Who wouldn’t want to be more likable and have people think of them in a positive manner? There are many benefits to having others like us. Personally, we’ll form closer and deeper relationships with those that we want to be in our lives. In the workplace, being likable will result in better relationships with our colleagues and increase our chances for promotion.
Many people have the misconception that being likable is something that we are born with—like it’s some predetermined condition certain people are fortunate to have acquired. But like all human skills, we can become more likable by understanding what makes people like us and making a determined and consistent effort to practice those skills in our interactions with others. We will soon be rewarded when we start to see the positive difference that it is making.
Here are seven ways we can become more likable:
Express enthusiasm when meeting
When first meeting a new person, give your best smile, make eye contact, and open up your posture to its widest position. If shaking hands, make it firm and maintain solid eye contact. If you notice something about them that you can give them a sincere compliment about, do so. If there is a recent and proud accomplishment that you’re aware of, make sure to mention it.
Most people love to talk about themselves and will appreciate people who take the time to actually listen to what they say. The problem is that most of the time we are too busy thinking of our response and can’t wait for the opportunity to talk ourselves. Don’t fall into this trap. The next time you are in a conversation, pretend that you are being tested to see how much you can learn about the other person. Pretend you will have to write an essay on what you learned from speaking with this person, and make sure to genuinely focus on what they have to say. You might be surprised by how this changes the conversation for the better.
Be fully present
Have you every spoken with someone and found them distracted, glancing at others, or even checking their phone while you are speaking? You likely felt you were not very important to that person. Make others aware you are focused with making them the center of attention. Face them squarely, smile, make eye contact, and let them know that they are the center of your world while you are with them.
Learn to ask good questions
Conversations often die quickly, or turn into monologues when not prompted by good questions. When someone is talking about something that they enjoy doing, ask them about how they got into the activity, or what makes them enjoy it so much. Give the person you’re speaking with the opportunity to go deeper into a subject.
Figure out what you have in common
Discovering areas of shared interest is an excellent way to deepen our level of connection with others and increase their appreciation of us. We connect and develop good relationships with those we have things in common with. The commonalities may not always be obvious; we may have to look for them. For example, I often had the opportunity to chat with a dedicated runner at the fitness facility that I work out at. Since I had no interest in running, there seemed to be no common grounds for a connection. However, most people like food, so I asked him what he ate before a major run. It gave us something in common to discuss.
Remember names and details
Many people love to hear the sound of their own name. Use it when you first meet them and sprinkle it throughout the conversation as appropriate. (Just don’t overdo it!) Equally important is remembering other details about their lives that they have shared with you previously, like the names of their partner, children, or if they have a pet.
In my book, The Other Kind of Smart, I suggest making a note of important dates and sending cards or calling them on those dates. They will remember you more and look forward to more opportunities to connect.
Look for their areas of passion
When speaking to people, pay attention to what makes them become animated, lights up their face, or sit up straight. These are opportunities for us to help the speaker get further into topics that are of great interest to them. This can help you form strong positive impressions and lasting memories of people.