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Changing people’s hearts and minds: the magic and practice of enchantment

Couple of days ago my work bought me a new laptop; this was not a privilege but necessity. My new ‘production tool’ is a Samsung, sleek, thin and light, and works like a dream (well, there is no need to get technical). It also looks very much like a Mac; which made me think.

My two lap tops – one personal and one from work – are both Samsung. This, however, is a coincidence rather than a signal of my attachment. Great machines! But would I stick with them? Would I follow closely every minor change and become a member of virtual and face-to-face fan clubs of Samsung? Not likely. But this is exactly what can be seen where Apple is concerned.

Apple doesn’t have customers; Apple is a cult and it has devotees. Here is the difference – Samsung does marketing; Apple are the masters of enchantment. But what is enchantment?

According to Guy Kawasaki ‘enchantment’ is a delight that permeates people’s minds and hearts and can change their actions. In his book, Enchantment, he has a bit of a problem to define it more specifically; the book, however, abounds with examples of people and businesses that have enchanted others. This distinction ought to be drawn early on: being enchanted by what you have to offer is nice but is not very helpful when it comes to changing the world and pursuing your ideas. Enchanting others is what the game is about.

Enchantment is not only about marketing of products; I believe that anyone who has managed to change the world for the better is an enchanter. For that matter, some historical figures who didn’t quite manage ‘the better’ part, were also enchanters – Alexander the Great, for instance. Jesus was certainly one; and Ghandi, and…the list can go on.

In his book, Kawasaki clearly distinguished between two sets of factors of enchantment – the one that is about you and the one that is about what you do.

Enchantment and you

This one is mainly about two things: that to enchant one has to be liked and trusted. Correspondingly, the question is how we can make ourselves ‘likable’ and ‘trustworthy’. Although most of the points that Guy Kawasaki makes about being liked makes perfect sense and are fairly intuitive, I still found that I have not thought about some of these. Smiling earnestly (making crow’s feet) – yeah, right! This may be OK for you American people but in good old Europe we still like to look fat too serious; so this smiling business doesn’t come easy at all.

I never thought to dress at the level of people I am trying to enchant. Until I read this book, my attitude to this was that I have a style, I like my style and if someone doesn’t – so be it. It never occurred to me that sitting in a meeting with loads of men in pinstripe wearing red jeans make me immediately an outsider who cannot enchant anyone; and my splendid ideas will go to waste (and be rubbished) not because of the ideas but because of the way I am dressed. Shallow, I know; but this one really works – I tried it!

Three other propositions caught my attention: don’t impose your values, find shared passions (my boss was mad on cricket, unfortunately) and create ‘win-win’ situations.

Similarly, if you wish to be trusted you ought to trust others, give from your heart, be knowledgeable and competent, enchant people on their terms and be a hero. You also need to be a mensch – in Yiddish this means to be honest, fair, kind and transparent at all times. Kawasaki provides a ten point check list to see whether you are a mensch. I scored pretty high – the only point at which I failed was the one requiring us to treat people who have wronged us with civility. I have tried but my roots are on the Balkans and this one is hard. If you would like to check how you fair you should read the book – all of it.

Enchantment and what you offer

This part of the equation is all about what you offer (the features of the novelty that can be taken up by many and transform the world) and how to offer it. There are many valuable messages but the ones I take away are:

  • It is important to create something new but it is has also to be great;
  • One has to set themselves for success;
  • What you offer may be great but if there are many fences making its use hard it is not going to fly;
  • Once you have a product you have to launch it; a lot hangs on the launch because this is when you truly win people.
  • Storytelling, audience immersion and involving the people you are enchanting are all vital;
  • Get your first follower; others will follow.

There is a lot more in this book than I can get in this article. Do I recommend the book? Absolutely!

It is intelligent, entertaining and well written, and extremely useful to anybody who has a creative bone in their body. Irrespective of the specific field of creation! For instance, what I learned from Enchantment is very helpful for my academic writing – it made me consider others and remember that it is all about convincing your peers that what you have done is interesting, useful and worth the effort to master and use.

Added bonus:

Apart from that, if hadn’t read this book how would I know that Geoffrey Beattie from the University of Manchester (where I also work) has developed the formula of perfect handshake. Ha! You want to know what this is, don’t you? Go find the book!

2 thoughts on “Changing people’s hearts and minds: the magic and practice of enchantment”

  1. While I agree with KC, there are lots of people with facts that bring zero enchantment. I was hired a ton to do public speaking because lots of numbers guys couldn’t tell stories, and that’s what people buy.


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