Our connections and social contacts have more influence on our lives than we can imagine, and yet many people don’t invest quality time in building or maintaining important networks.
What would happen if you become proactive about your social life? You will improve your conversions, tell better stories about others and yourself, and make more friends and most importantly combine those friends to create an incredible social circle.
Our success in life and career largely depends on the richness and the depth of personal and professional relationships. The more likable we are, the deeper the personal and professional relationships we build and the richer and wider our networks get.
Exceptionally likable people not born charming— likability can be learned and mastered, just like any other skill. Here are a few key behaviors that can help you improve your social skills.
We connect fully with others when we project our authentic selves
When was the last time you lost yourself in a conversation? The real you is the most powerful tool you can have for forming real connections and being likable.
There is no right or wrong way to interact with people. There’s only the authentic way — being you; which means connecting with others in a way that feels right for you.
Authenticity is all about being your true self — the real you is the best you. People are attracted to those who are afraid to fully engage with them — in weakness and in strength.
Our relationships develop more easily and last longer when we feel better about ourselves and the people we relate with personally and professionally.
Michelle Tillis Lederman, explains in her book, The 11 Laws of Likability: Relationship Networking . . . Because People Do Business with People They Like:
“Building relationships is not about transactions – it’s about connections. It is about creating opportunities for honest and authentic interactions and making them advantageous for all parties involved. It’s about liking and being liked.”
By sharing your honest reactions, your natural energy, and everything real about you with others, you build deeper relationships with others in a way they can respond or relate to — which lays the foundation for mutual understanding, trust, and growth.
Trying to be who you are not can drain the life out of you. To be authentic, don’t try to do anything or pre-meditate your actions. Just be you. Forget about trying to be likable.
We connect better with others when we show more curiosity than they expect
Curiosity keeps conversations going.
Dale Carnegie, the best-selling author of How to Win Friends and Influence People was right — humans are generally interested in themselves. We all want to be liked.
“People are not interested in you. They are not interested in me. They are interested in themselves — morning, noon, and after dinner.”
People love to talk and they will happily talk about themselves if you prompt them into a conversation by either asking them something interesting about themselves or something you know they find interesting.
To engage better with others, ask better and open-ended questions. Ask questions that will make people think you have their interests at heart.
In any conversation, show your genuine interest by learning more about your conversation partner— it will increase your likability and open you up to opportunities. When someone tells a story, stop your urge to follow up with an example from your own life.
Even if the conversation reaches a dead-end, chip in an open-ended question to help it along. As you converse, aim to uncover what you might have in common and what value you might bring to them.
Curiosity brings out the best in us and prompts us to naturally maintain good eye contact and composure, use appropriate head nods, or mirror their body language. The end result is that we enhance our connections.
“Along with a smile, show some enthusiasm and energy, also known as charisma,” suggests Rosalinda Oropeza Randall, an etiquette and civility expert and the author of “Don’t Burp in the Boardroom. “This not only draws people to you, but it is contagious,” she says.
Super-likable people listen intelligently
To connect better with others, listen more than you speak.
Active listening requires that you focus on what the other person is saying, absorb it, and interpret it without judgment. Lederman argues:
“Whether with a new acquaintance or an existing relationship, stay open to the possibility that your perceptions aren’t entirely accurate; it just may give you the opportunity to strengthen the bond.”
By listening effectively, you can build trust, discover interests, and identify passions and commonalities. Listening is critical for increasing likability. It helps you build rapport and express empathy.
Active listening is part of what you do when you stay curious about a person you are conversing with. In Dale Carnegie’s words:
“Be a good listener and encourage others to talk about themselves.” When people feel good as they talk to you, they’ll associate those good feelings with you. That’s a winning formula for making friends and influencing people.
Listening, done well, is an act of empathy. It’s vital to healthy relationships. Learn to value the silence when you are listening. Don’t be afraid of silence; learn to hold it.
It may feel uncomfortable to you, but it won’t to the person who needs to express how they feel — they may be working through painful feelings, so don’t rush them. People will start opening up if you don’t interrupt. It takes courage to be a good listener.
Active listening won’t necessarily feel natural at first, and it will require a lot of practice before it becomes a habit. However, if you stick with it, you’ll find it does get easier.
To summarise, you can learn to be likable. You can network with ease, connect meaningfully with others, bring out the best in everyone around you, and have fun in the process.
Learn to become the most likable person in the room by being more authentic, showing interest in others, making others feel important, and encouraging others to talk. Being likable is under your control.
This article originally appeared on Medium.