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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 August 6, 2020

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

Are we speaking the same language?

My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

Am I being lazy?

When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

Early in the relationship:

“Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

When the relationship is established:

“Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

Have I actually got anything to say?

When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

Am I painting an accurate picture?

One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

What words am I using?

It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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Is the map really the territory?

Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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