How To Be More Likable (and Successful)

Likability is important to your success. Malcom Gladwell writes in Tipping Point, “sprinkled among every walk of life . . . are a handful of people with a truly extraordinary knack of making friends and acquaintances.” Gladwell describes them as having an ability to span many different worlds, subcultures and niches.

Release Your Inner “Sales Guru”

Spencer Johnson, in “The One Minute Salesperson” states that people do not buy a product or service from you; they buy how you make them feel. Regardless of the type of business you’re in, you are selling something. Whether it’s physical products, access to information or a certain image you’re promoting, you want people to have a positive association with you. You want them to like you. But getting people to like you doesn’t always happen naturally. Fortunately, however, there are a few things you can do to help the “know, like and trust process” along.

Camaraderie is powerful. Allow people to get to know you beyond just the surface level. Let them see the ways in which you’re similar to them; it opens the door for a meaningful connection. However, remember that getting people to like you is a slow and steady process, not a competition or sprint.

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Move Beyond Rapport

Commiserate to move beyond rapport. Finding a way to shift the focus from you to them after your solidified the initial connection. Show that you can relate to who they are and what they’ve been through, and that you care. When you give a person space to be heard – unconditionally – you’ll increase your likability. There’s a lot that people don’t get to talk about during the day or week because of time and work constraints. Whenever possible, give people the opportunity to vent to you without the fear of being judged. They will not only be grateful, but also curious about the person who would offer this gift.

Turn on the Charm

The last step towards likability – trust – happens gradually over time. As the relationship grows, though, there are things you can do to hasten this stage along. 

• Be willing to admit your mistakes: stubborn-ness and rigidity are definitely unlikable traits. Show that you can recognize when you’ve made an error and are willing to face whatever consequences may come your way without grumbling. This shows honesty and integrity – two thoroughly likable qualities.

• Be humble: No one likes a braggart. It’s okay to state things that you’ve done or accomplished as matters of fact, but let others be the ones who attach attributes to those activities or request more information about them. For example, if someone says “Wow, that’s an unusual jacket, I’ve never seen one like it before!” Don’t say, “Oh, yes, I attended the Cannes Film Festival with a billionaire friend of mine and afterwards, we took a train to Monte Carlo and I got this coat in a little boutique there near the main casino.” Instead, stick with “Oh, thanks. I haven’t seen another one locally either.” If the other person wants more information about the coat, they’ll ask for it.

• Give unexpected compliments: If someone says “This has been such a tough week; my co-worker was being such a bully that I finally just lost it and told her off! I apologized later, but I feel terrible.” You can help take the edge off their negative feeling by saying something like “Yeah, co-workers can be challenging sometimes, but good for you for standing up for yourself. And it’s really nice that you apologized later. That person is sure lucky to have a co-worker like you! ”

This is Lisa B. Marshall, Author/Speaker/Consultant.  Helping you lead, influence, and inspire through better communication. Your success is my business.   Are you a Smart Talker?  Take the Smart Talk Quiz to find out!

There are 2 comments .

Peter Billingham

People by people first is so true! People tend to do business with people they like! I love your jacket point! So often I hear people saying, “I’m going to Spain next week.” And the reply usually is, “I went to Spain once we travelled to Madrid and staying in this great hotel,” etc, etc. When really the best response would be, “wow – tell me more!” As Dale C says, the best conversationalists are always the best listeners! Great post!

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    Lisa B. Marshall

    Funny that you mention that particular example. Very recently, I was in a group of 4 or 5 women recently. They were all sharing about the different countries they had travelled to. I just kept asking questions, “Oh, what was your favorite part?” “What cities did you see?” etc…but the rest of the group just kept “one-upping” each other. “Well, I’ve been here, and I’ve been here…” “Oh, I went here, Oh I went there…”

    I just kept asking questions. Then at one point, one of them said in a very condescending tone and a look of pity, “Oh Lisa, haven’t you ever had the opportunity to travel?” I felt like rolling my eyes, but I just simply said, “Oh I’ve travelled, I’ve been to over 30 countries.” I have to admit at that point, I could have been more humble, but I was a bit put off and annoyed by the entire conversation.

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