How To Be Well Liked

How To Be Well Liked

We all have been in the same room as this person: they are charming, captivate the attention of everyone around them and yet somehow still find the time to make you feel important.

My girlfriend Caroline is this way. She can’t walk into Walmart in our hometown without being stopped on every aisle. When she meets new people, they end up telling her their life stories and deepest secrets. She has a natural gift for attracting and relating with people.

So, is it all talent? Or can it be learned?

Being well liked has HUGE business implications. I’ve been following “Lifestyle Entrepreneur” Lewis Howes lately – not only because he shares good information, but because he’s genuinely likeable. He’s the kind of guy you would want to have as your friend. Apparently, other people agree: in three years he’s gone from sleeping on his sister’s couch to building a 7-figure business. With over 75,000 in his email list, 100,000 Twitter followers, 14,000 Facebook fans, 14,000 LinkedIn connections and over 500,000 views on YouTube, he seems to have nailed the recipe to attract people to himself and his business.

How can YOU attract some of this special “mojo” to you and your business?


1. Tell people that you like them

Gosh, you’re looking great today. Is that a new shirt?

As humans, we are hardwired to like people who like us. Some of my favorite friends to be around compliment me regularly: “Do you see how cute she is?”, “I just love you.” It may seem superficial, but our psyche and our ego LOVE people that appreciate us. Show your love often. Always be honest, but don’t hold back.

In the book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini, he tells a story about Joe Girard, one of the most successful car salesman in the country. He did one thing differently than his peers: for every person that bought a vehicle from him (more than 13,000 of them), he sent a monthly greeting card with only one message: “I like you.” Even though the message was clearly generic, the time consuming and costly habit paid dividends. People absolutely love compliments.

Take action:

  • Email someone that you admire and let them know you appreciate their work and how it has improved your life.

  • Practice giving people compliments. Don’t just tell them something superficial – listen to what they are telling you and give positive feed back. For example, If they tell you that they’ve been working on a project, say something like, “Wow, you are really ambitious. You work is really inspiring.” They’ll be over the moon.

  • Give universal praise to your friends or audience. Let them know that they are wonderful for being a part of your life. (Speaking of – have I told you lately that YOU ROCK?)


2. Be Present & Interested

When we are in busy situations, it can sometimes be hard to focus on one thing (SQUIRREL?!). I am sometimes guilty of this – when I attend a networking event, I want to try to talk to as many people as possible. In my attempt to “mingle” and meet many new people, I don’t REALLY connect with anyone. Lesson learned. Always remember quality over quantity.

Take action:

  • When you are in a conversation, focus completely on that person. Don’t be thinking about your dog, the next person you are going to talk to, your drink, or anything else. Force yourself to be present in that moment.

  • Ask follow up questions to get past the superficial information to know people on a more personal and memorable level.


3. Tell Stories

Stories are what connect us. They help us remember. My husband is a master storyteller and I am always trying to learn from him. As we were driving down a road on Fort Leonard Wood, he turned to me in complete seriousness and said, “This is the spot where ‘Iron Man’ Captain John found his limit…” He began to tell me in great detail about our dear friend who is a fitness fanatic and how he fell to the effects of low blood sugar during Engineer Sapper School.

By telling stories about your experiences, you give people a chance to connect with you on an emotional level and you also find ways that you are similiar. Exchanging stories is one of the most powerful tools of being more likeable.

Take action:

  • Brainstorm a few life experiences to keep in your “back pocket” that you can use for storytelling in social situations.

  • Test out your stories next time you have an opening in a conversation, and see how people react to them. Repeat the ones that get a positive reaction!


4. Be Genuinely Yourself

Our brains are wired to like people that are similar to us, so revealing details about our personal lives gives your readers the chance for to connect with you on a more personal level.

Among my friends, being “weird” is a badge of honor. Weird means that you strip away how you think you are supposed to act and just be your own odd self. Your customers and the people you meet want to see the TRUE YOU. Don’t be afraid to share that with the world.

Take action:

  • Embrace video (or at least audio) on your website. When people can see & hear you, they get a much better sense of knowing you than just reading text.

  • Don’t be afraid to let your true colors show. By talking about your unique passions (insect collecting, indie records, whatever) you’ll deepen the relationship with your customers/friends/contacts.


5. Give as Much as You Can

If you focus on helping people as much as possible, the money will follow. Always concentrate on creating value for other people. Do as many favors for others as you can. Your network is one of your most valuable assets, and building strong relationships with others will put you farther ahead in life than any business model.

I have a friend that took relationship building to the next level: in college, he set aside some of his student loan money as “friend funds”. With it, he searched out the most interesting people he could find on campus and brought them out for dinner, drinks, and other social events. I’m willing to guess those relationships will pay off for him.

