Tag Archives: Likeability

The theatre of likeability.

In any pitch, no matter how apparently mundane, when push comes to shove it is not the clever solution or the carefully crafted argument that wins the day. It is the sense of theatre that captures and makes the emotional connection with the audience.

Fine words are important, yes, but it is the look, the feel and the tone, just as in drama, that make the lasting impact.  Cameron and Clegg understood this in what was a make or break first joint press conference.


” The extraordinary press conference in Downing Streeet’s rose garden could have been directed by Richard Curtis, a light romantic comedy with the male leads played by Hugh Grant and Colin Firth”.(Sunday Times).

It was calculated performance. Calculated to make us feel good, after days and months of uncertainty, about them, the coalition and, for a while anyway, the future. And it worked. They understood that in any pitch the judges, us in this case, are  thinking ‘Do I like these people? Do they like each other?’

What happens in too many pitches is that teams are so concerned about getting the words absolutely right that they concentrate on this at the expense of performance. Their natural likeability is diminished, enthusiasm becomes forced and  confidence falters. 


All pitches call for some level of theatre that allows personality to make an impact and this in turn calls for rehearsal.

Only through rehearsal can you work on the dynamics of the team and see how people ‘come across’  as opposed to simply ‘what are they saying’.

And, rehearsal makes nice people nicer!


Two recent posts, Just Be Yourself and Easy Opening, both looked at  some practical ways of handling nerves in a pitch, allowing your nice side to shine through.  Some interesting observations on http://theresazagnoli.blogspot.com reinforce the importance of being nice, being likeable.

“Gallup’s ‘Personality Factor Poll’ concludes: it turns out that in politics, the single best determination of electability is likeability. Not knowledge, not experience, not the candidate’s position on a specific issue– likeability.”

This is one of the reasons the Obamas, both of them, rate so highly and why Boris Johnson is a more formidable politician than many had anticipated.

It’s much the same in business. People, decision makers, chose to work with people they like.

Interestingly, when formal rating or evaluation is applied to assess a pitch, factors such as likeability are rarely included, or at any rate not in an overt sense.  However, it is self-evident that ‘likeability’ will increase scoring across all the measured elements.

Nice guys do come first.  And, not for the first time here, rehearsal makes nice people nicer!