I don’t think there is anyone who doesn’t like to be liked. Most people do care about what others think about them and feel good when they know they’re accepted and appreciated.
Now you may be thinking, being “likeable” can come easier to some. Like those individuals who when entering a room, can instantly make new friends. Who are attractive, effortlessly social, and have a vast portfolio of natural talents, all going in their favour.
But whilst all those natural characteristics can give them an advantage, there are other subtle things anyone can do to instantly improve the way others perceive you. And it all starts with emotional intelligence (EQ).
The following tips are easy to apply and you can easily use them everyday when you interact with others. Before too long, you should notice the increase in your popularity and improvement in making a great first impression, in the seconds that count.
1. Be yourself
Nobody likes a fake. People naturally gravitate towards others who seem genuine and authentic because they feel they can trust them. Likeable people are confident being themselves. They’re not trying to “prove” themselves or pretending to be something they’re not. So relax and be confident in who you are and what you have to offer.
2. Use positive body language
Your tone of voice, gestures, and facial expressions, all influence the way people perceive you. If you aim to have enthusiasm in your voice, maintain eye contact, avoid crossing your arms, and lean in towards the other person, then you’ll be giving off positive body language, which can make a big difference to their impression of you.
3. Be an active listener
Active listening is as simple as focusing on what the other person is saying, rather than thinking about what you want to say next. Asking insightful questions is a great way to show others that you’re paying attention and engaged in the conversation. Thinking about what you’re going to say next, takes your attention away from the speaker, and they will ‘energetically’ pick up on this when conversing with you. Never shut the other person down, or cut them off mid-sentence. This is a sure-fire way to lose trust. It’s like you’re saying “OK, I’ve got it. You can stop now! It’s my turn” The effect is the same.
4. Let them speak first
If you want people to immediately like you, let them take the lead in the conversation. Asking them great questions and showing an interest in them, will only enhance this further. Dominating the conversation won’t help you build their trust. People feel good when they feel understood, and if you’re encouraging them to share, then a feeling of trust and warmth will quickly establish itself.
5. Know their name
Our name is essentially the title for our personal identity. We feel more connected and “seen”, whenever our name is spoken. Be sure to remember and use other people’s names every time you see them. Refer to them by name throughout your conversation too. People feel validated when another person they’re speaking with refers to them by name.
If you struggle with remembering names, try making a game of it with a brain exercise. When you first meet someone, repeat it back to them immediately and aim to say it again as soon as possible. If you must, make a note of their name on your phone or diary, so you remember it the next time you see them.
6. Do your homework
People love it when you know things about them when you first meet. We’re not talking life history here, just a few simple facts you can get from their LinkedIn profile or company website.
While this is not always possible for chance encounters, it’s pivotal if you’re planning a business meeting or job interview. Find out as much as you can about the people you’re meeting, their company, current challenges, and projects. This will demonstrate that you’re genuinely interested in who they are, and build trustworthiness by displaying your initiative and responsibility.
7. Start with small talk
Don’t dive straight into serious business from the get go! Research has shown that just five minutes of small talk at the start of a meeting, contributes to better communication and results.
Small talk helps to break the ice, relax everyone in the room, and create trust. Add being your genuine self and your ‘likability’ rating has a great head start.
8. Ditch the phone
Nothing turns people off like the beep of a text message or a quick glance at your phone, when in mid conversation. When in conversation, keep all your energy and focus on the conversation. Not only will you find the conversation more enjoyable, but your audience will appreciate you wholeheartedly ‘being in the moment’ with them.
9. Handle it with ease
A lot of the time people never know what to do with their hands. Nail-biting, twiddling thumbs, and fidgeting are all outward signs of nervousness and anxiety. So to be liked and trusted you definitely want to avoid awkward movements. Keep your hands in front of you in a comfortable, relaxed way. Also when you go to shake hands, keep your handshake firm, but not crushing. Be sure to look the other person in the eye and smile along with your handshake. Just these two things alone, will do wonders for building the trust and like factor.