Take action:

  • Find one person each week that you can help with something (even if its small)

  • Give away free information to your customers without reservation


6. Be Positive

I’ve been meeting all of my new neighbors this week. Everyone has been nice and friendly, but I had one awkward conversation. Immediately after meeting her, she started talking about how she had been medically discharged from the military and has been having health issues. Bringing up a heavy topic from the start makes it really hard to keep the conversation going. I didn’t know how she felt in regard to her injuries (in denial?, depressed?, has she learned from it?), so I didn’t know if I should ask follow up questions or how to respond.

Everyone struggles, and when we know each other better, sharing the struggles is how best buds are made. However, bringing up the tragedies of our life when we first meet someone can create an uncomfortable situation, pity, and negative feelings instead of likeability.

Take action:

  • Try a 21-day “No Complaints” challenge

  • Begin each day with something positive: a few passages of an inspirational book, a positive quote, or by reciting your mantra to yourself. (My current mantra is, Success comes from embracing what makes you uncomfortable. Try new things!)

  • If you have something major in your life that is weighing you down (divorce, PTSD, unemployment, deployment) seek out a support group or counselor to share your feelings with.


7. However, Be Vulnerable

When you admit that you don’t always have it together, you show that you are human. When Lewis (the super-likeable lifestyle entrepreneur from earlier) talks about starting from sleeping on his sister’s couch, he helps us see that he isn’t a superhuman business prodigy. His beginnings are as humble as ours.

The important part of showing your vulnerability is to show how you overcame the situation, and to continue to highlight the good parts of yourself in between. We want to be able to celebrate you, not pity you.

On a related note, when you need it – ask for help. When people do favors for you, they actually like you more. Our brain wants the image of ourselves always to be aligned with our actions. When someone DOES something for you, their brain automatically recognizes that they must like you for taking the time to help. Weird, but true.

Take Action:

  • Write something that confesses your struggles. Some of my favorite reads have been “How to fail miserably at a product launch” and “My biggest business mistakes this year and what I learned”

  • Admit that you don’t know everything.

  • Ask someone for help this week with something you’ve been struggling with.


8. Take Care of Yourself

When you feel physically fit, well fed, and well rested, you have the energy and desire to connect with other people. If your mindset is depressed or grumpy, it is extremely hard to muster up the energy. Make sure that you are taking care of yourself first, so you can create meaningful relationships with people.

Take Action:

  • Set goals to improve your health, and take action!

  • Take deliberate time for yourself every day


9. Do What You Say

In our attention and time-starved world, trust has become a powerful currency. By regularly following through on what you say you will do (i.e. “I’ll call you later!”, “Let’s do coffee sometime!”) you are proving that you are trustworthy. Sadly, in today’s world, that makes you unusual.

Take Action:

  • Create a system to record & remember your promises. I use a combination of my Calendar and Reminder apps on my iPhone/iPad/iMac. Figure out what works for you and stick with it!


11. Be Approachable

By being accessible to people, you give them a chance to like you. Provide your contact information. Invite people to connect with you. In person, keep an “open” body language that invites people to talk to you. Avoid crossed arms, negative facial expressions, and burying your nose in your phone.

Take Action

  • Respond to emails, comments, tweets, and every other effort that your friends and customers make to interact with you.

  • Be aware of your body language in social situations. Keep it open & positive.


12. Brand Yourself

Brace yourself for a hard truth: Have you ever had to introduce yourself to someone twice? If so, you have a problem with being memorable. It’s not your fault – you just need this simple technique. Just like companies have brands (Target is known as a department store with higher-end interesting products, Cosmopolitan is the magazine for young women’s dating advice), YOU need a brand.

I used to be known as “the senior photographer” in my hometown when I ran KAYE photo. I have other talents and interests, but that was what I was consistently presenting to the world, and it made me memorable. Make sure your “one thing” is specific, so when people need help with that specific thing, they automatically think of you.

Your brand will probably change over time, and that’s OK. Just don’t try to be everything to everyone at one time. Pick something you want to be known for and go with that for a while.

Take action:

  • Instead of telling people, “I’m a teacher who also writes a craft blog and I help people with social media,” pick one highly specific thing for them to remember you by.


13. Make a Habit of Trying New Things

Interesting people do interesting things. Bored people are boring. Make a point to experience everything life has to offer. Be open to the world, and be aware of the stories you are creating for yourself (so you can share them later!).

Take action:

  • Break out of your daily mold regularly and seek out new experiences. Try a new restaurant, activity, or travel somewhere new for a weekend.

  • Check out local daily deal sites like Groupon and Living Social to find new experiences around you at a discount


14. Remember People’s Names

Can I admit something? I almost didn’t put this on the list because I am TERRIBLE at this. Do as I say, not as I do. People love the sound of their own name (the most familiar sound to our ears). It personalizes your message, which makes it more likeable.

Take action:

  • To remember names, try to engage more senses: If someone’s name is Brian (which reminds you of “brain”) and he has fluffy eyebrows, visualize his brain coming out of his eyebrows. Source

  • Make sure that you heard the name correctly, ask about the history, and use it in conversation immediately after learning it.

  • Add people to your online social networks soon after meet them. It will you give you repetition of seeing their name so that you will remember it next time you see them in person.