As business leaders, we want people to like us. When meeting new clients or customers, or new employees, being an interesting and engaging person matters.
For example, when communicating to make a favorable first impression, don't drag on--be brief and get to the point. Be mindful of how fast or slow you talk. If you know you talk slowly and pause often to gather your thoughts, speed up the tempo of your dialogue. Otherwise, you'll lose your listener.
Show your emotions. Don't be a robot and speak in a monotone voice all the time. It's hard for the listener to take in the meaning of your words. So, vary your pitch, tone, and volume to highlight different meanings to your story-telling.
And don't forget your body language. Show some teeth by smiling and laughing at something funny. Also, have good posture and lean in to show that you're interested.
But most importantly, the best way to make people like you more is by getting conversations off to a great start with the right questions.
10 questions to ask
Research has confirmed what most people already know: Surface level small talk does not build relationships. That goes for the business world too. Most leaders are guilty of asking those dreaded, superficial questions that lead nowhere beyond the small talk, instead of interesting questions that will trigger deeper conversations.
The key? Put the focus on the other person. People want to be seen and heard. So, take these 10 questions for a spin to knock your next business meeting out of the park.
1. What's your story?
2. What absolutely excites you right now?
3. What makes you smile when you get up in the morning?
4. What gets you up in the morning?
5. What is your whole reason for existing--your "why"?
6. What's the most important thing I should know about you?
7. What do you think is the driving force in your life?
8. What is one of your most defining moments in life?
9. What's the best thing that's happened to you this year?
10. When's the last time you failed spectacularly at something?
Remember, the pattern to asking these questions should be obvious: It's making the conversation about the other person. This selfless act of putting the spotlight on someone else makes you the more engaging person in the conversation. And that can go a long way in a budding business relationship.