People do business with others they know, like and trust. This concept is paramount to any business relationship. It is the key to your success as a business person. It is what will make lucrative clients want to do business with you. It is what will make senior executives want to promote you.
For some people, developing the know, like and trust factor seems to come naturally – you’ve probably met somebody like this in your professional life. However for most, it’s something you have to consciously learn and develop. This article is going to focus on one of the areas that I find my clients are most intrigued about: how to become more likeable.
Before we delve into the tips, I want you to imagine the following situation so you can see how powerful likeability is.
Jenny is buying a new laptop. She is confused as to which brand will suit her best so she is looking for somebody who can give her clear advice. In the first store, the salesperson reluctantly approaches Jenny. He/she does not look Jenny in the eye. They don’t directly face Jenny. They don’t smile. They mumble. They look scruffy, flustered and unhappy. Jenny walks out of the store with basic information – great. But she certainly wasn’t impressed by that salesperson.
Jenny walks into the second store. The salesperson approaches her with energy and enthusiasm. He/she is well-dressed and well-groomed. They tell Jenny how much they like her shoes and ask where she bought them. They ask Jenny what she’s looking for and what she will use a new laptop for. After talking to Jenny about a couple of options, the salesperson finishes by saying, “In my opinion, Jenny, option B is the one that is better suited to your usage and needs”. Jenny walks out of the store with a new laptop and a feeling that she was truly looked after by that salesperson.
What is the difference between these two scenarios? What pushed Jenny to buy in the second store and not in the first store? The laptops on show were likely the same in both stores. The differentiating factor was the interaction Jenny had with each salesperson and whether she liked the salesperson, or not.
All business decisions, large or small, are guided and influenced by whether we like the person we’re doing business with or not. It’s a critical part of making connections, growing your network and growing your client base.
People do business with others they know, like and trust.
How exactly can you become more likeable? Here are three simple ways you can get started:
1. Be Authentic
Nobody likes a fake. Why? When we detect somebody is being fake, inauthentic or not showing their true self, we immediately put up a barrier, a natural defence mechanism, to protect us from that person in case they are a threat. When that natural defence mechanism is up, you’re not open to getting to know that person, and you certainly won’t be open to liking them. Inauthenticity will block likeability.
Inauthenticity is often projected through an incongruence in our body language and our verbal message. In the example used above, the first salesperson was verbally explaining the different laptop options to Jenny, but they keep looking away when talking to Jenny and their feet were pointing toward the door. Jenny subconsciously detected that salesperson was not interested in helping her. Why? Because their verbal and nonverbal language was not in-sync. Verbally, the salesperson was helping Jenny, but nonverbally they wanted to be somewhere else.
Incongruence in our verbal and nonverbal communication is a warning sign of inauthenticity. Inauthenticity blocks likeability.
In your interactions with others, to ensure you appear authentic, thereby encouraging others to like you, here’s what I suggest:
Be in the moment. Free your mind from distractions. Distractions will immediately show up in your body language and will signal an incongruence.
Become more aware of the body language and facial expressions you’re using. A useful technique that is borrowed from yoga is where you mentally “feel” all the muscles in your body from your head to your toes to help you get more in touch with your body language.
These tips will help you align your verbal and nonverbal communication to appear authentic and help the other person to like you.
2. Compliment the other person
Compliments are powerful. Think of the last time somebody complimented you on your new jacket, haircut, or signing a new client. How did it make you feel?
Compliments are easy and extremely simple to use. In the sales situation above, the second salesperson said to Jenny, “I really like your shoes. Where did you get them?”. This triggered in Jenny a feeling of happiness and pride. It validated her decision about the shoes she bought. And it helped lower her natural defence mechanism. Jenny started to like the salesperson.
How do you compliment somebody?
You can compliment others on an object they’re carrying or wearing, for example, a bag, jacket, shoes, suit, glasses or shirt.
You can also compliment others on an accomplishment they’ve made, for example, signing a lucrative client, finishing a degree, finalising a project on time, or getting a promotion.
What’s important for you to remember is you need to keep your compliments professionally focused. Never compliment somebody on how good looking they are or how physically attractive they are. This will not help that person lower their natural defence mechanism and get to like you.
3. Use the other person’s name
Dale Carnegie once said, “a person’s name to him or her is the sweetest sound in any language”. When you use the other person’s name in conversation, it triggers in them a feeling of happiness and joy. They relate that feeling of happiness and joy back to you and this helps them to like you.
In the sales example above, the second salesperson ended the conversation by saying, “In my opinion, Jenny, option B is the one that is better suited to your usage and needs”. When Jenny heard her name, it made her feel recognised, important and memorable. She instantly felt a connection with the salesperson and it made Jenny like them.
How can you use the other person’s name in conversation to make them feel memorable? It’s simple.
When you meet somebody for the first time, say, “[name] it’s so nice to meet you”.
When you say goodbye to that person at the end of a meeting, say, “Thank you for your time this morning [name]. I’ll send you the proposal in a couple of days”.
Getting others to like you is not difficult. All it takes is a little understanding of how people work and what makes us tick. I hope this article uncovered some interesting insights into human behaviour for you so you can magnify your likeability in business.