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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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    Published on May 18, 2021

    How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

    How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

    We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

    The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

    Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

    Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

    Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

    There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

    Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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    Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

    We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

    Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

    A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

    The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

    Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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    Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

    Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

    Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

    While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

    Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

    These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

    Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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    Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

    Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

    Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

    Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

    Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

    Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

    As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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    This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

    Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

    Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

    These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

    Actions Speak Louder Than Words

    Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

    Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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    Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

    More Tips Improving Listening Skills

    Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

    Reference

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