MANY successful people have discovered that being able to make others like them is the first step in building meaningful relationships — both in business and social spheres.

Many others have still not worked it out. These are the ones who make a great second or third impression — but a lousy first impression, which means, unfortunately, that most people they meet never get to see their “good side”.

While a few successful people are born with the quality of “instant likeability”, most aren’t — they are the ones who learned these techniques and rigorously applied them until they became life skills.

You can do it too. And if you believe you have this ability already, then you could always do better!

Compliments

Never underestimate the power of the sincere compliment. Also never underestimate people’s ability to detect an insincere one. It is so easy to find a genuine compliment for everyone you meet.

If you meet them in their space (home or office), say something complimentary about it. If they have chosen the venue, compliment their choice. If you have chosen the venue, compliment their navigation skills. If they are there voluntarily, compliment the fact that they turned up!

The hint is to compliment their achievements and/or their decisions. We all love to have our achievements recognised and we all like having our decisions validated.

I always ask about someone’s lapel pin. If I recognise it (for example, a Rotary pin), I will ask how long they have been a member and get them talking about the latest fund-raising project.

If I see one of the pins that shows that they have been awarded a civil honour, I will ask what they were given their award for — they love it!

Compliment the accessories they are wearing — a tie for men and brooch or other jewellery for women. Again, this is validating their decision to choose that particular item.

Questions

So often in conversation, we listen to the other person just long enough to identify something that we can say; and, from that point forward, we just listen for an opportunity to say it.

Your main aim in your quest for “instant likeability” is to get them talking about themselves. To do this, you should be listening for the question that you can ask that will get them talking more about themselves.

Now, it is also important to share a little of yourself — particularly if you have identified some potential common ground — but never forget that the more they talk about themselves, the more they like you.

Common ground

It makes sense that people with whom you have common ground will find it easier to like you because — at least in this one instance — you are more like them.

Of course, it is great if you support the same football team or share an interest in gardening, but something as incidental as the fact that you have lived in the same town is a very effective rapport-builder.

Confidence

We all find it easier to like and respect confident people. Confidence is like a magnet, creating an irresistible pull that gives those that possess it enormous power to influence.

The trouble is — in our quest to be liked — we sometimes exhibit the type of behaviour that is the exact opposite of what confident people do.

For many people, their eagerness when they meet new people gives the appearance of trying “too hard”.

They are more lively, exuberant, sometimes even louder. To create a confident appearance, you need to move and speak a little more slowly and deliberately.

So, you can see how easy it is to get it wrong. Go too far one way and you seem like an excited puppy; go too far the other and you’re acting like an arrogant snob.

So, when you are meeting people for the first time, take a deep breath, take your time and exude calmness and confidence.

Do this, and your likeability is guaranteed to improve — and you might even end up liking yourself more!