I was given tickets to ad:tech SF back in April and the main reason I decided to show up was because Guy Kawasaki was speaking. Guy used to be chief evangelist of Apple, has started several companies, and is the author of over nine books. He also studied psychology at Stanford and received his MBA from UCLA, but even more impressing is Guy just seems to be a passionate and authentic person in work and life. I am tempted to call him a Silicon Valley celebrity, but a Silicon Valley leader is probably more appropriate. I headed to the conference only to find out that my ticket didn’t provide access to his talk, but he was doing a book signing so I lingered around and talked to another incredible speaker while I waited. Finally, Guy took his seat and I brought my newly purchased book, Enchantment, for him to sign. Being his stand in photographer for ‘Guy and I’ selfies helped break the ice as I picked his brain about combining psychology with an MBA to build a foundation for my career goals . His advice was consistent with that he has previously said and written: learn how to sell. What is awesome about Guy is sales is something deeper to him. It isn’t a skill that fulfills a motive of fiscal or egotistical gain. It is a skill that is critical in sharing and executing your vision for a cause and it is what his book ‘Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions’ is about.
I really like the book ‘Enchantment” because it provides a guide to bringing 300,000 ft ideas or problems to 5 feet where they can be put into motion. Personally, communication is an evolving study for me because I tend to think people can read my mind or will grab onto my ideas immediately. I forget to give context to where my ideas come from and what they solve, so this book was great for me to learn some applicable steps between 0 and 60. “When you enchant somebody your goal is not to make money from them or to get them to do what you want, but to fill them with great delight,” writes Guy. In order to fill them with great delight you must communicate with them on their terms and to do this Guy talks about two foundational elements: likeability and trustworthiness.
Likeability: if I have to work with jerks I will, but if I had an option I would choose to be around pleasant people and the pleasant ones will win long term. What I like most in this chapter is attitude. When you have a positive attitude everything aligns with it, and a simple smile can kick it off. Simply repositioning thoughts about going to a waste of time meeting towards thoughts of getting to be in a room with people you like or getting a break from your computer screen will help change your posture.
Research to know, not to impress I once interviewed somebody who had studied my LinkedIn profile and admitted to it. It was a little creepy after he revealed he had notes, but it got me thinking. It is all about intention. You should definitely learn about somebody you will be meeting with so you can connect with them in an authentic, meaningful way. This will start to build likeability rather than just an interaction. Be curious about them, but don’t try to impress them.
Trustworthiness: “Competence is different from knowledge, because knowing is not the same as doing. Competence means that you have progressed beyond knowing what to do, to doing what you know.” Do what you know and know what you are doing. Have you ever been shopping and asked somebody on the floor a specific question? More times than not they don’t know the answer. They can find out, but how refreshing is it when they know exactly what you are talking about and can respond with competence. As an example, I will shift your attention to mixology bars in San Francisco. Most bars you go to have default drinks. You ask for something fancy and maybe they will throw in some flavoring. Bars like Rye can take it ten times farther. Give them a theme or a key ingredient and they will make you something custom on the spot. They are able to bring their knowledge to the forefront and create something you trust.
With likeability and trustworthiness you can begin changing hearts, minds and actions as you bring structure to your cause and take it to the streets.
Prepare your Cause Is your cause worthy? Guy provides some filters for this: deep (have you anticipated customer needs), intelligent (is your solution smart), complete (is it a 360 degree experience), empowering (does it provide better and new opportunities) and elegant (does it show you care about the user)
Launching Tell a story! I’ve heard this over and over again and every time it is an important reminder. With this story plant seeds and immerse people. I heard an incredible example of this from the developer of the Pinstagram app @pekpongpaet . They launched the app with the story of two friends from Pinterest and Instagram coming together to make a new experience. They fed headlines and quotes directly to news sources so it was incredibly easy for publications to pick up and publish. Another point in this chapter you can’t do without is get your first follower. If you do not fight for your first sale or follower you can become paralyzed. Go get it, even if it is utilizing a friend. You can be a tester, but you can’t be the first.
Resistance “Resistance to change is the norm, not the exception.” Expect resistance and be prepared to work through the varying reasons for it. If you truly address the question, “Is your cause worthy,” then it is unlikely the resistance will because your product is horrible. Do not rely on arguing through resistance, however. Find a way to agree on something, create a perception of familiarity or exclusivity, enchant the influencers, and invite them to experience your process (I love going to the TCHO chocolate factory tour in San Francisco and I often find myself promoting their chocolate because of it) are just a few ways.
Endure How do you make enchantment not only endure, but blossom? Don’t strive for one time interactions, but think ahead about creating a lasting and contagious relationship. Encourage users to identify and ultimately believe in (internalize) your cause. Guy warns to watch out for ‘pluralist ignorance’ where people are just following because other people are, this won’t encourage commitment and consistency. Building an ecosystem with opportunities to belong and contribute, maintaining a diverse team and promoting spreadability can foster endurance for your cause.
Push/Pull Technologies These two chapters offer some specific applications of push and pull technologies/strategies. I’m grateful for us all that Guy included this. When most people hear the words social media they think Twitter and Facebook and just know they need to be there. Guy gives a better view of tools and how they can be used effectively: presentations, email, Twitter, websites, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube. There are some incredible tips and guidelines here, one piece I appreciated most was asking for things through email. Thank you Guy for giving me permission to ask for things and how: ‘suck up’, explain what you do, prove you know what I am interested in and ask for something. There are new social technologies popping up all the time and the information he provided will scale to these.
Enchanting Employees & Your Boss I agree with Guy that not all people are motivated by money. Providing bonuses and raises won’t create an enchanted employee and I love the MAP he provides: mastery, autonomy and purpose. Provide training, know when to get out of the way and connect to the purpose of the organization. A good rule he provides for leaders is to judge your accomplishments and judge your employees intentions. When it comes to enchanting your boss there is making them look good, drop everything for them and do what they say, and under-promise and over-deliver, but prototype your work is what stuck with me. Do the first part of the work quickly and ask for feedback. The end product will not be a surprise and will produce better results. Don’t worry about bugging your boss or feeling like you are asking them to hold your hand. This isn’t asking to be micromanaged, it is asking for a round of feedback.
Resist Enchantment “Dopeler effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.” Avoid tempting situations that aren’t for your best interest, consider long term implications and don’t be afraid to ask what you don’t know or look at expertise from different angles.
This book not only teaches you about enchantment, but also exemplifies it through stories, push/pull technology elements and the’surprise chapter’ that explains the “Kawasaki Swallowtail” on the cover. It is a great read with substance that you will come back to.