Twelve things you can do to make people like you

Written by Jimmie Burroughs

According to research, it takes only seven seconds when meeting you for the first time for most people to decide if they like you or not. For the remainder of the conversation, they internally try to justify their initial assessment. When a person we have never met comes into our presence, our brains start immediately processing information concerning them and then making a decision about them. We start to evaluate that person based on what we see, hear, and yes, even smell. How a person acts, how they talk, what they say, how they carry themselves, portray themselves, and even how they dress and smell, are factors for determining whether they are liked or not.

In reality, you are the one who determines whether you are likeable. It isn’t a matter of becoming someone you aren’t, in order to be liked by others. Be yourself, but practice things that make you likeable. The key to success in business and relationships is gaining the confidence of others; the more you are in tune to your potential for being likable the more likely you are to win approval and confidence. Here are a dozen actions, with a little practice, that will improve your social skills exponentially, twelve things you can do to make others like you.

1. Give a strong first impression

First impressions aren’t always accurate, but they are extremely important and difficult to overcome once formed. Appearance, attitude, and approachability are the AAA of making a good first impression. Appearance includes appropriate clothes, cleanliness, and neatness. Style in clothes is not an issue in most cases since there are so many acceptable styles today. However, clothes need to be appropriate for the occasion, clean, pressed and well fitting. Your shoes are the first thing noticed. Clean and polished shoes will give the greatest advantage to a good first impression. Equally as important as your appearance is your attitude. A positive, open and relaxed attitude, which includes a smile, friendliness, and pleasantness is inviting to others. It says welcome. Being approachable includes the first two mentioned but also includes humbleness, non-intimidating, and a positive body language.

2. Use positive body language

Your body language says a lot about you. How you feel, your attitude, and your confidence or lack of it comes through in your body language. Here are just a few characteristics of positive body language:

  • Keep arms and legs open.
  • Stand or sit straight.
  • keep your head up when talking to others.
  • Look others in the eye.
  • Smile.
  • Relax your muscles.
  • Lean slightly toward the person you are addressing.
  • Maintain a three-foot privacy space between you and the other person.
  • Stay calm.
  • Slow your movements down and avoid being fidgety.
  • Use your hands for gestures but avoid touching your face.

3. Talk in the other person’s interest.

One of the most abused tenants of good human relations is the failure to talk in the other person’s interest. Ask the other person a lot of questions about themselves, their work and their family, and avoid bragging or attempting to make yourself look good.

4. Avoid distractions when talking to others, like being more interested in what is going on around you or checking your cell phone.

The person to whom you are speaking should be the center of your attention. If you are looking around to see who else is in the room, it will give the person to whom you are speaking the impression that they aren’t important to you. Likewise, the live person-to-person conversation is more important than a phone conversation. Unless you are expecting an important life or death call, ignore your phone while speaking to others.

5. Be genuine

No one likes a phony. Be comfortable just being yourself. Putting on airs and trying to be someone or something you aren’t fools no one and makes you look phony.

6. Be passionate

Being passionate means feeling for the other person. Jesus taught that we are to love others as ourselves. Treat others, as you would have them treat you. Be loyal to your friends. Friends do not hurt friends or take advantage of them.

7. Don’t judge others

Keep criticism, blame, and innuendos out of your conversation. Helpful criticism is an exception, but all care must be taken to insure that it is done with the other person’s welfare in mind. It is not your responsibility to judge others and try to correct them. Most of us have a full time job keeping ourselves in line without taking on the responsibility of others.

8. Don’t draw attention to yourself

Drawing attention to one’s self fails to accomplish anything, but it can make the other person feel inferior, especially when someone is bragging about his or her own achievements. Instead, try to make the other person feel good about them. They in turn will feel good about you.

9. Be consistent

There are two avenues of consistency: Consistency toward self and consistency toward others. Consistency toward self has to do with being consistent in those things that benefit you, such as your health and well being. Consistency toward others has to do with making sure you do what you say you will do. In other words, your action matches your words. How often has someone said one thing to you but done something else? How did it make you feel?

The best place to start being consistent is by making sure that you don’t make commitments that you may not be able to keep. Be very careful in what you tell others that you will do. Rather than making a hasty decision, tell someone you need to think about it and get back to him or her.

It is a matter of developing consistent behavior in each part of your life. It isn’t easy and there will be setbacks and failures, but if your will is strong and you are determined, you will succeed.

One of the greatest banes of inconsistency is negative thinking. Napoleon Hill           called it “stinking thinking.” Negative thinking is an enemy to willpower. It disarms you and makes you weak and unlikely to be consistent. Replace negative thoughts such as I can’t do it with a positive thoughts like I can do it and I will.

10. Call people by their name

Andrew Carnegie said, “The sweetest sounding word in the English language is the sound of a person’s name to them.” One of the most important things you can do to cause others to like you is using their name. Learn how to remember names and don’t be afraid to call a person by their name. You don’t have to wait until you get to know them well. A couple tricks to remembering names is using association and paying attention to a name when you first hear it–repeat it over-and-over in your mind, and write it down when you have a chance for future reference.

11. Be pleasant

The opposite of pleasant is grumpy. Who cares to be around a grumpy person? Is being pleasant such a hard thing to do? Yes, it can be, especially if you are tired, don’t feel well, or if you have personal problems that you are dealing with. At times like these, it does require some objectivity and a great deal of effort to be pleasant. Is it worth it? Yes, unless you prefer to have others suffer with you.

12. Appropriately touch others

Touching someone during a conversation produces a chemical reaction. Oxytocin is released in their brain. Oxytocin is a neurotransmitter, which transmits a feeling of trust and several other positive reactions, which are directed to you. How amazing that a simple touch on a person’s shoulder or a friendly handshake can release a chemical that causes that person to like you. There are conditions however, touching a person at the right time, in an appropriate way, who wants you to touch them; otherwise, it can have the opposite effect. When you touch someone, you show that you care for them. The feelings that are generated between two people are as important as words when it comes to developing a relationship.

We all have experience the positive effect that likable people have in the workplace and upon the people around them. Why not become one of them yourself by learning a few people skills and practicing them.


Jimmie-on-HOG-240x300About the author: Jimmie Burroughs is a motivational speaker and author who has been involved in teaching Christian Personal Development for more than 30 years. He is a dedicated believer in Jesus Christ and considers helping others his calling in life. His websites contains over 600 articles on preparing yourself for success through personal development and the things that accompany personal development.

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