Let's face it: It is human of us to be superficial -- to focus on looks, both our own and the beauty of others. We love to be around attractive people. Beauty sells. Even science confirms the business benefits of being attractive.
Studies summarized in the book Beauty Pays: Why Attractive People Are More Successful found that attractive people earn an average of 3 to 4 percent more than people considered average looking. Additionally, studies have found that attractive people bring in more revenue.
But "attractiveness" has a definition beyond mere physical beauty. Whether or not you turn heads, science also finds that there are many desirable traits common among people whom others feel are attractive.
The other side of attraction
If you're in the people business and have regular interaction with other humans, be they customers, vendors, or co-workers, it helps to have a good social awareness of what makes them tick.
Science has confirmed certain traits as the gateway to experiencing more positive, meaningful human exchanges that will attract others to you. For example:
1. Step into other people's shoes
Empathy is an attractive quality to have in building successful relationships. Empathy starts with thinking about other people's circumstances, understanding their challenges and frustrations, and knowing that those emotions are every bit as real as your own. This helps you develop perspective, and opens you up to helping others, which also enhances your sense of gratitude.
2. Be intentionally positive
Being a positive person is attractive and a choice we can intentionally make every day. That choice also has long-term psychological benefits. Brain research has found that when you choose positive behaviors (like meditation or forgiveness), you hold the key to rewiring your brain. By changing your daily habits to the positive, you'll be able to control your sense of well-being and happiness. I think that's brilliant.
3. Learn from others
Rather than be convinced that you have all the answers to life's biggest problems, solicit the advice and wisdom of sages in your community. Being interested in others and what they have to say will surely draw people to you and result in great conversations. Be the person who shows up with the humble gesture of "I want to learn from you." It's a sure way to build bridges and gain trust. It shows your humility--a leadership strength that ultimately influences people.
4. Be a good listener
With technology and social media ruling our lives, we are becoming less opportunistic in developing our listening skills, and less socially aware of its effect on business as a competitive advantage. As you develop professional relationships, leverage active listening by being able to understand what's happening on the other side of the fence; listen intuitively to the other person's story, searching conversations for depth, meaning, and understanding with the other person's needs in mind. Your listening should have one overarching theme: How can I help the other person?
5. Avoid divisive conversations
Ever pay attention to how attractive personalities speak? Most of them, you'll note, refrain from resorting to negative words, judgmental speech, or conversational topics that are divisive (these days, those are not hard to find). They avoid these things because they know the stressful and harmful effects they have on fostering a climate of healthy community and collaboration. They stay away from unnecessary drama, malicious gossip, and psychological warfare. Instead, they offer others helpful feedback that empowers and lifts them up. Doing so will inspire and build trust with others and increase your attractiveness.