7 Ways to Become More Likable

Here are 7 effective ways you can make people like you and influence them.

1. Pay attention

Rapt attention is the highest form of flattery

Dale Carnegie

Your listening ability will help you as much as any other skill you develop.

Daniel Goleman, in his book “Emotional Intelligence”concluded that our ability to connect with people, your EQ, is as vital to your success as your IQ.

Paying attention is difficult because we spend a great deal of time online.

We have trained our brains to pay attention to things that are dramatic, interesting, and preferably short. And listening to people seems dull in comparison.

Whenever I procrastinate or feel bored by the conversation, I remind myself of three things:

First, it is incredibly beneficial to hang out with others. Humans are social creatures. We are not supposed to spend most of our days, every single day, alone. Just read about the effect loneliness has on you.

It goes without saying that you shouldn’t hang out with toxic people. Choose your friends wisely.

Second, meeting new people can give you opportunities to hear new stories and have experiences (good and bad) that will make you feel alive instead of feeling like a robot following the same routine repeatedly.

Third, I ask questions to make the conversation more interesting. 

This leads us to the next point…

2. Be interested

A phrase says you can’t fake sincerity. You can’t feign interest either, so don’t try.

Most people have “bullshit detectors”, and they can understand that you follow the same script with everyone you meet.

We must ask questions with an I really want to know, tell me more tone of voice.

Think about it as a detective game where your goal is to learn as much about them as possible.

Go into the conversation knowing something is fascinating about them. And you want to discover it.

When you do this, your expectations will show in your eyes and body language.

In a business setting, the best way is to ask questions like these:

How did you get into what you do?

What do you like best about it?

What are you trying to accomplish that’s important to you in your career (business, life, etc.)?

Why is that important to you?

In personal relationships, questions like these can often trigger a warm reply:

What’s the best (or worst) part of coaching your son’s soccer team, being away from home, etc.?

What person has had the biggest influence on your life? Did you ever get a chance to thank that individual?

If one of them asks, why are you asking these questions? You can say:

I find giving people a chance to talk about who they’re grateful to brings out the best in them.

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When you meet new people, ask questions that will cause them to say: “I feel, I think, I did”.

Most of our life is composed of what we feel, think, and do. So, when we’re asked to express all three, we feel more satisfied.

Eventually, one of your questions will have an impact.

And you’ll see the person leaning forward to tell you something with enthusiasm or intensity. When that happens, do the right thing: Shut up. Listen. Listen more.

And then, once the person reaches a stopping point, ask another question. 

For example, if the person tells you that her teacher had a significant influence on her life, don’t reply by starting a speech about your teachers.

Instead, follow up with questions like: “I’m curious, why did you decide to go to that particular school?” or, “Where is that teacher now? Do you still keep in touch?”

Another way to show interest is to summarize what the person is saying. Repeat back some crucial points.

And ask for a piece of advice. People love offering advice because it makes them feel both interesting and wise.

3. The body language

When you lean toward someone, it is like saying, I find you interesting.

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Leaning away suggests I am bored.

Try to keep your whole body turned toward the person. Make sure that your arms are unfolded, and use your hands to emphasize when you speak.

Doing this creates a picture of honesty, sincerity, and genuine interest.

Monitor the personal space. You can check your reactions when people come too close or far from you.

If someone comes an inch closer to you, you are too far away. You are too close to their personal space if the person eases away.

Tilt your head

The motions you make with the body and head have an enormous influence on other people. Titling your head (a little) on one side will give you a more intense and inquiring look.

You will look more attentive and involved when they are talking about something important.

Practice tilting your head in front of the mirror to see how it looks.

Remember to tilt your head to listen and straighten up to speak.

Head nodding

It is a powerful technique for hearing and appearing charming to others.

Some people nod their heads instinctively, while some people don’t nod at all.

Head nods are strong indicators of what you are thinking and feeling. There are three different head nods-The slow, the faster, and the very fast.

First, it is a slow nod, which means I’m following you. But it doesn’t necessarily mean you agree.

Second is a slightly faster nod that says, you are right; I agree.

Third, the much faster nod says, I agree, and I am excited by what I’m hearing.

Nodding your head signals that you are warm, friendly, and paying attention. Develop the habit of nodding and understanding people when they are speaking.

4. Eye contact

Eye contact has some little differences between a man and a woman.

If you are a woman – You should maintain eye contact even after they have finished speaking. When you must look away, do it very slowly and reluctantly.

If you are a man – When talking to another man, you can maintain intense eye contact. But try to give softer and more interrupted eye contact when discussing a personal matter.

