Keynote speaker and best-selling author Nicholas Boothman answers my questions about first impressions, how to get your ideas accross and connect in business… in 90 seconds or less!
This should have been a phone interview but because Nicholas and I couldn’t hear every other word we were saying (Canada and Siberia seem to have problems hearing each other), Nicholas kindly answered the questions by email (that’s why he often refers to the “phone call”).
Hi Nick, thank you for being here! Welcome on the fresh & improved interview blog “Veronika Asks”. Would you please introduce yourself to our readers (in 90 seconds or less)? Please tell us about your best-selling books…
I wrote my first book How to Make People Like You 90 Seconds or Less after spending 25 years as a fashion photographer traveling all over the world, and as a father of five. I was forever meeting people who had enormous potential but were rather like roses with rubber bands wrapped around them. They would never really blossom until someone took that rubber band off. The rubber band was really basic people skills. So I decided to do something about it. The result was a very simple book that showed, rather than told people, what to do.
I self-published the book and sold it at speaking engagements. It wasn’t long before I was approached by an agent in New York. Quite quickly I had offers from a few publishers including Random House but decided to go with Workman because they are committed to their books and authors forever. How to Make People Like You 90 Seconds or Less to date, has been published in 30 languages, was the number one self-help audio download on iTunes for more than five years and still sells like hot-cakes.
On my first book tour I was often asked, “are one-book wonder?” I didn’t want to be a one-book wonder. Workman suggested I write a business book so I wrote How to Connect in Business in 90 Seconds or Less. This book is also in approximately 20 languages and is the signature topic for my speaking career.
I was very surprised to discover you wrote “How to Make Someone Fall in Love with You in 90 Seconds (Or Less…)”. Looks like magic! Do you mean that love and making somebody fall in love with you can be approached the same way as business and networking? Shouldn’t we just be ourselves to be loved?
Actually, the title is How to Make Someone Fall in Love with You in 90 Minutes or Less (my bad, typing error. Sorry Nick): 90 seconds would indeed be magic although, in about 30% of all the successful relationships we looked at (including my own), the couple did know mutually, within 90 seconds, that they were made for each other. You ask the interesting question about who we just be ourselves to be. We live in a world today where millions and millions of introverts are forced to masquerade as extroverts to make a living. Lots of people don’t know who they are or don’t remember who they are. People wear masks. How to Make Someone Fall in Love with You looks behind the mask. In researching the book we found that great couples are, what I call, Matched Opposites: they are blend of like attracts like and opposites attract. Rather like your hands, they Are almost identical but they are opposites. Essentially, I prefer the French title, How to Unlock Love in 90 Minutes or Less.
All my books are based on modeling excellence in other people. In other words find somebody who’s good at doing something and figure out how they do it. My background in and Neuro Linguistic Programming allows me to do this.
To write How to Make People Like You we looked at about 300 people who are what you might call “socially gifted.” We looked for common threads. We also looked at about 200 people who consistently have problems connecting with others. The book is based on what we found.
For the business book we looked at approximately 700 people who in 90 seconds or less could connect, neutralize the fight or flight response, begin to engender trust and respect, start to find common ground, and begin to put their ideas “top of mind” in the other person. We also looked at 300 people who found connecting in business and establishing a trusting rapport to always be a struggle. Again, we looked for common threads in both groups and posited the question: is it possible to move from strugglers to the successful group? The answer is always yes: if you want to. You’d be surprised how many people didn’t actually want to.
For How to Make Someone Fall in Love with You we spoke to just over 2000 people who had been together for more than 20 years and were still actively crazy about each other, and about 300 people who consistently messed up.
“How to Connect in Business 90 Seconds or Less” is a #1 bestseller in France (it’s even the version I have at home). Do you speak French?
I used to speak reasonable French. Right now I’m brushing it up as two of my books are being launched in France in the next two months and I’m going to be interviewed by the French media.
Can anyone become an ace in business and networking with your books and mentoring? I’m talking here about people who’re scared to death at the simple thought of introducing themselves to people they don’t know…
You can only become an ace in business and networking in anything in life if you really care about your ideas. My books will help you streamline your ability to connect and network and be natural. People who are “scared to death of the simple thought of introducing themselves to people they don’t know” will stop feeling that way once they care passionately about some idea or cause.
In the large majority of cases, it’s because they care more about themselves than other people that they are scared. Another reason many people are uncomfortable connecting with others is that they simply don’t have much practice. Many young people today are being raised by parents who don’t have people skills.
