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13 Things Highly Likable People Do Differently

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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 July 20, 2021

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

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

    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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