This story starts with my glasses.
By now, if you’ve watched me enough on Bloomberg Television, you’ll know that a few years ago I began to wear glasses on air. The reason why is rather mundane: one early morning my contact lenses tore while I was putting them on, giving me no choice but to leave my glasses on.
Soon after, seeing me in glasses became a “thing.” Viewers commented on how much they liked them. My colleagues asked what brands I wore. I began to wear ones in different colors and matched them to my outfits or my mood. From then on, glasses became part of my “brand.”
I learned a very valuable lesson from this experience. The glasses, while a curiosity point, made people “feel” something. The glasses were fun, quirky, identifiable. When I put on a pair of wild-colored ones, people felt more open to talk to me. I was approachable. More than just a fashion statement, the glasses triggered an emotional response in people that left a far bigger impact than anything I said on air.
Let me repeat that again.
Nobody remembers anything I’ve ever said on air. They all remember the glasses I wore.
Some people might read this and say that is very shallow of people. It is actually very authentic. The sooner you realize why, the quicker you’ll be able to understand how to win friends, fans and followers.
The “why” is that more than anything, people remember how you made them feel. Don’t take my word for it, read what the great poet Maya Angelou once said:
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
Taken to an extreme, I could say just about anything but so long as I made you feel great about yourself, you’d think I was the most intelligent, warmest person alive. We don’t need to look farther than what happened in this presidential election to see how powerful feelings are. Donald Trump emotionally connected with his followers. He made them feel powerful, supported, heard–it didn’t matter how factual his comments were so long as he kept their momentous feelings up.
I’m learning how powerful feelings are when it comes to connecting with people. The pieces I write that make people feel something–including this one–are the most popular. The easiest way to make people feel something is simply to listen to them. I’ve often said that the most important person in the world is yourself. If you take the time to listen to another person, you’ll make them feel like a winner.
And speaking of feelings, we often try not to hurt people when we’re giving them critical feedback. This often leads to vague, useless feedback which benefits no one. Watch how some CEOs deliver hard criticism without hurting the people who work for them.