If you want to impact others significantly, try this technique.

This technique needs at least three people to work… You, your target, and another person.

Usually, when you are talking with two or more people, you gaze at the person speaking. However, when using this technique, you should concentrate on your target, not on the person talking.

It may confuse the target as they may think, why is this person looking at me instead of the speaker?

It senses that you are very interested in their reactions.

Watch the speaker but let your glance bounce at your target each time the speaker finishes a point.

Some people use this not as a technique but because they are sincerely interested in someone’s reaction to ideas.

5. Make the other person feel felt

Now, this technique is different from the others.

Making someone “feel felt” means putting yourself in the other person’s shoes.

Many people argue with each other, leading to nowhere. Instead of fighting, you can say, I understand how you feel. 

Instead of arguing, you can ease the situation at that moment, which can lead to cooperation.

Despite the power of this move, people often resist applying it because they stumble to poke around at other people’s feelings – especially at work.

But if your relationship with another person looks like it’s going nowhere, making that person “feel felt” is your best bet for achieving a breakthrough.

1. Try to find what the other person feels, such as frustration, anger, or fear.

2. Say, I’m trying to get a sense of what you’re feeling, and I think it’s _____ (an emotion). Is that correct?

If it’s not, then what are they feeling? 

Wait for the person to agree or correct you.

3. Then say, “How____ (frustrated, angry, upset) are you?

Give the person time to respond. This is not the time to fight back or air your own grievances.

4. Next, say, And the reason you’re so _____ (frustrated, angry, upset) is that…?

Again, let the person vent.

5. Then say, tell me—what needs to happen for that feeling to feel better?

6. Next, say, how can I help you make that happen?

6. The tribe mentality

A tribe identifies a particular group – maybe it is a style of clothing, an attitude, or a shared interest.

The commonality among the members of the group creates “the tribe.”

To establish yourself as part of the group, you must figure out what aspects to mirror.

This social experiment demonstrates how important being part of the tribe is:

In the first scenario, the actor is dressed in non-business attire and lying on the ground calling for help.

This takes place in a busy area where business people pass by. And it takes more than 20 minutes to get help.

Now, before you judge, those people consider these four questions they have in mind:

Who is this person? They don’t know him. Maybe he is a drug addict? Is he really sick?

What does this person want? Maybe he really wants help, but I’m late for a meeting. Or he wants me to stop and steal my money?

Is this person a threat? What if he is a thief?

How long will this take? This man isn’t asking for money, so this may take a while. What if I have to take him to a hospital and spend all my day there?

In the second scenario, the actor is dressed as a businessman lying on the

ground. And it took only 6 seconds to get help.

The only thing that changed about the situation was clothing. But that one alternation gives different answers.

Who is this person? He is one of us, and he needs help.

What does this person want? He wants help, and I should help my fellow businessperson.

Is this person a threat? Of course not. The reason is that he is well-dressed.

How long will this take? It doesn’t matter.

The tribe mentality is powerful. And you can be in their tribe only if they perceive you as one of them.

7. I believe in you

It is the early 19th century, and a young man wants to become a writer. But he is facing numerous difficulties. Due to poverty, he is forced to leave school and look for work at age 15.

Finally, he gets a job pasting bottle labels in a rat-infested warehouse.

He sleeps at night in a dark attic room with two other boys that are guttersnipes.

His confidence as a writer is so low that he sneaks out and mails his first manuscript at night when nobody can see him. He is terrified that everybody will laugh at him if they read his work.

Story after story is refused.

Then the wonderful day comes when one story is accepted.

They didn’t pay him, but one editor praised him; he gave him recognition. 

He was so thrilled that he wandered around the streets with tears rolling down his cheeks.

The recognition and the praise that he received through getting one story published changed his whole life. If not for that encouragement, he might have spent his entire life working at the factory.

You may have heard of that boy.

His name was Charles Dickens.

We all have these points in our life when we feel inadequate, that we are failures.

And someone (a friend, a parent, your grandma) might see something you are not seeing. They know you have potential, and they try to encourage you.

But we are too caught up in our drama and don’t give much importance to their words.

The odds are we won’t become inspired as Charles did. However, it feeds a little inside voice that says, “Don’t give up. Sooner or later, you are going to make it”. 

Eventually, that voice will get louder and louder.

So, when you see a loved one who has lost confidence in themselves, let them know that you haven’t lost faith in them.

Sources:

“Just Listen” by Mark Goulston

“The Science of Human Hacking” by Christopher Hadnagy

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