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4 Ways to Increase Likability and Connect with People

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I never thought in terms of “likes” until I joined Facebook five years ago. This simple word “like” has reframed my perspective. I have a love/hate relationship with it.

Although I appreciate how important likability is for positive human relationships, I don’t want how we view each other and the world to be in the buckets of like or not.

However, we are in this new world of liking and friend-ing, so we have to find a way to make it work for us. Why? Because fundamentally, we all prefer to be friends, do business, fall in love, and work for people we like.

What is "likability"?

Expert Tim Sanders, defines it in his book, The Likeability Factor, as having these 4 characteristics:

  1. Friendliness – your ability to communicate liking and openness to others
  2. Relevance – your capacity to connect with others' interests, wants, and needs
  3. Empathy – your ability to recognize, acknowledge, and experience other people's feelings
  4. Realness – the integrity that stands behind your likeability and guarantees its authenticity

Melissa Tamkins of Columbia University studied likability in the workplace for many years and concluded this:

“Success in the workplace is guaranteed not by what or whom you know, but by your popularity. Popular workers were seen as trustworthy, motivated, serious, decisive and hardworking and were recommended for fast-track promotion and generous pay increases. Their less-liked colleagues were perceived as arrogant, conniving and manipulative. Pay raises and promotions were ruled out regardless of their academic background or professional qualifications."

4 Ways to Increase Likability

Some people naturally have a high likability quotient, while others need to work on this a bit. If you feel that you fall under the latter category, here are some tips that will help.

1. Compliment, Cooperate and be Considerate of other people.

Publicly acknowledge someone in front of others. Be generous with your praise and offer positive feedback. Remember that recognition goes a long way! This also demonstrates a sense of being on the same side as they are.

Learning how to team well together guarantees higher likability. This includes letting someone else in front of you in line at the coffee shop, helping hold a door open, driving more mindfully aware of those around you. In general, being more considerate will go far in getting along with others.

2. Lift the corners of your mouth.

Smile more. Psychologist Albert Mehrabian’s likability formula includes this fun fact: “Body language contributes more than 50 percent to our overall likability.” Your facial expression while talking is actually more important than the words you speak. At the very least, the two should be in alignment.

As Maya Angelou puts it, “People will forget what you said but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Guy Kawasaki’s book Enchantment relates that smiling is the very first thing you can do to get people to like you.

In relationships and in business, people want to spend time with those they like. Simply put, smiling makes us more likable.

3. Build Compassionate Connection.

Did you know that inside each of us, we have an infinite abundance of compassion for other creatures? The greatest illusion of this world is the illusion of separation.

Things you think are separate and different are actually one and the same. We are all one people.~Silvia Mordini

Connecting to others without judging, and without fear of being judged means we expand beyond fear into a place of likability. We are naturally drawn toward those who aren’t over-competing or over-comparing themselves to us. One of the best ways to cultivate compassionate connection is to be a good listener. People like to be listened to.

4. Keep it Real.

Fakery is never going to earn us more friends. It actually turns people off because we are repelled by dishonesty. We don’t like people we can’t trust. Maintaining your integrity lessens the anxiety of those around you, which makes you more likable and easy to be around.

Telling the truth is a hallmark of likable people. We like people who keep their promises.

At the end of the day, it’s not that hard to put some effort towards being likable. Actually, it’s quite simple and with little effort, you can make a difference. Online relationships can benefit just as much as our face-to-face relationships. Both put a high value on kindness.

It matters now more than any ever and can make all the difference to the quality of our lives.

Featured in New York Magazine, The Guardian, and The Washington Post
Featured in the Huffington Post, USA Today, and VOGUE

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