For a long time, I incorrrectly believed that the product with the best features always wins. The truth is that humans are emotional beings, and we make decisions based on feelings and emotion. This truth applies to people, and how much we like them.

Similarly to products, likeable people are more successful even though they aren't as intelligent, skilled or experienced as others. If you're likable, you're more likely to receive that important introduction, get that meeting you want or close that deal your business needs to succeed. People want to work with people they like - and they like helping them too. For all the focus we put on numbers and growth, we should be putting equal (or more) focus on the emotional intelligence side of our personal skills.

For most of us (myself included), being a likable person is a daily practice. I've worked on being more likable for over eight years now, and I'm still learning and practicing. It's too easy to fall back into bad habits, let our ego get in the way and allow fear or discomfort to affect our communication skills.

Here's a list of the 28 most powerful habits of likable people that you can adopt in your daily life.

The 28 Habits of Likable People

  1. They treat others in the same way they want to be treated.
  2. They give as much as they take.
  3. They create meaningful relationships.
  4. They don't insist that they're right, and they're open to hear your viewpoint.
  5. They ask questions, instead of making statements.
  6. They listen attentively, and don't interrupt.
  7. They are accountable to themselves and others.
  8. They communicate directly and authentically (not passive aggressively).
  9. They smile.
  10. They ask "How are you?" (and genuinely mean it).
  11. They are empathetic.
  12. They give you their full attention.
  13. They ask "How can I help?"
  14. They hold space for you to become the person you strive to be, but don't judge you for being who you are, or where you are.
  15. They avoid arguments.
  16. They laugh at themselves.
  17. They are confident, yet have a sense of humility.
  18. They uphold a healthy set of boundaries.
  19. They aren't afraid to give genuine praise to others.
  20. They don't take your power, or give their power away.
  21. They don't complain.
  22. They don't preach at you, or give unsolicited advice.
  23. They don't expect you to be perfect.
  24. They apologize (and don't view it as a sign of weakness).
  25. They want you to be successful and happy (in life and in business).
  26. They don't seek (or need) your approval.
  27. They listen to learn (not to speak).
  28. They like to have fun.

The one rule that you should follow

When you really pay attention, most of these habits fall into a single category, or in this case, a rule. The golden rule has been around for ages, and it's no less important now than when it was first shared in ancient times.

The Golden Rule: Treat others in the same way you wish to be treated. 

Applying the golden rule is simple, yet powerful. If you don't want people to lie to you, then don't lie to others. If you want people to put themselves in your shoes, and see things from your point of view, you must be willing to do the same for them. If you like how someone can listen to you and make you feel heard, then you must learn how to actively listen to others without passing judgement. If you're grateful when someone makes a favorable introduction, then you must be willing to help them, or someone else, in return.

The world needs more likable people

There are too many people with an inflated sense of entitlement, always taking from others without giving anything back (or paying it forward). There are too many people treating others like assets, chess pieces or as a means to an end. There are too many bad leaders who will say one thing, yet do another. The world would be a better, happier and more connected place if people followed the golden rule. 

Tools to help you be more likable

Amidst the sea of gimmicks, influencers and imposter coaches, there are a few tools and resources that can help you become a more likable person. Here's a few that I've explored:

  1. Read How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
  2. Learn to love yourself. While it's easier said than done, I've learned that I treat others better when I start treating myself better. Compassion goes a long way.
  3. Read Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny and Ron McMillan.
  4. Watch YouTube videos of celebrities and leaders that you think are charismatic and likable. Observe how they behave and communicate (verbally, and non-verbally).

Final Word

No matter if your motivation is to increase sales, build your network or simply enjoy a more connective and meaningful experience on earth, take the time to incorporate these habits. Invest the time necessary to identify the ways in which you can improve your adherence to the golden rule. Even just fifteen minutes a day, in lieu of Instagram, can make a significant impact on your personal or professional success.