Jordan Harbinger On The Art Of Charm And Why It Makes All The Difference

Jordan HarbingerJordan Harbinger of The Art of Charm teaches ordinary guys to be extraordinary by teaching them all sorts of social skills. How to make a first impression – How to make eye contact – All sorts of those basic things that your mother should’ve taught you but didn’t – and now they’re really harming you in life but you don’t know it.  The interesting thing is the idea that somebody is really great in your profession because they are a natural. It is simply not true – they are learned skills. If you don’t think you need this, you do, so, well worth a listen.

What motivated me to start the site?  Well, I didn’t just do it myself. It was with my business partner, AJ.  I was working as an attorney on Wall Street, which is not a passion project for most normal human beings. It was something that I didn’t really see myself doing for a long time. I was hired by this lawyer, he was never in the office and he was rumored to make more money than everyone else, which I thought was really interesting, because for me, as a young attorney, billable hours was all anybody ever talked about. It was always, billable hours, billable hours, billable hours, so you thought they just want to know how much time you are spending in the office. If this guy is never there, how is he making more money? I just don’t get it.”

One day he took me out for coffee and he’s like, “Ask me anything,” and I said, “All right”,  how come everyone says you make more money but you’re never in the office?” and it was almost accusatory but he was like, “Fair enough. Here is the deal. All those guys that you see in the office at one o’ clock in the morning on a Sunday night, they are technical workers and they are blah, blah, blah, paying lip service to how great they are – but they are replaceable, and I’m out playing golf on charity cruises.” He had a great tan. He was from Brooklyn, what’s going on here? He’s like, “I’m generating business for the firm. I’m talking to the people that give us the deals and so, they have to pay me more because I own the client book, and not only do we have a commission structure for business brought in, which is how I primarily earn my money, aside from billable hours, it’s actually worth more, but it’s like I can bill a lot of the time I spend working with these guys and since I am not in the office, that’s largely up to me. Translation, “I’m padding the heck out of my hours because I’m billing rounds of – days – of golf as billable hours because I’m, “Selling the deal.””

Then he gets the commission off of it and then, when the firm went under a few years later, sneak peek, he walked right into another firm with a huge client book. That’s worth a lot. He became a partner at this other firm and everybody else just kind of  disintegrated. Actually, to be blunt, a lot of them “retired early” because if you’re a partner at one firm for 10 years or whatever and your firm goes under, you can bring a client book to another firm or you can go work as an underling, as a highly technically skilled underling, at another firm and grind away and not have a corner office because you need a paycheck. A lot of those guys having made millions of dollars were just like, “You know what, I don’t need this, I’m 50, I’m out.”

For me, what he told me changed the way that I look at work. And what that meant was, people skills will always trump technical skills, period. No matter what line of work you’re in. Maybe there are software engineers that go, “Oh you know what, it’s all about what you create,” but even then, I doubt it. Even then I was feeling that it’s probably more about who you know, once you get to these top levels. You could be a JavaScript ninja for a decade but if everyone thinks you’re a dork and that they can push you around, they’re going to, and you are not going to get a raise because they can probably replace you with someone else. Even if that person is inferior technically, if everybody likes them more, you are going to see how that works in reality, up close and personal, I think.

I set out to master people skills and really just work those networking angles, because I realized that no matter what, not just in the beginning but especially at the top, its all about who you know and not about what you know and that’s actually fortunate for a lot of us because it takes years to build high proficiency technical skill, it only takes a few years or even just several months to build a decent skill set for networking and personal charisma – and that’s what we teach at The Art of Charm.

I think people don’t realize how important these skills are. There’s a lot of people listening to this right now where they’re like, “I don’t need that, I work at the military, I work at Walmart where they have lock step, I work at this organization and we have a union and blah, blah, blah or whatever.” They don’t understand the secret game being played around them. If you think that you don’t need networking skills in whatever field you are in, you probably just don’t get what everyone else is doing behind closed doors, after working hours, after you go home.

That’s especially true even of people in the military. That was one of the most common sort of things I hear, “I don’t need networking skills, I’m in the military”, “I don’t need networking skills, I am in this government organization,” and so, I actually talked to some AOC program grads, one of whom is Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force, and he told me, “Oh, networking is extremely important in the military because since nobody does it, it’s worth even more than it is in other fields.”

Another friend, who is an intelligence agent, said, “Yeah, we are on this lock step promotion scale. We have these government pay scales, blah, blah, blah,” and I said, “So networking doesn’t do anything?” They are, like, “No! Networking is everything because since everybody gets paid an equal amount, you are getting paid the same amount of money if you work in a warehouse in North Dakota as if you work in a beachy environment in Hawaii, doing something outdoors.” The person who is in charge of making sure the beach is clear of debris in Hawaii might be at the same government pay grade as somebody whose job it is to stand outside a freezing cold warehouse and do some sort of security in North Dakota. Those people make the same amount of money. The lifestyle is completely different.

People are in denial about this but, you know, the truth is the people who ignore the networking skill set and say, “Oh, I don’t need this” – that’s usually fear based because they’re, like, “Oh, I don’t know how to do this, I am going to ignore it,” or, “Ugh, that sounds awful and scary, I don’t want to do it.” It’s just like people who say, “I don’t have to speak to get by as an author. I can just be a really good writer.” Well, we all know that authors who speak and do engagements are, by far, much more popular than authors who don’t, and some people are going, “No, they’re speaking because they’re more popular.” There is some degree of truth to that, but at the end of the day, if you go on a speaking tour and you are booking tons of entrepreneur events and you are a business book author, you are going to crush it, compared to the guy who is like, “I’m going to stay in my hovel and hope my work speaks for itself,” because that doesn’t work anymore. That may have worked when there were 10 new books a month from 4 different publishers and they did massive book tours and newspaper ads and all that stuff. You might have a million dollar book launch but you might be competing against somebody who has already got a ton of internet presence and is self-published and they are crushing you.

Favorite Books: How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie; The Charisma Myth – Olivia Kabanes

Favorite Resource: Zoho

Want to get a free audiobook version of the book recommended by this week’s guest?  Click here to download it.


Jordan HarbingerGuest – Jordan Harbinger of The Art of Charm


Jordan Harbinger has always had an affinity for Social Influence, Interpersonal Dynamics and Social Engineering, helping private companies test the security of their communications systems and working with law enforcement agencies before he was even old enough to drive.

Jordan has spent several years abroad in Europe and the developing world, including South America, Eastern Europe and the Middle East, and speaks several languages. He has also worked for various governments and NGOs overseas, traveled through war-zones and been kidnapped -twice. He’ll tell you; the only reason he’s still alive and kicking is because of his ability to talk his way into (and out of), just about any type of situation. Here at The Art of Charm, Jordan shares that experience, and the system borne as a result, with students and clients.

Jordan’s business sense, extensive knowledge of the industry and contemporary approach to teaching make him one of the best and most sought after coaches in the world.

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