Looking for ways to become a more likeable person? We all want friends, and we all want to have successful dealings with others, but some of us just need a little coaching. Way back in the day, I read a nifty little book called How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, and he opened up a whole new world to me!
He showed me there is an art to interacting with people that is not innate for most of us. We have to develop and practice our people skills in order to have smooth conversations, to deal with conflict, to cast vision or just to enjoy a family vacation.
Want to work on upping your likeability factor? Keeping a few of these tips at the ready will help you have more positive dealings in your personal interactions, and will help you feel more confident. When you feel confident, people want to be around you!
10 Tips for Upping Your Likeability Factor:
Choosing to smile may seem too simple a thing, but have you ever watched your face when you speak? When you work? When you sit in a meeting? When you are waiting in line? You don’t smile as much as you think you do. When you have a scowl or even a neutral expression, people read that as a “closed” sign. It’s a subconscious thing we do as we instinctively read body language. If you practice smiling more, people will notice you. And they will probably smile back.
2. Make eye contact.
Again, we’re starting with the basics, here. Eye contact is important in building any relationship. If you never look people in the eyes, they assume you don’t care, you’re nervous or shifty, or you’re just a self-centered jerk. Look every person in they eye when you are speaking to them or interacting with them some way—it builds trust and shows you care.
3. Speak up.
If you begin an interaction with a smile and a little eye contact, don’t be afraid to speak up! When you say “hello” or ask a question, say it at an appropriate volume for the recipient to hear you. Mumbling quietly or speaking too quickly makes us think you’re a mousy sort of person who doesn’t know what they want. God gave you a voice—use it!
4. Ask questions.
Meeting new people can feel extremely awkward if you are only thinking about yourself. The best trick in the book for smoothing an introduction or a first meeting or date is to ask questions about the other person. Ask about her work, ask about his interests, and then ask follow-up questions to what they tell you. The more you can get the other person talking, the less intimidated you will feel. And the more you will have the chance to connect in some meaningful way.
Nobody likes a know-it-all, right? Remember that fact during your next conversation. People feel much more at ease with you when you are able to volley a conversation back and forth instead of dominate one. It is imperative that you develop listening skills if you want to interact with people effectively. Listening to someone is a way to honor them and convey that you value them, creating a deeper connection.
6. Respect personal space.
Ever met “the hugger” in a group? Ever noticed how some people just don’t want to be hugged? People have different levels of personal space requirements for lots of different reasons, and learning to pick up on their cues will help you put them at ease. Some folks are totally okay with hugging strangers and acquaintances; others are not. For some people, a handshake is pushing beyond their comfort zone. If you are in a situation where you extend a hand and the person looks at you with terror, just diffuse the tension by saying something like, “Oh, no worries! It’s nice to meet you,” as you pull your hand back and give a little nod. Personal space etiquette is cultural and regional, so it takes some practice to figure it out. But you can figure it out if you try!
7. Be flexible.
If you want to enjoy your life at all, you must learn some flexibility with people. They hardly ever do exactly what you think they will do or what you want them to do, so just get over it ahead of time. You cannot base your happiness on other people’s actions, so give them some grace! If your friend is running late, tell him, “No problem! See you when you get here.” If your appointment has to cancel at the last minute, don’t sweat it. Let him go with a wave of grace. When you adopt a flexible attitude with people, you appear to be confident and independent instead of clingy and codependent.
8. Be positive.
Every party has a pooper … just be sure it isn’t YOU! Negativity kills relationships. If you are working to build a friendship or a love relationship, positivity is your best asset. I don’t mean fake, weird positivity, rather merely looking for the good stuff and choosing not to dwell on and proliferate all the bad stuff. Life is full of bad stuff, and everyone already knows it. Give us a break and bring some sunshine to the situation!
9. Give more than you take.
Most people really do keep an unspoken tally of wrongs vs. rights, favors owed and mistakes made. It shouldn’t be that way, but it just is. If you want to build trust, you cannot be the one taking from the relationship all the time. You need to invest more than you withdraw. This applies to any kind of relationship, and it speaks volumes to the other person when you keep your investment high and your demands low.
10. Laugh at yourself.
Recovering from a mistake can be tricky. Inevitably, you will make mistakes with people—in communicating, in meeting expectations—but if you know how to recover, you will be just fine. Being able to laugh at yourself after a blunder shows your level of maturity, self-confidence and character. In order to do that, though, you might have to get over yourself a bit. (Actually, getting over yourself might be THE number one skill in dealing with people!) When you focus more on other people and adjust your output for their specific input languages, people tend to stick with you beyond your mistakes.
Why not add a few of these into your repertoire this week? Take some mental notes on the reactions you get when you implement them and see if it’s worth it!
What are some other ways you have found to start upping YOUR likeability factor?