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12 Things You Should Say At Work To Become More Likeable

12 Things You Should Say At Work To Become More Likeable
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Camaraderie is an important component of what keeps us going back to work. As humans, we have an innate need for social acceptance. The bulk of our days is spent in a social setting: the workplace! There is a strong need for us to like the people we work with (and for the people we work with to like us!)

How can you increase this likeability factor? Here are 12 simple phrases to use that will up the ante for you.

1. “Hi or Hello”

Before you roll your eyes at the simplest of phrases, hear me out. In my 15 years of professional life, a simple “Hi” has proven to be the most powerful. How? When you see someone, even someone you don’t know, acknowledge their presence with a Hi. This simple act of acknowledging another person’s presence is extremely powerful. I’ve seen people who avert their eyes or look down when they do not know you. It definitely appears rude on the receiving end. Every time you pass someone in the hallway, or in the break room, rest room, elevator, parking deck… irrespective of the place, acknowledge them with a Hi or Hello or Good morning.

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2. “Thank you”

Another simple but powerful phrase is a Thank You. No, a cursory thanking will not cut it. The Thank You has to be heartfelt. Even simple gestures like someone holding the elevator door or handing your mail, warrants a heartfelt thank you. People feel happy to be of help to others. By thanking them, you make them feel like they’ve been of service. This instantly makes them like you.

3. “How are you?”

3 simple words that convey the message that you care. At times it may be a conversation starter. At other times it may be an outlet for someone. I remember a few years ago, when I asked this simple question to a co-worker, the flood gates opened. She was going through a personal situation and did not have anyone to share it with. She viewed the “How are you” as an invitation to share and was able to open up. Sharing what she was going through gave her a huge relief. Giving that opportunity is a sure-fire way to get someone to like you more.

4. “I understand”

In the incident with my co-worker, all I did was to listen and say “I understand”. That’s all you need to do at times to help someone feel heard. Its not uncommon for people to feel frustrated as they come out of a meeting. They may feel like no one gets them or what they are trying to say or do. As they vent to you, acknowledge their thoughts and actions with an “I understand”. On the receiving end, your co-worker will feel a sense of relief to know someone else gets them.

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5. “How can I help?”

Asking someone how you can help lets people know that they are not alone, though that doesn’t necessarily translate to carrying someone else’s load. Still, asking opens the path to conversation. At times, all they may need is a listening ear. Talking about what is needed and being willing to help in any small way is impactful. I’ve come across people who are afraid to ask this question in case they are unable to deliver on the help that is asked of them; hence, they shy away from this question. Showing someone that you are willing to do something for them is a likeability booster.

5. “I believe in you”

This one is huge! People need someone to believe in them. Instead of masking that belief in actions that may or may not come across, just say it. As an example, a supervisor hands a piece of work and adds the words “I believe you can do this.” The fact that their supervisor trusts them with that piece of work is an ego boost for the individual. And will motivate them to do a good job and not let down their boss. I’ve personally done above and beyond when my boss has expressed her belief in my capabilities or trusted me with stretch assignments. And yes, I definitely liked my boss more after that!

7. “What I hear you saying is:”

Repeating what you just heard proves that you were paying attention. In this age of short attention spans, give someone your full attention and repeat the information back to them to confirm it. More likeable for sure.

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8. “Well Done”

I don’t understand why people find it difficult to say “Job Well done”. We dole insane amounts of “good job” to kids, but find it difficult to do it to adults. Personal rants aside, acknowledging someone for their effort is encouraging and motivating. We don’t have to give out plaques or other forms or rewards at all times.  Saying “Job Well Done” at an opportune time in front of the team is equal to or better than a plaque on the wall that no one sees. In turn, it causes people to like you more as you see their effort and their work.

9. “What do you think?”

A powerful way to show respect. Encourage others to share what they think and express their opinions. It causes them to feel included, feel respected and that their opinion matters. The people I like the most at work are the inclusive ones, the ones who show that they care enough about others to include them.

10. “Absolutely”

When you are given work, there are three ways to react to it. Not saying anything and doing it; not saying anything to the person but griping about it to others; and the third way is to respond with “Absolutely!”. Showing enthusiasm when asked to do something, causes an instant delight. And boosts your likeability index.

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11. “Great Question”

A common problem at workplaces is people hesitating to ask questions. They are afraid of getting shot down, laughed at or ignored. When someone is brave enough to ask a question, respect and acknowledge that with a “Great Question” comment. This will ease the nerves of the person asking the question and encourage them to clarify their doubts. In a large setting, it encourages others to open up as well. When you put someone at ease, it naturally causes them to like you.

12. “Tell me more”

A definite way of showing interest! Sometimes, it may be difficult to give someone the time you need at work to listen. When you sense a time consuming conversation, don’t cut off the person and walk away. Let them know that you are short on time, but you want to hear more. Tell them that you will reach out soon to find out more. And keep up the promise! Follow up with the person and find out more. Giving people your time and expressing interests again aids in increasing likeability.

What are some other common phrases that others have said to that make you like them?

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Featured photo credit: Andrey/Imagefinder.co via imagefinder.co

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
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You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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