Have you ever caught yourself rooting for the main character when watching a movie? How about when you saw Forrest Gump break his leg braces when escaping the bullies? Be honest, you were yelling “Run, Forrest, run!” too.
Likeable people have that effect on us all. The way they handle situations to how they carry themselves make it easy for us to respect them.
In business, the same is important. Your ability to form positive relationships will make it easier to gain trust and respect, which leads to more customers.
Want to be more likeable? Try these seven things today.
1. Remember people’s names.
“I’m horrible with names.”
This is a phrase we’ve heard hundreds of times. The problem is that it’s a signal to people that you simply don’t care.
In the world of business, it’s a starting point for turning strangers into acquaintances, and acquaintances into customers. This is a habit that needs to be broken.
While there might be a number of reasons that keep you from remembering someone’s name, here are some tricks for combatting them:
- Repeat it. Do you remember playing the “name game” in school? The one where you say your name and then recall the names of those who went before you? Studies have shown that by just playing that game for 30 minutes, students can recall 75% of their classmates’ names. My point is, try repeating the name immediately after the person tells you to make it stick.
- Make a connection. Research has shown that our ability to store information in our long-term memory is influenced by the connections we’re able or unable to make to that information. So if the person you just met has the same name as your uncle or sounds like the name of your favorite movie character, making an effort to make a connection will help you in the long run.
- Offer an introduction. Networking your way around a room? Credit Donkey’s Cassy Parker advices this, “It’s easy to become overwhelmed when you’re meeting a bunch of people at once. Before you let someone’s name slip away from you, make it a point to introduce them to one of your friends or other new acquaintances”.
2. Mind your mobile manners.
Please tell me you’ve seen the video of the Chicago Bull’s mascot pouring a drink over a fan’s head who was too busy on his phone to kiss his girlfriend on the kiss cam? What a total jerk, right?
Likeability has a lot to do with the interactions we have or don’t have with people. If you treat your phone like a third arm, you’re closing yourself off from engaging in a lot of those meaningful interactions.
So while it may be tempting to check-in on Facebook when you’re out with friend of colleague, pulling out your phone isn’t always appropriate. According to a study from Pew Research, 88% of people feel that taking out your phone at the table is not a “cool” thing to do.
3. Be consistent.
Think about your favorite restaurant. I bet that you go there a lot because you know you’re going to have a great meal every time. My point being, your loyalty to that restaurant has to do with their ability to deliver a consistent wonderful experience, right?
We as humans have a need for internal consistency. We need our attitudes, ideas, and beliefs to make sense. When the time comes to make a judgment call about someone’s character, we aim to identify that sense of dependability.
Consistency is comforting. When someone delivers great work or a positive attitude day after day, it becomes easier to trust them. Potential customers look for this when determining who they want to do business with.
4. Ask questions of others.
Ever been to a networking event and found yourself trapped in a one sided conversation? I mean you know the other persons’ life story, how many kids they have, where they went on their honeymoon, the type of car they drive, but they haven’t asked you a single question about yourself.
Some people don’t know the meaning of “networking”.
Like stated above, becoming more likeable relies on your ability to make connections with people. In order to do so, the conversation needs to be two sided.
Need help breaking the ice? Check out this list of conversation starters to try out at your next networking event.
5. Smile more.
Our emotional expressions, while often overlooked, are used by those around us to build perceptions.
According to a study from Penn State University, people who smile are more likeable, courteous, and competent.
Not good enough? Two studies from 2002 and 2011 confirmed that other people’s smiles overturn the control we usually have over our facial muscles, causing us to smile. Now that’s instant likeability.
6. Do good deeds.
When was the last time you did something nice for someone?
Were you asked or did you do it on your own?
In a study in 2005, students were asked to carry out five weekly “random acts of kindness”. It could be anything from helping out a friend with a project to buying a meal for a homeless person. The study showed that students reported higher levels of happiness than the control group.
Good deeds influence our well-being. They make us happy and we all know happiness is contagious.
There are a lot of positive consequences to being kind. Other people appreciate you, they’re grateful, and they might return the favor.
Here are a few “random acts of kindness” you can carry out in your office:
- Buy the person that sits next to you a cup coffee
- Send positive feedback to a team member
- Leave cookies in the breakroom
- Tape an inspirational quote to the mirror in the bathroom
- Write an appreciative note for the receptionist
- Give someone a compliment in the elevator
7. Express empathy.
Our ability to notice, understand, and feel someone else’s emotions plays a huge part in the way we form connections and build relationships. It also affects the way people perceive us both personally and professionally.
A study conducted by the Center for Creatively Leadership took a look at the role of empathy in the lives of 6,731 leaders from 38 countries. The results showed that not only was empathy positively related to job performance, but that those expressed empathy were viewed as better performers as well.
This study proves empathy is something we value. The more we understand one another, the easier it is to relate and communicate.
Do you struggle with empathy? Try to keep these tips in mind:
- Listen. Before you give your two cents, allow the other person to make their point entirely. We sometimes only hear half the story, causing us to act or respond in a way that doesn’t make sense.
- Keep an open mind. You don’t always have to be right. Your way is not always the right way. Do your best to remove any bias. This will help you see the situation for what it is, not what it isn’t.
- Ask questions. If you don’t fully understand where someone is coming from, ask them to clarify. Sometimes empathy can be achieved through asking questions that reveal more circumstance.
Do you know any other things that likeable people do? Let us know in the comments below.
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