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Have you ever met someone that captivated you right off the bat? This person just had that je ne sais quoi that made you feel like you were the most important person in the world, each and every time you had a conversation? We all have met those people in life, and they often come in the form of successful and charismatic business leaders or moguls. Research shows that there is actually a bit of science, or methodology, behind making others like you – and it’s simpler than you may think.
As the saying goes, people want to do business with people they know, like, and trust, so being likeable is big part of paving a successful career path for a professional. The fact of the matter is, if you aren’t able to build fruitful relationships throughout your career, regardless of your industry, then you will find it increasingly difficult to move up the corporate ladder. Here are some proven tips to help you spruce up your conversation skills and rack up some points in the likeability department.
1. Make yourself approachable. Too many colleagues make themselves unavailable or unapproachable in the workplace due to their heavy workload, poor mood, or whatever other reason they can use as an excuse. No one wants to feel as though they’re constantly being a bother or intrusive to someone else, so if you want to be more likeable, then make yourself approachable to others around you. Just be sure to set boundaries with co-workers who like to gossip or chitchat frequently out of boredom. Making yourself more welcoming doesn’t mean that you’re available for unproductive and mindless conversations. Learn more about the five types of co-workers that you never want as friends, here.
2. Remember names. There’s nothing worse than having to refer to someone as, “Hey, you,” because you forgot their name, especially when it’s the tenth time you’ve encountered this person. If you find that memorizing names just isn’t your thing, then consider using some tricks to help you out, like repeating the person’s name immediately after they say it, associating a name with something familiar or memorable, or the old-fashioned write-it-down technique. Thankfully, networking events usually entail exchanging business cards, but even that can leave you guessing who was who after all is said and done. In that case, use the techniques mentioned above and write something on the back of each person’s business card to help you remember them so that you aren’t caught in the awkward situation of playing “guess who” when making a connection later.
3. Be positive. No one likes being around a Negative Nancy or Pessimistic Pete, so ditch the downer attitude for a more pleasant demeanor in and out of the workplace. Bad moods are contagious, especially at work. If you’re constantly in a state of gloom, then you can be sure that you’re attracting all the wrong people to your life and career – and heading nowhere fast. However, being in an upbeat mood isn’t always realistic when dealing with the demands and stress from work, so the next time you feel yourself slipping into a dismal mood, take a step outside and get some fresh air or watch a funny video online to lift your spirits. Changing stimulus or removing yourself from the negative environment can help you refocus and recharge so that you can be that person in the office with a contagious energy that everyone wants to be around.
4. Talk about them, not you. According to a recent Harvard University study, "talking about ourselves — whether in a personal conversation or through social media sites like Facebook and Twitter — triggers the same sensation of pleasure in the brain as food or money," according to TheWeek.com’s article. Therefore, allow others who you’re engaging with to talk about themselves a bit before you butt in with your two cents. Also, try and find a commonality with the other person – a similar passion, hobby, or pastime – in order to make a deeper, more memorable connection during your conversations.
Being more likeable is a great way to enhance your career by making more meaningful connections and building a positive reputation amongst your peers. Be mindful of how you project yourself to others and the interactions you make in your career because you never know when that chance of lifetime will come along to greet you – and you’ll want to make a stellar impression.
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