When all things are equal, people will always choose do business with individuals they like over those that are difficult, forceful or flat-out low energy. Being viewed as likeable can propel your career and firmly position you as a business partner of choice. It will set you up for more powerful collaborations and move others to more readily follow your directions as a leader.
But if likeability is such an important trait, why don’t more people consciously think about mastering this powerful asset?
All too often we can get caught up in our own head about what we are, or are not, that we don’t think about this friendly attribute as one that can be learned – but it can be, and it should be. You don’t need to be the life of the party or an extreme extrovert to be likeable, but you may need to change up the way you approach things. Here are some practical tips that you can embrace immediately to shift the way people view you and to increase your professional stature in the process.
1. Say hello, say goodbye, tell everyone to have a nice day.
Acknowledging people in even the smallest way let’s them know you ‘see’ them.
2. Smile like it’s earning you money every time you part your lips.
To others, your smile is a signal of what is to come, and it sets people up to expect a good exchange with you.
3. Walk like a winner on the red carpet.
Chaotic body movements create stress and a slouchy body cues disinterest and disinterest equals dislike. Monitor the way you hold yourself, move smoothly, posture straight, head up and shoulders back as it shows people you are open to conversations and not too busy to be bothered with them. Think happy thoughts as you walk down the hallway and leave any hint of frustration back at your desk.
4. Know it’s not musical chairs – don’t be the first person to sit in a meeting.
You can stake out a chair, but don’t sit until the chair of the meeting arrives. Stand behind your chair, linger by a window, get you mind and focus onto the people that are coming in to meet. This keeps you on your feet and available for people to come up to you, or in formal business meetings it keeps you free to easily shake hands.
5. Be aware of your face – what nonverbal cues are you sending?
Can you think about projecting happiness through your eyes? Yes, it may sound crazy, but why then do we say ‘cheese’ or ‘money’ for a photographer if it isn’t to project happiness through our eyes? All too often, our face betrays us, words don’t match the feelings. Remember, a confused buyer doesn’t buy and if the person standing before you is confused by your expressions, you will not be viewed as an easy collaborator.
6. Be interested – recall a fact about the other person.
Hold a genuine interest in the hobbies, challenges, vacations, family names, favorite sports teams, etc. of others and bring it up in a future conversation (and if you need to, write it down in the notes field of your contact file so you can quickly refer to it later).
7. Use the ‘Penny for Your Thoughts’ trick.
Ask for an opinion or thought during the exchange as this lets the other person know that you value their ideas and it also allows them to feel good as they express themselves – and if you make them feel good, they will associate that good feeling with you.
8. Look to TAP them.
TAP stands for ‘Thank, acknowledge and praise’. Sprinkle positivity in to your comments as everyone could use a little recognition. Make sure it’s honest and usually in a one on one exchange. If it is overdone or delivered in public, it may come across as self-serving and not have the positive affect you are looking for.
Remember that when you connect with people there is a promise in each exchange – a promise that you will get more of what I am showing you right now and a promise that you will accept and respect that person. If you can elevate the level of interest and happiness that you show others, you will make major strides to be considered likeable, and for likeable people there are an abundance of opportunities in life.