Have you ever noticed how some people instantly make friends everywhere they go? Almost as if they have some amazing magnetic power, irresistible to any human within a 20-mile radius. While most assume these people were born with this unique characteristic that makes them ultra-likeable, this isn’t true. Charisma, charm, likeability – whatever you want to call it – is a skill that they have learnt and practiced. Some consciously. Some unconsciously. And if they can learn it – you can too.
So how can you become the most popular person in the room in just a few minutes?
1) Stop thinking about you
Most people enter a conversation thinking, “What can I say that will make them like me?” or “How can I come across as really interesting or funny?”. And they continue to think these thoughts throughout the conversation. This is your first mistake. How can you connect with someone when you’re busy focusing on what you’re going to say and not on the other person? Take the spotlight off you, empty your mind of any-self talk and shift your focus onto the people around you.
2) Ask more questions
Ultra-likeable people are genuinely interested in learning more about others. They ask questions. Not only does this show that they care, but it also gives the other person a chance to talk about themselves. Something the other person might not get a chance to do very often. Popular people will also ask questions to look for areas of common ground – knowing that focusing on these will lead to an even greater connection.
3) Listen more than you talk
It’s a common misconception that ultra-likeable people are all extroverts. And in order for you to be popular you need to be able to tell a good joke or funny story. This simply isn’t true. Introverts are extremely likeable because they tend to listen more. Making the other person feel important, interesting and liked. And if you can make someone feel like that – they will instantly like you!
4) Be fully engaged
Being fully present in the conversation is the key to being ultra-likeable. Poor eye contact (looking over the other person’s shoulder or anywhere but their face) gives the impression you’re not interested in what they’re saying. Being on your phone or watching the TV while they’re talking will have the same effect. If they’re willing to show you enough respect to take the time to talk to you, be respectful back. Put your phone away and be present.
5) Show more empathy
Empathy is showing an interest in other people’s feelings. Even more than that, it’s being able to experience those feelings and respond to them intelligently, showing you appreciate what the other person is going through. This is a skill in itself and one worth developing if you haven’t done so already. People will instantly like you if they feel you’ve taken the time to understand them and where they are coming from.
6) Be free with your compliments
If have a positive thought about someone – share it! Most people like a compliment or two. Not necessarily the compliment itself (some people find it hard to accept compliments) but the fact you have noticed something about them will make them feel important. This can make them feel good – associating you with feeling good. So every time they see you – they will instantly feel good!
7) Be aware of your body language
Ever heard of the term Resting B*tch Face (RBF)? If not, google it. Essentially, it’s a term for a facial expression which unintentionally appears angry, annoyed or irritated. The key here is to remember you are always communicating 100% of the time. Even if you’re not aware of it. Through your body language. So if you naturally tend to frown, or slouch your shoulders etc. you might be sending out the wrong signals. Be more conscious of your body language – smile, check your posture, your tone of voice etc. – and make sure you’re giving off the right vibe.
8) Be yourself
Ultra-likeable people ooze authenticity. They know who they are, like who they are and live by it. They are congruent through and through. Trying to be someone you’re not (e.g. an introvert trying to be an extrovert) can not only be exhausting but can easily be perceived as ‘fake’. This breaks trust, and without trust – there will be no connection.
9) Make the effort to remember names
Funny story. While writing this post in a café, I stopped a very lovely lady to ask her “What makes you really like someone?”. We introduced ourselves and continued our conversation. “Remembering someone’s name!” she said. Which was hilariously followed by, “On that note – what’s yours again?”. It was a great moment of which I saw the funny side. Some, however, might not find it so amusing. Particularly those who take themselves very seriously. People like to feel special – and if you can remember their name, you’re definitely one step closer.
10) Be considerate
Showing that you are considerate of another person’s needs can do wonders for your popularity. Be vigilant of what their needs might be and see what you can do to meet them. Offer them a seat if they’re standing, buy them a drink, turn the air con up if they look hot. This will make them feel significant and will get you the thumbs up!
11) Offer to help where you can
Most people at some point will talk about a potential challenge they are facing. This could be anything from having a dripping tap through to not being able to find a job. If you know of someone who might be able to help them (maybe a good plumber or recruitment consultant) offer to act as a connector and help as much as you can.
How do you form connections with people? Feel free to share your experiences and comments below.
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Zeta Yarwood is recognised as a leading Career Coach and NLP Life Coach in Dubai, helping individuals across the world to achieve success in all areas of their lives. With a degree in Psychology and over 10 years’ experience in coaching, management and recruitment – working for multinational companies and award-winning recruitment firms – Zeta is an expert in unlocking human potential. Passionate about helping people discover their strengths, talents and motivation, Zeta lives to inspire others to dream big and create the life and career they really want.