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13 Things Highly Likable People Do Differently

13 Things Highly Likable People Do Differently

If you have ever wondered why some people are so popular, try observing how they behave. They know instinctively that the power of networking is what really counts in the workplace. They also realize that being highly likable is the key to friendship and successful relationships.

But is it really worthwhile being so popular? You bet it is! According to a Columbia University study, these people get promoted more quickly, receive better medical treatment, and are perceived as being more trustworthy. They are streets ahead of everyone else, so it is certainly worth checking what they do differently.

Highly likable people naturally use some or all of these 13 techniques which make them stand out from the crowd.

1. They use names as identity tags.

I was fascinated once to see how Prince Charles used people’s names effectively when he came to a reception at my workplace many years ago. Obviously, he has vast experience after countless events. When he was leaving, he passed down the line of guests and said to me “Goodbye Robert.” It was easy, of course, as my name badge was clearly displayed. Look at the photo below. That’s me, the second from the left.

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    That set me thinking about how important it is to use people’s names in establishing and maintaining social contact. When people hear their name used in questions or comments in the conversation, they feel more appreciated. It is a signal that their identity is recognized.

    2. They are active listeners.

    There is nothing worse than someone droning on about themselves, their problems, achievements or their family. These people are completely unaware of the value of being active listeners. They simply do not know that instead of going on about their problems, they need to listen more, talk less and ask a few questions. This is exactly what highly likable people do.

    3. They use touch discreetly.

    When I first came to Italy, I was very much struck by the fact that the people used touch, hugs and kisses with complete naturalness. It was an eye opener for me, coming from a rather uptight family where touching was rarely part of our emotional development.

    But research studies show that the power of non sexual touch is far reaching and can help with requests for compliance, help and acceptance. Highly likable people use it discreetly and effectively.

    4. They are almost always positive.

    “The more you stir it, the more it stinks.”

    —Roger Larson

    Have you ever wondered how these likable people are always upbeat and optimistic? Here are some of the tricks they use:

    • They tend to concentrate on their achievements rather than their failures.
    • They rarely blame themselves when something goes wrong. They know their worth!
    • They know that negative thoughts prevent them from enjoying the present.
    • They realize that one negative thought is like a ball speeding down the hill, getting larger and larger before it reaches the bottom.
    • They practice gratitude often for the great things in their lives.

    5. They are patient.

    They know instinctively that in the long term, they are going to reach their goals. Taking one step at a time is one method they use. They are also aware of what triggers will make them impatient, and they are able to restrain those moments when bad temper, sulkiness, anger, and frustration threaten to send ripples through the waters.

    6. They are empathetic.

    They can relate to people’s problems and are interested enough to try to understand their feelings and also help in any way they can. They are tolerant of people’s weaknesses and do not expect perfection. A great quality for the perfect boss!

    7. They are genuine.

    There is nothing fake about a highly likable person. Sincerity shines through and you can sense immediately whether that smile is real especially when they praise you. Look at the eyes and see how the joy lines are also working. They follow up on promises and are highly reliable, which makes it a joy to work with them.

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    8. They are open minded.

    Far too many people think they have it all worked out and that their views on politics, life and work are right. Now, likable people are totally different in that they are open to new ideas, different ways of solving a problem and also have a curious mindset where they actively seek out new approaches and experiences.

    9. They are able to learn from failure.

    “It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”

    —Bill Gates

    Popular people know that failure is part and parcel of life. What really makes them stand out is that they are capable of learning a lesson when things go wrong and can move on with confidence. They never play the blame game.

    10. They are happy and calm.

    We all seek happiness. These appealing people are usually fulfilled in their work and relationships, and this attracts other people like a magnet. It is as if they have a secret aura, and this is worth its weight in gold.

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    11. They speak clearly.

    These highly regarded people are skilled communicators. Whether this has come about as a natural gift or as a learned skill, I am not sure. What shines through is the way they speak and how friendly the tone is. They never mumble, shout, rant, mutter or use foul language.

    12. They are non judgmental.

    You will never hear these likable people slandering or using gossip to judge colleagues and friends. They will never:

    • Interrupt
    • Make people look inferior
    • Complain or blame other people
    • Show off or boast

    Non judgmental people are always constructive and never destructive.

    13. They make great team member or leaders.

    Highly likable people make great team players because their open and positive attitude makes working with them a pleasure. Team leaders and bosses often crave popularity, but sometimes fail miserably because they possess very few of the people skills I have listed above.

    Now, where do you stand on the highly likable scale? Have you given this any thought and have you ever wondered how you could improve? Let us know in the comments below.

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    Featured photo credit: Girl outdoors smiling/Greyerbaby via pixabay.com

    More by this author

    Robert Locke

    Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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    Last Updated on January 15, 2021

    7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

    7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

    The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

    Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

    Posture

    First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

    • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
    • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
    • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
    • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

    All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

    Facial Expressions

    Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

    • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
    • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
    • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

    If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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    1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

    A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

    The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

    This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

    2. Relax Your Face

    New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

    The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

    To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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    3. Improve Your Eye Contact

    Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

    The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

    To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

    3. Smile More

    There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

    Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

    4. Hand Gestures

    Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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    It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

    5. Enhance Your Handshake

    In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

    “Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

    It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

    6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

    As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

    Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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    Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

    Final Takeaways

    Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

    If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

    More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

    Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

    Reference

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