Likeability is a fun concept. It literally refers to your ability to be liked by others, and, according to author Tim Sanders, it is an ability.
Sanders, author of the new book 'The Likeability Factor: How to Boost Your L Factor and Achieve Your Life's Dreams," thinks that like any ability, likeability can be honed and improved.
On Wednesday, he joined MSNBC's Tucker Carlson to discuss the theory.
To read an excerpt of their conversation, continue to the text below. To watch the video, click on the "Launch" button to the right.
TUCKER CARLSON: Isn't there something kind of a little synthetic about the idea of learning to be likable?
TIM SANDERS: Actually, the idea here is you learn how to be emotionally intelligent. When I say someone is likable, all I mean is they have this consistency in their ability to produce positive experiences for other people, emotionally. I am just saying that people can work on their emotional intelligence. That will result in them being more likable.
CARLSON: I am going to read you a list of five names of public figures. I want you to tell me quickly, each one, is the person likable, not likable, and what makes him or her so? Ready?
SANDERS: OK. Let's do it.
CARLSON: President Bush.
SANDERS: President Bush, won the last election due to his likeability factor. The barbecue test poll in Ohio proved it. It was only a point off the actual results a week later. His likeability factor to his fans has been high. Obviously his approval factor has suffered recently, but he was more likable than Kerry.
CARLSON: Dick Cheney, lowest approval ratings of any human being currently living. People don't like him. Why not?
SANDERS: Yes. Most people, because what they see, there is a look on his face that basically tells the world he doesn't like people. And that is the root of the unlikable personality. If he would just learn to tell his face how happy he seems to be inside, at least when he is with Barbara Walters, I think it would completely change the way people see him.
Hillary Clinton, not liked, either loved or hated. Do you think she is fundamentally likable?
SANDERS: I think she can work on it. In my message to Hillary is please learn how to tell a joke, preferably about yourself, because your husband can't.
One thing I heard a political consultant say a few weeks ago, when it comes to personality, Hillary ain't no Bill. But, when it comes to finishing the job and process, in Congress Bill ain't no Hillary.
A lot of people, conservatives, have been very impressed when they worked side by side with her. If she could just learn to be a little bit playful, a little bit friendly, it could make a big difference overall.
CARLSON: There's no question Bill Clinton is likable. I can tell you he is likable in person. People like me who don't like him, like him when they are around him. What is the root of that? Why do people like Clinton?
SANDERS: Bill Clinton has probably got more connected emotional intelligence than any other politician we have seen since Ronald Reagan. He is absolutely aware of his emotional state.
He is absolutely aware at the same time of your emotional state when he is with you, and it's this presence that he has that really, really pulls us in. He also has tremendous empathy. That's one of the things a lot of people lack, when they have a low likeability factor.
CARLSON: I am total confused by this next one, Martha Stewart, is she likable?
SANDERS: Post-prison Martha is becoming much more likable. I think she had a scrooge like Dickens experience in the big house, and she realized long after people forget what she did they were going to remember how she made them feel. She got off her arrogance high horse, she's looking more like Rachel Ray every day.
CARLSON: Let me ask you about me, since I have your attention, and honestly I like you. I want to put a quote up. This is The New York Times sort of take on me. Some moron from The Times, Alessandra Stanley, a critic there, apparently still employed, described me as "surprisingly churlish. His opinions are loud, but ever more vaporous."
What can I do to make her like me?
SANDERS: You may not be able to do anything. There are certain people in the world that just aren't going to like you. Think politics. There's always people that, you know, the liberals, they hate the conservative examples I use, and vice versa.
Here's what I have learned, Tucker. Your life is full of undecided people that haven't quite figured out how they go about you, and life is all about undecided, and the likeability factor is the tie breaker.
Here is my quick advice for you. Don't lose that bow tie. Keep telling us the truth. And every day when you go to work, just ask yourself, do you really like people. If you let it show, no matter what kind of show you do, people are going to come around to you eventually.
CARLSON: Tim Sanders, I like you. You have succeeded. Very good.
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