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The Likable Way to Work with Another's Emotions with Tim Sanders

By Arel Moodie

· Conversation,Interview

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I am EXCITED today to introduce to the show Tim Sanders! Tim is a former Yahoo! executive and NY Times best selling author of Love is the Killer App. 

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Tim joins us on the Art of Likability to share about how likability has helped him successfully work with others' emotions. We even learn how likability won the Texas Longhorns football team a championship!

Maybe you find that you have to work with others' emotions a lot too. If two people come to you with different ideas and you can only pick one, someone is bound to end up disappointed? What's the most likable way to handle this situation? Let's get started answering this question!

Likability: An Integral Part of Yourself

Being friendly is the foundation to likability. Could you picture an unfriendly person acting likable?

We can like people not because of who they are, but because that we are naturally friendly people.

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You naturally look for the good rather than the bad in people and in yourself.

Find the Nut, Dump the Shells

Tim relayed a childhood story of how he got up to sing at church once. Almost everyone loved his singing, but a few kids decided to make fun of his singing.

He was distraught when he got home and told his grandmother he would never sing again. In response, she cracked open a walnut for him to eat.

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Instinctively, he ate the nut and dumped the shells. This turned into an instructive moment from grandmother to grandson:

"Why focus on the bad (the shells) if you have the good (the nut)?" Why worry about the kids making fun of your singing if everyone else loved it?  

Find the nut, dump the shells. This also become very helpful when we need to work with others' emotions and feelings.

A Step-by-Step Guide: Working with Others' Emotions

What if two people come to you, their team leader, with different ideas on a project? You may need to choose one over the other, and this could lead to someone else feeling disappointed? How do you keep everyone encouraged and productive? Tim shares with us a process for helping discouraged co-workers:

1. Recognize their feelings

Even if you've decided on another course of action, you can see that their complaint and idea came from a good place. Find the nut, dump the shells.

2. "I'm sorry." Give them a "pregnant pause."

Give their feeling validation. Allow them to elaborate by staying silent and listening with a "pregnant pause" so you can better understand them.

3. "What should we do about it?" Give them another pregnant pause.

Now if they're problem oriented, you give them validation there. Using another pregnant pause gives them an opportunity to elaborate. Afterwards, the conversation can end, with you having validated your co-worker's emotions.

4. (if needed) An Explanation

If you receive further pushback after the first conversation, this is where you can remain steady instead of sponging up their emotions. After you've given them the gift of validation, offer an explanation for why you made the decision as such.

Did you know that the biggest complaint about workplace leaders is that they lied in the past? A second and big complaint is that they were distracted and did not pay attention.

For the biggest complaint, honesty can be the best policy. But what about distraction, especially in the information age with smartphones and devices all on our person?

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It's easy to get distracted with smartphones and media everywhere. Tim himself makes a practice of leaving his phone behind before going to a meeting. If networking, he might even bring a camera instead of a phone-a much more social device!

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Thank you Tim for coming onto the show! You can find Tim at  He even has a specific link for Art of Likability listeners at!

Please include your email below so you can get heads-up, first look notice for our upcoming FREE, LIVE WEBINAR!

We'll be discussing advanced likability tips and additional future content for all of the Art of Likability family to enjoy! You'll get to discuss and ask me questions live!

Remember: You Are Awesome!