You (don’t) like me! You really (don’t) like me!

Who can ever forget Sally Field’s joyful proclamation to the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences audience after winning the Best Actress Award for “Places in the Heart”?

“You like me!” she shouted, with a smile bright enough to light the darkest recesses of Donald Trump’s mind. “You really like me!”

I cite The Donald in my analogy because, love him or hate him, Trump possesses likability, that rare quality of being able to to put a smile on others’ faces.

Hillary Clinton would kill to be liked. It’s a “fault” that’s dogged Hillary throughout her long, and, yes, checkered, political career.

I believe most people respect Hillary’s intellect and experience, if not her decision-making. But, as a recent HuffPo survey shows, Hill’s likability numbers are cratering faster than the Mets’ chances of reaching the NLCS.

huffpo hilllary polls

Desperate to turn things around, Clinton appeared in a skit on last week’s Saturday Night Live, playing of all things, a bartender. You decide if she’s funny, or not.

Clinton is making one HUGE mistake in her likability crusade. She’s trying to force the desired result.

One cannot force likability. You’re either likable or you’re not.

I’ve seen friends try to be likable in the middle of a conversation by laughing at exactly the wrong moment.

I’ve watched others attempt to force likability by citing their numerous academic credentials. One friend, in particular, never fails to remind me that he once earned an MBA. While impressive, the academic credential comment NEVER has anything to do with the conversation at hand.

We train our employees (and clients) in the art and science of stand-up comedy. We do so to enhance their listening, presentation and rapport-building skills. And, while we can’t teach them to be likable, we can show them how to express vulnerability and empathy.

That’s because vulnerability and empathy can play important, if subtle, roles in winning over a Greenwich Village Comedy Club audience or a group of Fortune 500 decision-makers.

Alas, Secretary Clinton (as some choose to call her) projects neither vulnerability nor empathy.

In the final analysis, it’s not Benghazi or her “damn” e-mails (as Bernie Sanders referred to them) that are blocking Hillary’s road to the Oval Office. It’s her lack of vulnerability and empathy. And those traits, my fellow Americans, cannot be forced.

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