September 2000 105

How likable are you?

HERE'S A WHOLE new reason to stop frowning and get happy: Your career depends on it. New research finds that a high Social Quotient (SQ)-psychology shorthand for qualities, like smiling often, that make you "likable" to other people-plays a key role in determining whether you'll be running the morning meeting or running for coffee.

In fact, a person's SQ is responsible for one third of her odds of success (brains and drive being the other two thirds), according to management consultant Van Sloan of Tiburon, California, the creator of the first SQ survey. He based his findings on previous psychological research and a new study of over 2,000 people. What's more, Sloan found that practicing specific social skills, like expressing empathy and smiling, can offset a lower IQ or a shortage of ambition.

"In a job situation, where many decisions to hire are based largely upon first impressions, SQ is extremely important," says Sloan, who recently presented his findings at the Fourth International Conference on Self-Esteem in San Francisco. "While IQ and ambition are not necessarily readily apparent, an employer can immediately sense your likability."

Although the actual SQ survey (you can find it at requires that other people evaluate you, the shorter version here, adapted for SELF with Sloan's help, can give you an idea of how you stack up.

No matter how you score, beware: "The true measure of your Social Quotient comes from how others perceive you," advises Sloan. So, for a reality check, ask friends to take this quiz and rate you. You may be startled-or, let's hope, in for a pleasant surprise. -Julia Savacool



Quiz yourself

Compare yourself with your friends and coworkers and answer each statement

(a) more than others, (b) the same as others or (C) less than others.

O I am upbeat and usually have a positive attitude.

O Overall, I consider myself an intelligent person.

O I usually like/get along with new people.

O I make an effort to be courteous.

O I smile.

O I am comfortable communicating my feelings and ideas verbally.

O I'm a happy person.

O I'm successful in hobbies and activities that involve group interaction.

O I enjoy listening to people.

O I find it easy to adapt to new situations.

Scoring: For every a answer; give yourself 10 points; each b response earns you five points; C answers are worth zero. A score of 80 or higher means you probably have a high SQ, says Sloan, and that could make you a wealthy woman (the top 25 percent of SQ scorers are likely to be offered a bigger starting salary at a new job, his research shows). Between 50 and 80 puts you on par with your peers, though there's still room to improve. Below 50? You need to work on your social skills or you risk being an underdog when it comes to success.

Go to: Female popularity test  on  which this SELF Magazine quiz was based

Go to: Europe's Journal of Psychology asks Sloan for an article

Go to: Home Page

Comments to:
Web (this website, 170+ pages on IQ and Success skills)

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