You say in “How to Connect in Business in Less Than 90 seconds” that the most important communication tools are the face, body, attitude and voice. What if your voice is the only factor involved?
If we were on the telephone right now the only feedback we would get from each other would come from our voice tone. Voice tone is the true indicator of somebody else’s emotions, so obviously on the telephone, to be congruent [believable], your words and your tone of voice should be saying the same thing.
What about emails and letters? How to catch somebody’s attention? I mean, I spend a good deal of my time sending interview requests. What can I do to catch somebody’s attention with the help of a few lines or a Twitter post?
When it comes to e-mails and letters, and indeed writing a book, I find that making my words sound conversational produces the best results. That being said, never confuse conversation with communication. Conversation is the informal exchange of information and thoughts used to build relationships. Communication is very different. Communication is goal oriented. That means you have to know what you want and communicate it in the positive. As far as attracting some attention, a few catchy words is always the best way.
Imagine the following situation: you dislike the person you have to connect with. What will you do?
This question is too vague. If we were having this interview on the telephone I would ask you why do you dislike the person and why is it you want to connect with them? There’s plenty you can do but first I need these two questions answered.
If the first impression is disastrous, can we do something to improve the situation or is it toast? What if the person in question simply doesn’t like you?
Again if we were talking on the telephone I would ask you how do you know the person doesn’t like you?
The first thing we respond to the people is always the attitude: it is your attitude at the beginning of an encounter, more than anything else, that determines your success or failure. We respond to other people’s attitudes. That’s why I talk about “really useful attitudes” and “really useless attitudes.” In business really useful attitudes might include enthusiastic, resourceful, curious, and welcoming. Really useless attitudes might include bored, rude, hostile and angry: or appearing to be that way. Plenty of people send mixed messages with their body-language and voice tone. You might think somebody is angry at you but they might think they’re sounding enthusiastic. To answer the first part of your question respectfully synchronizing another person’s body language and voice tone will go a long way to correcting a bad first impression.
Would you define your book as an universal law for networking? There are people who’re miles away from the right attitude in business. Aren’t they playing a role, following your advices? Sooner or later, their real personality will take over…
My books are not a universal law for anything. They simply tell you what works and what doesn’t work. When it comes to connecting with others, successful people do certain things in a certain order, those for who connecting is a struggle either don’t do any of them or do them in the wrong order. Over and over I hear people say, “when people get to know me they really like me.” This is fine for your family or your next-door neighbors or people who can’t escape you, but in business or in dating people form first impressions unconsciously, my books tell you what to do to maximize those first impressions.
Tell us more about your online service “I need a boost”…
My Boosts are simple hints and tips that I share with my readers and those who visit my website. I send out a new Boost about every two weeks. They take anywhere from 90 seconds to two minutes to read and have become extremely popular. I know of three corporations who forward them, one to 9000 people, another to 4000 people, and yet another to 3500 people. All in all they are probably read by more than 100,000 people every two weeks. Anyone can sign up by going to my website and clicking on the “I need a Boost” button.
In your book, you mention Charlie Sheen’s character in “Wall Street”, Bud Fox, as a good example to follow. Do you know a few other people or fictional characters who’re really good at connecting in business and getting what they want? Somebody we should take example on?
In the public eye I think Warren Buffett, Steve Jobs and Candace Bergen are great examples because they are natural, graceful, amusing, talk in pictures and don’t take themselves too seriously: at least not in public.
Can you tell us more about your projects?
In the last year I’ve been offered many projects. A daily talk show, a TV reality show, and an online quiz website around the notion of “is it real love?” I actually make my living as a business, keynote speaker. I enjoy traveling around the world in meeting dynamic people. I’m sure you, Veronika, fit into that category. You are young, determined, exciting, full of good energy and know exactly what I mean.
The infamous “Nothing-to-do-with-books-question”: you’ve found $100, how will you use your newly acquired money?
I’d buy a big bunch of bright yellow roses and tell my wife how crazy, madly, deeply in love I am with her, more and more each day.
Is there something you’d like to add, Nick?
I like to share two things. First, whether you like it or not, people decide how they feel about you in the first 2 seconds of seeing you, or hearing you, if it’s on the phone. If they like you, they will unconsciously tend to see the best in you and look for opportunities to say “yes.” If they don’t like you, the opposite is true.
The second comes from the preface of How to Make People Like You.
The “secret” of success is not very hard to figure out. The better you are at connecting with other people, the better the quality of your life.
Thank you, Nick!
You can learn more about Nicholas Boothman and his books at http://www.nicholasboothman.com