than simply another technique to manipulate others.

Naturally, Kawasaki is big on the use of technology. Engagement with social media is, he says, essential to any success at this moment of time. Dale Carnegie would have loved Twitter, he thinks, as it is the perfect way to build a tribe and begin to gain influence. So is having a blog. The key to success on social technologies is in not using it to sell aggressively or to brown nose important people. Our most important contacts come from a range of positions, fields and levels of social influence, and so we should seek to increase and strengthen our relationships upward, downward and from side to side.

In the latter chapters he provides quite specific techniques for using the various social media technologies, so this is a great book if you are starting out in this, or have been hesitant to properly engage.

Broadcast your own progress, form new friendships and deepen existing ones, and be careful about how you spend your money and time. Timeless advice, but still valuable and still not followed by most people you encounter. In this new world being a nice person has suddenly become a valuable asset. And there's nothing at all wrong with seeking to build on that talent and look for ways in which you can be more effectively likeable.

It's hard to fault Enchantment, which might be proof of the efficacy of its author's techniques. Get it, read it and put half a dozen (at least) of its hundreds of ideas into action. You have nothing to lose but your prickliness. 


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