We’ve all heard, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” But I disagree.
Its not about who you know. It’s really about who knows you. Just because you’ve met someone, doesn’t mean they’ll help you get into the job you want, or refer you to the sale you need. It takes more than a decent handshake to build good rapport with someone.
In order to get ahead, you need to build good relationships with people. However, I am not a big believer in trying to push an agenda with people I’ve just met. I’d much rather build a real, sustainable friendship with them before asking for anything in return.
All friendships start with someone liking you. So here are the 12 most powerful ways to make people like you:
1. Be happy about who you are
In psychology, it is a well known fact that you can’t give what you don’t have. The best way to get someone to like you, is to make sure you like yourself first! When you like who you are and where you’re going, you are much more likely to maintain a good attitude, which will lead to friendships.
2. Have a good attitude
No one likes to be around someone who has a sour attitude. No one. So make sure that you don’t have a sour attitude! Attitudes are contagious, so be sure to infect people with a good one!
3. Dress well
We have definitely come a long way from judging a book by its cover in the past several years, but it is still important to present yourself well! You have less than five seconds to make a good first impression, so obviously appearance plays a large part in this. If you come in to meet with greasy hair, a wrinkled white t-shirt and dirt-stained jeans, you’re going to give a totally different vibe than someone who comes in with neat hair, a nicely ironed white t-shirt, and clean jeans.
4. Look for a way to compliment them
As soon as you meet someone, search for something you genuinely like about them. It can be as specific as their shoes, nail polish, hair, or as broad as the way they carry themselves! The key here is that you absolutely must be genuine. If you pay people fake compliments, they’ll treat you as if you paid them in monopoly money. You should also do this within the first 15 seconds of meeting them.
5. Look for something they obviously care about
Item #5 piggybacks slightly on #4. If you want to get bonus points for your compliment, try to pick something out that your new friend cares deeply about. For a mother, you may compliment her little girl’s dress. For a young woman, it may be the red streak in her hair. For a young man, it may be how physically fit he is.
6. Give them your full attention
Make your interaction completely and fully about your new friend. Embrace the mantra, “it’s not about me” and make it, “it’s all about you.” In the busy world we live in, we are all constantly competing for attention from 100 different things at once. It could be a phone call, a Twitter update, or a Facebook “like.” When we give our new friend our full attention, it will be attention they may not be used to getting. This can win you major points.
7. Ask the right questions
When we meet new people, we have to take part in the dreaded “small talk” until you either find common ground, or get bored and move on. If you take just this one piece of advice, you’ll never fear small talk again. The trick to getting past small talk is asking the right questions. You need to ask questions that demand explanations. These types of questions start with words like: Who? What? When? Why? Where? How? These words open up the need for explanation and thus conversation is born. Avoid all “yes” or “no” questions.
8. Listen with the intent of listening
Most people participate in conversation through listening with the intent to talk again. Have you ever been talking to someone and after you spoke, you totally forgot what they said seconds before? That’s because you were focused on talking. Everyone wants someone to listen. Learning how to listen with the intent of listening will enable you to focus fully on the other person. A good way to start is by asking questions that require deeper answers or stories.
9. Find a way to encourage
Everyone feels overworked, overstressed, and underpaid. Everyone also loves to receive encouragement. If, during your conversation, you can find a way to encourage your new friend, they will love you for it. It could be as simple as bragging about their great sense of style.
In order to build friendships, you must be approachable. In order to be approachable, you must send out open body language. The easiest way to send out open body language is by smiling often. Every time you make eye contact with someone, smile. Smiles are an easy way to brighten someone’s day, and sometimes all you have to do is smile at the right people. Besides, smiling leads to longer life.
11. Watch your hands
Your hands can send all kinds of messages to those around you. For example, when someone is being honest with you, they will often show you their palms more often. However, when someone has their hands in their pocket, or has their arms crossed, they are effectively saying, “I don’t want to be here, talking to you.”
12. Remember their name
This is one of the most overlooked, and underutilized skills that can help you build friendships with others. Always remember your new friend’s name. It was the first word they learned as a child and it is the most important word in that person’s world. A nice trick to remembering peoples’ names is to make a conscious effort to say their name three times in the first 60 seconds of meeting them.
Photo credit: Big Stock Photos