By Guy Kawasaki
(Portfolio, 211 pages, $33.50)
Guy Kawasaki was so enchanted when he first saw the Macintosh computer in 1983 that he went from being a humble jeweller to working as chief evangelist for Apple. It was the second-most enchanting moment of his life, after meeting his wife, and it launched a 25-year fascination with the art of enchantment that has led to his latest book, Enchantment.
He defines enchantment as the process of delighting people with a product, service, organization, or idea. Enchantment leads to voluntary and long-lasting support that is mutually beneficial.
Enchantment covers a huge swath of our non-romantic life. In business, you can profit from enchanting your employees – and also enchanting your boss. It has obvious impact in marketing and sales. It can propel us forward, but it also can derail us when we become so enchanted with our product that we fail to understand why others don’t feel the same way.
To enchant, you must be likeable and trustworthy. Likeability starts with a smile. “What does it cost you to smile? Nothing. What does it cost you not to smile? Everything, if it prevents you from connecting with people,” Mr. Kawasaki writes.
We shouldn’t need advice on how to smile, but he warns that if you are grumpy it’s hard to have a smile that lights up a room. The fake smile that emerges uses only the zygomatic major muscle, which runs from your jaw to the corner of your mouth. He notes it has been called a “Pan American smile,” because Pan American flight attendants were supposedly not happy to see passengers.
Try instead for what he calls a George Clooney smile. This uses the orbicularis occuli muscle as well, which surrounds your eyes, making you smile and producing crow’s feet. “So when you meet people, think pleasant thoughts, fire up the orbicularis muscle, and make crow’s feet so deep that they can hold water. Call them laugh lines instead, if this makes you feel better. And for the sake of your smile, skip the Botox treatments and facelifts,” he advises.
For trust, he urges you to be a mensch, the German word for “human being.” In Yiddish it carries a far greater connotation of an upstanding person. Be honest, fair, kind, transparent, and thoughtful. Focus on goodwill. Give people the benefit of the doubt.
Mr. Kawasaki believes we are in the golden era of enchantment, because reaching people has never been easier, faster or cheaper thanks to digital technology.
He suggests that Dale Carnegie, who first hit the best-seller list in 1936 with his treatise on how to win friends and influence people, would have loved Twitter, because it would have allowed him to reach out faster and more frequently. Of course, Twitter may be passé in a few years time, surpassed by other technologies. But Mr. Kawasaki lays out some guidelines that can help you to deal with the rapidly changing workplace:
When people contact you, respond fast – these days, that means in less than a day. “Few people respond quickly, and this is why they don’t use technology as an effective enchantment tool,” he notes. If you respond quickly, you’ll stand out.
Treat everyone as equal, and respond to as many as you can. You never know who will become your most valuable supporter. “Remember: Nobodies are the new somebodies in a world of wide-open communications,” he says.
Engagement is a process, not an event. So don’t expect to engage people a few times and enchant them.
Use multiple media
The more forms of media you use, the more enchanting you will be. Remember that text, in his words, is so last century: Use pictures, videos, live chats, and audio.
Some social media experts suggest that you should avoid any overt promotion of your business or product in your tweets, blog posts, and newsletter updates. He argues that you should keep it to less than 5 per cent – unless no one complains, in which case you aren’t promoting enough and should increase. As a general rule, he says, the more value you provide to those receiving your messages, the more you can promote your cause.
Disclose your conflicts
Remember that trust is vital, so don’t hide your conflicts when communicating through social media.
This book covers wide territory under the rubric of enchantment, perhaps too much for some readers. Certainly it doesn’t feel tightly connected, and at times I had to remind myself of the overall thesis. But Mr. Kawasaki’s advice is sound, the ideas accessible, and enchantment in its many guises can certainly help you succeed. As a bonus, he offers a chapter on how to resist enchantment, when it can threaten you.
Toronto-based consultant Cy Charney’s books tend to be highly practical and his latest, J ust-In-Time Management (BPS, 296 pages, $22.95) is no exception, with 970 numbered tips on management that can guide you through various office quandaries. It can be – and probably should be – read lightly as a book, to get an idea of the terrain and ideas that are new to you. But it will be most useful as an encyclopedia when you need a blueprint for crafting strategy, being a great mentor, handling a conflict, or a variety of other workplace situations.
Special to The Globe and Mail