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15 Optimal Ways to Make People Like You (Backed by Science)

15 Optimal Ways to Make People Like You (Backed by Science)

From lovesick teenagers to salespeople – we have all questioned how we can better appeal to others. The truth is much grittier: you can’t make people like you. Thankfully, that realization isn’t the be all end all. Simply you have to make yourself likable. Working on the 15 traits below can help you win over more people and many can be applied in both personal and professional life. Below are 15 ways in which popular people improve their chances of being liked:

1. Understand the need for a good P.R.

Personal life: Ever notice how celebrities are able to spin a bad situation to their favor? This is not as difficult as you think. Never again say that you – including your talents or business – are not likable. This applies to others as well: avoid saying anything negative about yourself or others whenever possible. Remember the Golden Rule: if you can’t say something nice, then say nothing at all.

Professional life: Apply this in business when discussing your competitors. Instead of focusing on what they might lack, highlight how you blow everyone out of the water through quality products or services and not just lip service.

2. Remain positive.

Personal life: Who doesn’t like the hopeful optimist? As negativity through mean words, glares and bad moods is not exactly inviting for people to reach out and get to know you, try to maintain a positive attitude whenever possible.

Professional life: When an inevitable business crisis arises, trust that you will be able to get out of it successfully. That includes preparation through getting insurance, establishing strong networks and a solid reputation so that your customers will trust you despite any disasters.

3. Be interested in others.

Personal life: To be likable, be interested in other people. When you meet new people, ask them pleasant questions about themselves, such as where they were born, questions about their family or pets, and their interests or hobbies. Actually listen. Repeat interesting statements; look them in the eyes (except in Japan where eye contact can be perceived as hostile) and keep asking questions about them. Let them ask questions about you.

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Professional life: Make sure to listen to your clients. Know what they like and how they think you can improve your business. Do this through regular surveys and asking them straight up whenever you’re able to meet with them – face-to-face, on the phone or elsewhere.

4. Make friends with the locals.

Personal life: This advice is rather a double entendre, as locals or villagers are often stigmatized as strange, but proverbial or not, whenever possible and gauging their interest, take advantage of who you are standing in a long queue with or sitting close by. Make people close in proximity know that you are aware of their existence.

Professional life: You can use this for business dealings too – reach out to those in your field whenever possible. Perhaps a new partnership could form.

5. Understand the meaning of “It takes a village …”

Personal life: Place tremendous importance on social, economic and overall security by making volunteer work a high priority. Community support makes you feel good, reminds you to appreciate your current success, and provides new networks to rely upon.

Professional life: Understand that networking is key. Regularly attend conferences in your business field to meet key players. Approach them, ask honest business questions and for their contact information. Follow up with a call and/or email. So long as you can mutually benefit from this relationship, don’t feel as if you’re a burden.

6. Be generous.

Personal life: Most of us love those who make the lives of others easier. Be that person.

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Professional life: When running a reputable and successful business, carve out days for you and your employees to give back through holding volunteer events and/or donating to charities.

7. Treat others with respect.

Personal life: Positive regard towards others is important – and that includes keeping an open mind and curiosity about another’s cultural background, interests and choices – even when they differ from your own.

Professional life: Remaining civil to your competitors makes you look secure and smart to existing and potential customers – and even your rivals!

8. Don’t support chaos.

Personal life: Remain peaceful whenever possible as violence is often the quickest way to get others to avoid you.

Professional life: When you consistently prove to not engage in low-blow acts towards those your competing against, your reputation for honesty will be admired by all. Contrary to reality TV – messiness is not cute.

9. Prioritize health.

Personal life: To feel at your best, look healthier and remain happy, exercise, get optimal sleep, worry less, drink lots of water and avoid food additives, such as the trans fats which are mostly found in cheap, fried food items for a healthy life expectancy. After all, how can you appeal to others if you’re not fully functioning?

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Professional life: Run a clean business through regularly refusing ideas and concepts that slow down your efficiency, quality and mission.

10. Understand the need to smile.

Personal life: Smiling helps you – studies show that smiling tricks your brain into becoming happier. Besides others enjoy it and you can often tell when others are smiling. Ask a friend to smile the next time they speak to you over the phone, and notice the difference.

Professional life: Plenty of sales jobs require their teams to smile while making calls.

11. Remain clean.

Personal life: When you look clean, neat, and have good hygiene, people are more likely to remain around you. Make sure your hair is combed and if straightened make sure there are no lumps. This is also the same when keeping a clean reputation.

Professional life: Run a clean business by staying as transparent as possible.

12. Have a sense of style.

Personal life: Having a great, distinct fashion sense that includes not looking too flashy avoids the appearance of looking like you are seeking attention. Don’t be too dull or people will not know that you exist.

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Professional life: Be unique so that your clientele seeks you out, but refrain from tackiness through constant customer feedback.

13. Perfect a great demeanor.

Personal life: Avoid looking nervous. Rather, remain calm and control your emotions whenever possible. If you act awkward and nervous people will pick that up and may feel uncomfortable.

Professional life: Whenever possible, remain transparent with business dealings so that customers can rely on you. This shows confidence, which helps to gain the trust of the public.

14. Appear friendly.

Personal life: Avoid having expressional stares as they can create bad vibes. If someone looks your way, give a warm smile – but not too warm as to avoid looking crazy!

Professional life: Build and maintain a relatable, easy-to-recall brand.

15. Avoid looking desperate.

Personal life: Studies suggest that 25% of people will never like you, 25% will remain indifferent, 25% will not like you, but you can encourage a new perspective on yourself, while the remaining 25% will like you as is. Avoid the first category as there is often little to change them and focus on the other three groups.

Professional life: Remain happy with your existing customers while focusing on potential clients that you can positively affect through established services and/or products and brand reputation, while understanding that you will not be able to reach everyone, despite your amazing work!

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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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