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更新时间:2014-4-4 21:07:36 来源:华尔街日报中文网 作者:佚名

Why Likability Matters More Than Ever At Work

Is the workplace becoming more like high school?

'Likability' is becoming a bigger factor for success at work as social networks and videoconferencing grow. The impact goes beyond a high-school popularity contest. The ability to come across as likable is shaping how people are sized up and treated by bosses and co-workers.

Likable people are more apt to be hired, get help at work, get useful information from others and have mistakes forgiven. A study of 133 managers last year by researchers at the University of Massachusetts found that if an auditor is likable and gives a well-organized argument, managers tend to comply with his suggestions, even if they disagree and the auditor lacks supporting evidence.

Likability is more important -- and harder to pull off -- on video than in person. Sometimes this can result in a style-over-substance effect. People watching a speaker on a videoconference are more influenced by how much they like the speaker than by the quality of the speaker's arguments, according to a 2008 study in Management Science. The opposite is true when a speaker appears in person. The use of personal videoconferencing is expected to grow 47% annually through 2017, according to Wainhouse Research, a Boston market-research firm.

Social networking also places a premium on likability. More employers track employees' likability on in-house social networks and chat services. They recruit those who are trusted and well-liked to spread information or push through changes. Some companies take these employees' social clout into account when handing out raises and promotions.

Listeners tend to like speakers who seem trustworthy and authentic, who tell an engaging or persuasive story and who seem to have things in common with them, says Noah Zandan, president of Quantified Impressions in Austin, Texas, a provider of communications analytics. On video, these qualities can be hard to convey.

Many people make a negative impression on video by becoming stiff and emotionless, or by exaggerating their points. 'Overacting is rampant. It's easy to go Ryan Seacrest when the red light goes on,' says Tim Sanders, author of 'The Likeability Factor' and a lecturer on the topic.

Job applicants interviewed on video receive lower likability ratings and interview scores, and are less likely to be recommended for hiring, than candidates interviewed in person, according to a study published last year in Management Decision.

But coaches say that likability can be taught. 'Likability isn't something you are born with, like charisma. It's something you can learn,' says Ben Decker, chief executive officer of Decker Communications, San Francisco, a training and consulting firm.

The 'big three' behaviors most important to a speaker's likability are making eye contact by looking into the camera, smiling naturally when you talk and varying your tone of voice to convey warmth and enthusiasm, Mr. Decker says. To show the importance of nonverbal cues, he has clients role-play on video the first few minutes of an imaginary conversation with a client -- then watch themselves with the sound off.

Mr. Decker also urges clients to 'really think about the listener' and figure out goals he or she might share with you. The ability to find common ground with others is a cornerstone of likability.

Melissa Temple-Agosta has her salespeople take Decker training partly so they learn to come across as warm and engaging in training videos. Many were likable in person, but 'when you put them in front of a camera, they froze,' says Ms. Temple-Agosta, assistant vice president, education and training, for Urban Decay Cosmetics, Newport Beach, Calif., a division of L'Oreal. Employees learn to think less about their appearance and more about how to forge a connection with listeners.

Senior executives at Charles Schwab & Co. take the training partly because 'making sure you come across as authentic and as someone who can be trusted becomes more important' when speaking to large groups on video or webcasts, says Jay L. Allen, executive vice president, human resources, for the San Francisco-based financial services firm. Managers also learn to speak with more enthusiasm on video, varying their tone, Mr. Allen says.

It is important to get to the point quickly on video, because viewers' attention span is short, Mr. Sanders says. Research shows that watching people on video imposes mental demands, called 'cognitive load' by scientists, that make it harder to avoid distractions and process what is said.

Mr. Sanders suggests paying special attention to others' facial expressions in videoconferences, stopping the conversation to acknowledge their feelings if necessary. Empathizing with others' feelings creates a sense of connection.

A common mistake people make on video is to play the comedian. Mr. Sanders says: 'If you insist on poking fun at someone, it has to be you.'



讨人喜欢之人获得工作机会、在工作中得到帮助、从别人那儿获得有用信息以及错误得到原谅的可能性更高。马萨诸塞大学(University of Massachusetts)的研究人员去年对133名管理者的调研发现,如果一名审计师招人喜欢并且提出了条理清晰的论据,管理者往往会遵从他的建议,即使他们并不赞同而且审计师也缺乏佐证。

与当面交流相比,讨人喜欢的能力在视频中更重要,而且也更难表现出来。有时候这还会引发一种外表高于实质的效应。《管理科学》(Management Science)在2008年刊登的一项研究表明,对于视频会议中的讲话者,人们会更多地受到他们对讲话者的好感度,而非其理据质量的影响。在讲话者真人出现时,情况正好相反。波士顿市场调研公司Wainhouse Research称,到2017年底个人视频会议的使用量每年将增加47%。


得克萨斯奥斯汀交际分析服务商Quantified Impressions的总裁诺厄·赞丹(Noah Zandan)指出,听众往往喜欢讲述的事例吸引人或有说服力、看上去值得信赖和真诚的讲话者,以及似乎与他们有共同点的讲话者。这些品质在视频中难以表现出来。

许多人在视频中会变得僵硬呆板、面无表情或者夸大他们的观点,从而给人留下不好的印象。《好感度指数》(The Likeability Factor)一书的作者、该主题培训讲师蒂姆·桑德斯(Tim Sanders)说:“过度反应非常普遍。摄像机的红灯一亮,人们很容易就变得像瑞安·西克雷斯特(Ryan Seacrest)一样了。”

去年发表于《管理决策》(Management Decision)的一项研究指出,与当面接受面试的求职者相比,进行视频面试的求职者获得的好感度评分与面试分数更低,而且被推荐雇用的几率也更低。

不过,培训师称讨人喜欢的能力是可以教授的。旧金山培训与咨询公司Decker Communications的首席执行长本·戴克尔(Ben Decker)说:“讨人喜欢的能力并非天生的品质,就像感召力一样。它是你能学会的东西。”



梅利莎·坦普尔-阿戈斯塔(Melissa Temple-Agosta)为欧莱雅(L'Oreal)旗下加州纽波特比奇(Newport Beach)化妆品公司Urban Decay Cosmetics负责教育与培训业务的助理副总裁。她派出了公司的销售人员接受戴克尔的培训,部分原因是为了让他们在培训视频中表现出亲切和迷人的形象。她说,很多人在面对面沟通时很讨人喜欢,但是“当你把他们拉到摄像机面前时,他们就变呆了”。员工们还学会了减少对外表的关注,转而更多地思考如何与听众建立联系。

旧金山金融服务公司嘉信理财公司(Charles Schwab & Co.)的人力资源执行副总裁杰伊·L.艾伦(Jay L. Allen)称,该公司的高管之所以接受培训,部分原因在于在视频或网络直播中向一大群人讲话时,“保证你表现出真诚和值得信赖的形象变得越发地重要了”。他说,管理者还学会了在视频中讲话时表现得更热情,变化他们的语调。