Does likeability matter? When Britain shortly decides who will become its next Prime Minister, the candidates will not only be judged by their policies, but also by their ‘likeablility’. And likeability as a factor for success is growing as social networks and video conferencing grow. According to one study, people watching someone on a video conference are more likely to be swayed by how much they like the person than the content of their conversation - politicians take note.
Another study, by the University of Massachusets, showed that likeable people are more readily hired, more likely to be assisted at work, and more able to get the information they need from others. So how do you become ’likeable’? Below are five habits of extremely likeable people that are worth emulating if you’re keen to increase your likeability quotient. They are based on the findings of respected behavioural experts.
1. They Suspend Their Ego
Likeable people know that ego kills rapport, so they suspend their ego. Instead, likeable people focus on the other person by putting aside their own needs, wants and opinions. They focus on active, constructive dialogue to engage others and seek out common ground, which is the cornerstone of likeability.
Setting yourself as superior to another can trigger defensive responses in the other person. This can quickly escalate into ‘argument territory’ with the usual conditioned ‘fight’ responses coming into the fray. Winning the status game then becomes the objective, usually at the cost of a friendship.
2. They Validate the Thoughts and Opinions of the Person They’re Talking to
Non-judgmental validation is the “number one strategy” employed by likeable people. This refers to proactively seeking out the interests, opinions and beliefs of the other person without judgement.
Validation does not mean you have to agree with someone. It does, however, communicate an understanding of that visceral need we all have: to be accepted as we are. Validating someone requires showing a genuine interest in what they have to say, but you don’t need to feign agreement. Studies have shown that people love to talk about themselves, so use this insight to increase your likeability.
3. They Use Non-Verbal Techniques
Likeable people use three key behaviours to phenomenal effect: they smile naturally when they are engaged in conversation, they make eye contact and they vary the tone of their voice to convey warmth and enthusiasm.
Positive non-verbal body language is particularly important when on camera, according to behavioural experts. According to one study, job candidates who are interviewed on video tend not to achieve likeability ratings and interview scores as high as those applicants interviewed face to face. This, the experts say, is because on video, candidates tend to come across as cold and stiff, or they exaggerate their points.
4. They Don't Overstay Their Welcome
Likeable people seldom overstay their welcome. They prioritise the time of the other person, which enables the other person to relax.
If people feel that you will be taking up much of their time, particularly if they don’t know you, their defences are likely to be raised, say behavioural experts.
5. They are Able to Manage Their Expectations and Those of Others
Likeable people know that people will have needs and priorities that may vary greatly from theirs. When they perceive that their views or opinions are not welcome by others, they know to make a pleasant and graceful exit.
See Also: 5 Traits of Unforgettable People
Studies have shown that people would rather hang out with a “loveable fool” than a “competent jerk”, and personal qualities play a major role even in our work relationships. If you would like to be more likeable, try these tips.