There are two kinds of books (ok – probably more than two kinds). There are “practical” books, and there are “theroetical” books. They are both valuable. Think about it this way. You can read Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson to think about the big picture of how groups and societies look for and find big, good ideas. Or, you can read The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp to learn how to actually look for ideas – how to build the habits that help you find those good ideas.
Of course, they overlap. And they are both very valuable.
I thought of this as I read through Enchantment, the new book by Guy Kawasaki. How good is it? I have not yet scheduled my presentation of it, but I have read most of it anyway – I could not wait to read it. In my book-presentations-scheduled world, this is a rare luxury.
Why is it such a valuable book? Because Guy Kawasaki may be the king of practical. His points are clear, simple, a blinding flash of “well, of course” wisdom, but no one else says it as simply or as clearly as he does.
Consider this one small section (the book is filled with other such practical counsel): How do you make a good first impression? Kawasaki believes that you have to enchant others – your audience, your clients, your potential customers, your friends…
Enchantment transforms situations and relationships. It converts hostility into civility. It reshapes civility into affinity. It changes skeptics and cynics into believers.
And to do that, you need to make a good first impression. So how do you succeed at making that good first impression? There are four crucial factors:
1) your smile
2) your dress
3) your handshake
4) your vocabulary
And then, he elaborates on each of these – telling you just what to do.
As I said, Guy Kawasaki is the king of practical.
You might want to read the reveiw of this book by Bob Morris on our blog: Guy Kawasaki’s Enchantment: A book review by Bob Morris.
This is short, and to the point. You don’t have long to make that good first impression. And that first impression is close to the whole ball game.
Or, let me put it this away. You may not “win,” (the job, the girl, the contract, the sale) in those first few seconds. But you can certainly “lose” in those first few seconds.
Here’s the latest reinforcement for this. It is from the gripping, lengthy article by Atul Gawande in The New Yorker: Letting Go: What should medicine do when it can’t save your life? (If you read this blog much, you know that I am a raving fan of Atul Gawande’s work). The subject is dealing with end of life issues. It’s not an easy article to read. But, I suspect, it is an important article to read.
But this blog post is not about the article itself, but about those first few seconds. The quote comes from Sarah Creed, a nurse for a hospice service. Here’s the quote:
The initial visit is always tricky, but she has found ways to smooth things over.
“A nurse has five seconds to make a patient like you and trust you. It’s in the whole way you present yourself. I do not come in saying, ‘I’m so sorry.’ Instead, it’s: ‘I’m the hospice nurse, and here’s what I have to offer you to make your life better. And I know we don’t have a lot of time to waste.’ ”
Here’s the life/business lesson: in every encounter, ask yourself – “how do I set myself up to ‘win’ in those first few seconds?”