Over 70 years ago Dale Carnegie wrote his 15 million copy best-seller, “How To Win Friends & Influence People”. Many things have changed since then – the invention of the mobile phone, the Internet and social networks. However, while our ways of communication might have evolved we are still facing the same communication challenges our grandparents faced.
How often do we scratch our head, puzzled at what we could have possibly said or done to offend someone we like? How often do we fail to connect with another person no matter how hard we try to get along? How often do we feel invisible at parties and social gatherings (or wish we were invisible, because meeting new people is just plain stressful for us)?
Deep down we all want to make new friends, to win people’s trust and, let’s be honest, to become more likable.
Here are a few tips for making people like you and follow your lead:
1. Be approachable
In order for people to like you, they have to get to know you. In order for them to get to know you, they have to approach you and feel comfortable in your company. Many leaders think that in order to influence people, they have to assume an air of superiority around themselves. This is one of the biggest communication mistakes they could ever make. No one likes to think of themselves as “inferior” and no one likes to be treated that way. If you want to win friends easily and influence people, let go of your ego. People will not like you, because you are better than them. They will like you because YOU make THEM feel better about themselves.
If you expect to get people absorbed into conversation and make them hang on every word you say, you have to grab their attention and interest so they hear what you want to tell them. It is not always as easy as it may seem. Most people have developed a skill of half-listening and half-thinking about their plans for the day, a message they received from a friend or about the next thing they want to say.
I found that whether you talk in front of a large audience or chit-chat with a person you have just met, there are several things you can do to grab their full attention and engage them into the conversation:
- Tell an interesting or entertaining story – for some unexplainable reason good stories have a hypnotizing affect on us, grabbing our full attention and making us listen attentively to every single word.
- Share a personal experience that another person can relate to
- Ask open questions that can not be answered with a simple “yes” or “no”
- Relate to a recent event and ask for opinion
If you can find a topic that interests you and the person you are talking to, you are golden!
It is almost impossible to connect with people or to win their sympathy if they are only half-listening to you. And the best way to make others listen to you is to be a good listener yourself. Show interest in another person’s hobbies, achievements and relationships. Let people talk about themselves – this is a great way to get to know them and, as strange as it may sound, come out as a fun person to hang out with. 🙂
4. Control your temper
Do you know how sometimes the whole office walks on their tip-toes, because the boss just happens to be in a bad mood? Well, if you want to lead and inspire people, your behavior and actions should not depend on your mood swings. We all have to deal with incredible amount of pressure and stress on a daily basis and we can not always control our emotions. But we can consciously decide how to express our feelings and choose our actions, which ultimately makes us responsible for them. How you feel should not affect what you say and how you treat others. Remember this and you will win people’s respect and admiration in no time!
5. Add value
How does an interaction with you add value to another person’s life? Do people feel great in your company, because you are fun to be around? Do others become reassured, uplifted, inspired after talking to you? No matter where you are and who you talk to, try to always ask yourself, “How can you add value to this person’s life? How can you help?”
Sometimes even tiny actions like a reassuring smile, an affectionate pat on the shoulder or a sincere compliment can make a huge difference in another person’s day.
6. Be authentic!
There is nothing wrong with wanting people to like you, as long as you do not go overboard and try to change who you are to please others. If you want people to like the real you, be yourself! Never fake interest or say what you think another person wants to hear. This is the fastest way to lose people’s trust and interest.
Follow Dr. Seuss’s advice – “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind!”
7. Let other people shine!
What happens when your colleague tells you a joke you have already heard? Do you say, “Yeah. I know this joke!” or do you let the person finish and laugh at it? How about when a friend tells you about a mistake they made. Is your first reaction to tell them “I told you so! You should have listened to me?” Very often we feel that unexplainable need to seem more informed, knowledgeable and brighter than other people. This need serves only one purpose – to boost our ego. But it does not help us win other people’s affections.
If you want people to like you and seek your company, let them feel witty, helpful, or well-informed. Express gratitude for their trust, their help, or their desire to see you smile! Even if it means listening to a joke you already know, holding back an impulse to point out that you were right or fighting the urge to turn everything someone says into an “I can top that” story.
Do you have any suggestions to make people like you? What works for you?
Share your thoughts in the comment section below!