7 Things Well-Liked People Always Do
Everyone wants to be well liked; it's in our nature as people. But it's hard to pinpoint what exactly it is that makes us more likeable. Is it a magic charisma that attracts people to us? Or maybe being outgoing and friendly? Or having an agreeable personality that doesn't put people off? Though there are plenty of theories floating around about what makes someone well liked, here are seven things that well-liked people always do--and that you can do today to make yourself a more likeable and magnetic person.
1. Don't judge
No one likes being judged, but it can often be difficult to avoid judging the actions of the people we work with or who work for us. And as much as we may try to disguise our judgment, our physical responses can be pretty transparent. Well-liked people know this, and instead of trying to hide it they make the conscious choice to not judge others. If they are managers or supervisors, they make rational decisions about people based on data and results, not emotional reactions to personalities. In addition, they have accepted the fact that they can't, and shouldn't, try to control or to change the lives or opinions of others.
2. Get personal
Well-liked people have mastered the delicate dance of getting personal without getting too personal, especially in a work environment. They break down walls by getting real--telling you about their issues and problems but without dwelling on them. They also tell you about the good things happening in their lives, without bragging or trying to "look good." Their genuine willingness to be vulnerable and to take things to a personal level naturally attracts people to them.
3. Ask people about themselves
Rather than spending an entire conversation talking about themselves, well-liked people instead put the focus on the people they're with. If you don't bother to ask questions about the person you're with, or give the person a chance to talk about him- or herself, you'll put the person off by clearly demonstrating that you care more about making yourself look good than actually getting to know the other person. Well-liked people know that people enjoy talking about themselves, and they ask questions to prompt them to do just that--building stronger relationships and their own likeability.
There's no point in asking questions if you aren’t going to listen. Active listening--where you respond to what people are saying with timely verbal and nonverbal prompts, conversation reinforcements, and questions--is a skill that well-liked people have mastered. And they make a point of not looking at their smartphones or computer screens while they're talking to someone else. This makes the other person feel important, which builds your likeability.
Of course, to remember, you must first be a good listener. Think about a time when your boss remembered something important in your life--a child’s graduation, or your upcoming birthday or wedding anniversary. Likeable people remember things about those they work with, and they make sure they let those people know that they remember. Listening and remembering shows that you value your conversations and time spent with other people, which in turn leads them to value their time spent with you.
6. Don't take yourself too seriously
At appropriate times, likeable people joke, laugh, and are just plain fun to be around. Who doesn't want to be around someone who can share a good laugh? They have unorthodox business meetings, and they like to surprise the people they work with. You'll meet at the office one day and at the baseball field the next. These people know the importance of lighthearted fun on the job, and they try to incorporate it into their daily life, at work and at home.
7. Be hospitable
Likeable people know the meaning of hospitality, and they aren't afraid to invite you into their office or even their home for a meal, a meeting, or a cup of coffee. Opening up your office to someone is an act that never goes unnoticed, and opening up your home to someone is like opening your heart to that person.
If you aren't already doing these things in your business life, try taking on a few, and watch how quickly the people around you respond. You might be surprised at just how likeable you can be with just a few changes in the way you treat others.
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While Peter Economy has spent the better part of two decades of his life slugging it out mano a mano in the management trenches, he is also the best-selling author of Managing for Dummies, The Management Bible, Leading Through Uncertainty, and more than 75 other books, with total sales in excess of two million copies. He has also served as associate editor for Leader to Leader for more than 10 years, where he has worked on projects with the likes of Jim Collins, Frances Hesselbein, Marshall Goldsmith, and many other top management and leadership thinkers. Sign up here to always stay up to date with Peter's latest Inc.com columns, and visit him anytime at petereconomy.com.