Your true potential is enhanced by the sum of all the people who like you, and thus would go out of their way to assist you in a time of need. Unfortunately, there is no quick-fix guide for becoming extremely likeable. Likeability is tied deeply into some of your most stubborn, long-standing habits and behaviors. "Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster. Your life will never be the same again."—Og Mandino
As with conquering any major personal change, it takes time and practice. These twenty-one steps will get you there.
1. Be Attentive to Others and Never Stop Listening
Self-centered people are usually unlikable. When you're involved in a conversation, it's important to focus more on the other person and less on yourself. If you genuinely concern yourself with others and listen to them closely, you'll make scores of friends with little effort. Remember, everybody loves a good listener.
2. Compliment People Who Deserve It
Go out of your way to personally acknowledge and compliment the people who have gone out of their way to shine. Everybody likes to hear that their efforts are appreciated.
3. Make Yourself Available and Approachable
If people cannot get a hold of you, or have trouble approaching you, they will forget about you. Your general availability and accessibility to others is extremely important to them. Always maintain a positive, tolerant attitude and keep an open line of communication to those around you.
4. Speak Clearly so People Can Understand You
Most people have a very low tolerance for dealing with people they can't understand. Mystery does not fuel strong relationships and likeability.
5. Never Try to Be Someone You're Not
All people have the subconscious ability to detect a liar. Even academy award winning actors slip up every now and then. Fake people are not likeable. Ask yourself this: If you don't like who you really are, why the heck should I like you?
6. Address People by Their Name
People love the sight and sound of their own name, so make sure you learn to remember names. Use them respectfully in both oral and written communication.
7. Mirror the Person You're Conversing With
You can mirror someone by imitating their body language, gestures, movements and facial expressions during a one on one conversation. The other person will unconsciously pickup on the familiarity of your mirrored actions, which will provide them with an added sense of comfort as they speak with you. The more comfortable you make them feel, the more they will enjoy being around you.
8. Always Ask to Help … and Help When Asked
Everyone appreciates the gift of free assistance and those who supply it. Highly likeable people always spare time for others, regardless of how busy their own schedules are. Remember, helping people get what they want is the #1 key to getting what you want.
9. Never Get Caught Lying
Everybody stretches the truth at times, but everyone hates a liar. Ironic, isn't it? Regardless, understand that your credibility and likeability will get crushed if you are caught telling a lie.
10. Say "Please" and "Thank You"
These 2 simple phrases make demands sound like requests and inject a friendly tone into serious conversations. It can mean the difference between sounding rude and sounding genuinely grateful.
11. Use Positive Language (Body and Verbal)
You can use positive language skills to exhibit yourself as a helpful, constructive person rather than a destructive, disinterested one. Positive body language involves the act of maintaining eye contact while speaking, using hand gestures to accentuate important points, leaning in closer while someone else is speaking, smiling, and mirroring the person you're involved in a conversation with. Positive verbal language concentrates on what can be done, suggests helpful choices and alternatives, and sounds accommodating and encouraging rather than one-dimensionally bureaucratic.
Everyone likes the sight of a genuine smile. Think about how you feel when a complete stranger looks into your eyes and smiles. Suddenly she doesn't seem like a stranger anymore, does she? Instead she seems warm and friendly, someone you wouldn't mind being around for a little while longer.
13. Keep Unqualified Opinions to Yourself
If you don't have all the facts, or you're uneducated on the topic of discussion, it's in your best interest to spend your time listening. Unqualified opinions just make a person sound foolishly arrogant.
14. Provide Tangible Value
Don't just follow in the footsteps of everyone else. Figure out which pieces of the puzzle are missing and put them in place. When you add tangible value, you increase your own value in the eyes of others.
15. Respect Elders, Respect Minors, Respect Everyone
There are no boundaries or classes that define a group of people that deserve to be respected. Treat everyone with the same level of respect you would give to your grandfather and the same level of patience you would have with your baby brother. People will notice your kindness.
16. Make Frequent Eye Contact … but Don't Stare
There's little doubt that eye contact is one of the most captivating forms of personal communication. When executed properly, eye contact injects closeness into human interaction, which leads to likeability. The key is to make frequent eye contact without gawking. If you fail to make eye contact you will be seen as insincere and untrustworthy. Likewise, an overbearing stare can make you appear arrogant and egotistical.
17. Don't Over-Promise … Instead, Over-Deliver
Some people habitually make promises they are just barely able to fulfill. They promise perfection and deliver mediocrity. Sure, they do deliver something. But it's not inline with the original expectations, so all it does is drive negative press. If you want people to like you, forget about making promises and simply over-deliver on everything you do.
18. Stand Up for Your Beliefs Without Promoting Them
Yes, it is possible to stand up for your beliefs without foisting them down someone else's throat. Discuss your personal beliefs when someone asks about them, but don't spawn offensive attacks of propaganda on unsuspecting victims. Stand firm by your values and always keep an open mind to new information.
19. Make a Firm Handshake
There is a considerable correlation between the characteristics of a firm handshake (strength, duration, eye contact, etc.) and a positive first impression.
20. Keep Your Hands Away from Your Face
Putting your hands on your face during a conversation tells the other person that you're either bored, negatively judging them, or trying to hide something.
21. Dress Clean
"Clothes and manners do not make the man; but, when he is made, they greatly improve his appearance." Henry Ward said that, and he knew exactly what he was talking about. People will always judge a book by its cover. While a stylish dress code is not absolutely necessary, it can drastically alter another person's perception of you.
By Marc and Angel Hack Life
First published October 2009