We all want to be liked; likable people have more friends, are more respected and close more deals. You can’t force or trick somebody into liking you, but there are ways to show people what’s likable about you. These aren’t meant to be tricks, but rather honest ways to connect and make others feel good. Here are eight techniques backed by science to make yourself more appealing, from a slideshow I found online:
Smile: It’s pretty simple; smiling triggers your brain to release endorphins, making you feel good. People read your body language and facial expressions more than your words or tone; a smile is immediately welcoming, disarming and relaxing. Yet when you smile, make sure it comes from a place of authenticity, and always smile back at somebody that’s smiling at you.
Watch your body language: Along with smiling, you can use visual cues to let people know you aren’t a threat, such as raising your eyebrows and tilting your head. The head tilt exposes your critical carotid artery, showing trust. Stressful situations make you defensive and closed off, yet intentionally utilizing physical signals overrides this state.
Make the other person feel good: Making people feel good about themselves is a great way to get them to like you. Appreciation, recognition, direct eye contact, compliments, thank-yous and asking for advice are all ways to make somebody feel good. In conversations, use empathetic statements, such as “you must be working hard” or “looks like you’re having a good day”.
Be engaged: You want people to feel like they’re the most important people in the world during a conversation. Look at the person you’re talking to straight in the eye and stay engaged. Don’t pay attention to anybody else around you. If you’re at lunch with somebody, don’t place cups between your and the other person, since this can act as a barrier; instead, put them off to the side.
Be engaging: People love to talk about themselves. Open conversations by asking about something somebody has been working on and is excited about, and listen until they’re tired of talking about it. Be thoughtful about the types of follow-up questions you ask; ask open-ended questions to show you’re interested in the answer, and from that point you can probe further with additional questions. Another classic technique is finding common ground, whether that’s a mutual interest or something (or somebody) you both know.
Show up: You’ll most likely like people you’re familiar with, so that means show up. Persistence is important here, but don’t come across as creepy. Good techniques include frequenting the same cafe, sending emails and posting/commenting on somebody’s social media accounts. With all of this, make sure you don’t overdo it; that will just turn people off.
Be giving: When you meet somebody, think about how you can help them. This won’t always pay off immediately, but it does cascade. Giving creates value; you’ll be able to negotiate a better deal if your mindset is “how am I adding value to this customer?” as opposed to “how do I get what I need out of this customer?”. During every conversation, try to offer a meaningful piece of advice.
Validate peoples’ opinions: You don’t have to agree with everybody, but make sure everybody feels like they’ve been heard. If a customer complains, seriously consider their feedback and let them know that the issue will be discussed internally.