Can I get people to like me more?

I like some people right away. Others take a while, though I may end up liking them more in the end. Why is that? And how do others react to me when we first meet? I did a little research on how to get people to like you, and here are ten of the top tips, in no particular order:

1. Give sincere compliments and thanks. Everyone knows a suck-up, but it’s pretty easy to give honest compliments even if you’ve just met someone. Clothing and accessories are a sure bet. “Hey–that’s a great bag.” Personal traits or characteristics work, too. “I admire the team you’ve built. They work together so well.” “Thanks for introducing yourself. I appreciate that you went out of your way.”


2. Ask lots of questions. Most people love to talk about themselves. It’s their favorite topic. And one of the first lessons in sales is that the person asking the questions is the one in control of the conversation. Asking questions to get to know someone you just met is a sign that you’re interested in them, and we’re all more apt to like people who take a shine to us, right?

3. Smile! It doesn’t just make you look happier, it makes you feel happier. Smiling also changes the shape of your mouth and tightens the vocal chords, resulting in a higher-pitched voice. From birth, we’re conditioned to respond favorably to higher voices (mothers). Think of famous villains with their scary low voices, compared with peppy, fun, likable higher-pitched characters. We like happy people, and we like higher voices, both of which come from smiling.

4. Make eye contact. Eye contact increases participation in the conversation, and has been shown to facilitate the storing and recollection of information. Further, research has found that if someone looks us straight in the eye, we find them more attractive and interesting than those who avert their gaze. Ergo: eye-contact = likable.

5. Shut up and listen to the whole answer. Let’s say you’ve mastered the art of asking good questions. That’s great, but it’s just the first step. You still have to listen to the answers, and most people don’t. Too many of us stop listening halfway through a response, searching for a long enough pause where we can jump in and make a counterpoint. Well you know what? It’s obvious. Conversations aren’t contests where someone wins by making the most points. Show respect by letting someone give their entire answer before you start talking. They’ll like you for it.

6. Use gestures when you speak. People who use their hands when they speak are perceived as younger, more exciting, more confident and more interesting than less-animated counterparts. Assuming the gestures are appropriate, that is.

7. Wear red. Of all the tips I reviewed, this one surprised me the most. I found a study that shows women are more attracted to men who wear red. I also found the converse: men are more attracted to women who wear red. It’s a wonder that when I look around all I see are blues, browns, grays and blacks. Anyway, we like people to whom we’re attracted more than those to whom we are not.

8. Whiten your chompers. This one almost missed the cut because the study I found was commissioned by Crest Whitestrips, who has an obvious interest in the results. But their study shows that a whiter smile has a direct impact on social and professional interactions. One article I read even went so far as to say that people with whiter teeth have greater success. I’m including this tip because it feels like it might be true, no matter who commissioned the study. Either way, I’m going to stare at teeth for the rest of the work week.

9. Remember names. I know you can use memory devices to remember names, but I often outsmart my future self by constructing needlessly complex devices. Like my distant neighbor Andy  who looks like Andy Dufresne from The Shawshank Redemption, but I can never remember if his name is Andy or Tim (Tim Robbins is the actor). So instead, I try to use people’s names in initial conversation as much as I can. When people hear their name, the reward center of their brain lights up, creating a positive chemical response.

10. Follow-up. Sending a “nice to meet you” note is uncommon, though easy to do. That’s why it’s a great way to stand out. It also reinforces the memory of your name and face, making the recipient more likely to remember and think fondly of you.

Those are the top tips I found in my search tonight. Hope they help!

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One response to “Can I get people to like me more?

  1. Pingback: Responding by Rote is not a conversation | Spread Information

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