5 Techniques to Increase Your Likeability at Work

Work might not be a popularity contest, but some days, you wouldn’t prove it by the environment in the office. Being more likeable can help you do everything from nab more interesting projects to get that promotion you’ve been longing for. And becoming more likeable might be easier than you think.

Career coach Marty Nemko says that there are a few simple techniques for making yourself more popular at work. His advice is based on marriage researcher John Gottman’s principles of moving away/moving toward behavior. “Moving toward” behaviors bring you closer to the person you’re talking to; “moving away” behaviors increase the distance.

“Gottman says it takes five times as many moving toward as moving away behaviors to keep a relationship positive,” Nemko writes. “That may be a rule of thumb: For every five moving toward statements, you may have built up enough of a reservoir that allows you to make a single moving away statement without paying a heavy price.”

Here are some examples of moving toward behaviors:

1. Asking interested questions, for example, about projects at work.

2. Amplifying an idea that a colleague presents, by applying it to other goals.

3. Finding common ground and commenting on it. (“I like that, too!”)

4. Agreeing.

5. Having positive body language. (Generally, this means an open posture, with arms and legs uncrossed.)

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