Are We Politicians in Business, Too?

Like everyone else, after watching the initial presidential candidate debates, I had my favorites, my dislikes and other judgments. But I am always surprised at how people make their decisions on who they like for our next president as opposed to their policies and issues.

I was speaking to a client who told me he loved Ben Carson. When I asked why, he said, “I like Ben Carson because he’s real. He seems to think about what he is going to say before he blurts it out. He also has a good sense of humor.” (That was based on his final comment about operating on babies.) But when I asked what he liked about Carson’s policies and the way he feels about particular issues, I heard crickets.

This is not unusual – scary, but not unusual. People make decisions typically not based on the words someone uses, but the language in which they use them.

Warmth and Power

We tend to judge the leaders who address us by at least two key dimensions: their warmth and their power. We ask: “Do I like this person?” and “Do I respect this person?” Those questions relate to their trustworthiness and competence as indicated by the warmth and the power they project, respectively.


Likability is essentially the most important factor in deciding on a political leader, a new employee or a salesperson. Businesspeople often figure out early on that being liked is important, but they don’t always know how to create this likability. The way they bond with others is often how they assume everyone bonds, though this isn’t always the case.


Most of us look for confidence in the people we hire and with whom we do business. There are some common characteristics that most people identify with confidence: 

” Eye contact: Trust is a big part of decision-making, and looking at someone in the eye creates trust. The ability to look at someone in the eye for at least a few seconds when an initial meeting happens is step one. 

” A strong handshake: A strong handshake, man or woman, will make the receiver feel assured you know your stuff.

” A true smile: Smiling is extremely impactful. If you don’t smile while doing some of these other things, you may seem insincere. 

” A sense of humor: Does it matter? It shouldn’t, but it tends to. People are judged as relatable when they can laugh at something; they become real.

Successful politicians and savvy businesspeople are well aware of these characteristics. We all know those “movers and shakers” in the community. They know everyone and everyone knows them. Is it popularity? Maybe.

When we were kids, didn’t we all want to be part of the popular crowd? Today isn’t all that different. We still want to be those people, it just may be judged differently. ?

Greta Schulz is president of Schulz Business, a sales consulting and training firm. She is a best-selling author of “To Sell is NOT to Sell” and works with Fortune 1,000 companies and entrepreneurs. For more information or free sales tips, go to schulzbusiness.com and sign up for “GretaNomics,” a weekly video tip series, or email sales questions to greta@schulzbusiness.com.

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Drew Limsky

Drew Limsky



Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.