Bela Gandhi is the Founder and President of the Smart Dating Academy, a full service personal consulting firm that provides successful professionals with dating coaching, image consulting, personal shopping, professional photography and online dating consulting.
Bela has been featured in major news outlets around the world, being called "the Fairy Godmother of dating" by Steve Harvey, and a "Cupid for hire" on The Today Show.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Bela, who's now taking what she learned and perfected in the dating world and applying it to businesses.
She discovered that many of the benefits clients were experiencing in dating were translating into performing much better at work, "They were getting bigger bonuses, bigger promotions, bigger jobs, and closing bigger deals." These unexpected outcomes, as she coined them, are the focus of her new venture, called Interpersonal Generosity.
"We date people we like, we marry people that we ultimately like, we hire people we like, we buy from people we like, so while competence and respectability are important in the workplace, something that we don't talk about as much is your likeability, which I believe is 51 percent of the equation," Bela stated.
She emphasized that Interpersonal Generosity is about helping people present themselves in a way that's more effective in the workplace, "We help increase people's awareness to improve their likeability and get bigger promotions."
Bela says that there are seven key principles to Interpersonal Generosity:
1. Focus on others.
"People are very self-centered. When we have a self-focus, we become socially selfish."
When you're focused on yourself in social situations, you feel anxious, forget names, and then stumble in your interactions, but when you change your mindset and start focusing on others, you create more positive energy and lower your anxiety.
2. Understand their real needs.
"What does this other person want? Ultimately, they want to feel good about themselves, they want to be valued, heard, and accepted."
Bela says that we all have those desires in social interactions, so instead of focusing on getting our needs met, when we shift and start trying to help others feel cared for and understood, they start liking us and giving us what we want back.
3. Like them first.
Bela says that you need to genuinely from your gut "focus on what's good about someone so that you can give them what they need. It's the food we all need that we don't get. The best way to get someone to like you is to like them first."
When you approach each interaction looking for the positive in someone else, you create an aura of warmth and positivity that always comes back around.
4. Be positive.
"Whenever you ask people if they're positive, it's like asking them if they're a good driver--everyone says 'yes'." Bela is quick to point out that most people think that they're positive in their interactions, but actually have no idea how they come off, which is typically due to their self focus.
When you're focused on yourself, you tend to dump bad things or feel the need to tell others how awesome you are--both of which push people away. "People only know what you present--so leave your baggage at home."
5. Write kindly.
Since 93 percent of communication is nonverbal, when you're in the digital world the 7 percent of verbal communication, or the words you write, become much more important.
When writing emails, think about how the other person is going to feel while reading your message, and then take an extra second to add a personal greeting or exclamation points.
Bela shared that, "Match.com did a study called Singles in America, and in 2015 they said that singles that used an emoji or two in their communications tended to be happier, tended to be warmer, and had more sex."
6. Know how to speak and listen.
Most people just wait their turn to start talking, but Bela says that a great conversation is like a good tennis match--one person needs to serve and the other needs to return. Invigorating conversations create a liveliness and depth that make people feel understood and interested in learning more about the other person.
7. Use good body language.
Be intentional with your body language. Bela recommends mastering the 93 percent of communication by remembering to SOFTEN UP.
S, stands for smile; O, means open body language; F, is for forward leaning to show interest; T, is remembering to touch someone appropriately to convey emotion; E, stands for eye contact; N, is for gentle nodding; U, means to listen with undivided attention; and P, means staying positive.
Bela is currently using Interpersonal Generosity with individual clients and consulting with corporations, where she does workshops and follow-ups to transform corporate culture and cultivate an environment of success.
Spending time with Bela taught me that establishing genuine relationships with others not only creates personal fulfillment, but can also improve your professional life.
Sometimes we just need to get back to the basics of treating people with love and respect, and being attentive to the needs of others rather than our own.