Do you sometimes wish that people would instantly like you, flock to you, and even be attracted to you? Of course you do, as it's only human nature that we want to be liked. Instant and powerful likability also happens to serve valuable functions, whether in the workplace, in relationships with friends and loved ones, or while trying to communicate an important message.
Thankfully, there is a science to communication, spanning the spectrum from nonverbals to linguistics and more, so we have proven strategies that will help you instantly gain likeability, wherever and however you choose to use them.
However, it’s important to note that we don’t have much time to make a first impression or establish an attraction when we first meet someone. How long do we have? Most people may estimate that we have about 30 seconds to make a powerful impression and form a connection upon meeting someone, but science reveals that we have far, far less.
In fact, research by Rutgers University anthropologist Helen Fisher shows that humans know within ONE SECOND whether they find someone physically attractive or not! In non-dating situations, we have a little bit longer to make a positive first impression, but probably only 6 seconds or less according to researcher Nalini Ambady of Tufts University.
With that in mind, here are the first seven of our 15 communication hacks that will instantly get people to like you. We’ll cover the remaining eight in part two of this blog coming soon!
- DON’T smile right away
When you first meet someone, don't flash an immediate smile, and don’t enter a room or encounter already with a full smile. If you do so, it appears to the other person that you already have that smile, and so they are not special.
Instead, pause and look at the person’s face for a brief moment, and THEN flash your big, warm smile. By smiling AFTER you see them and register their face, your smile will always appear sincere, and people will know that you’re lighting up specifically for them, not just because you happen to be in a good mood, leaving them with a strong positive impression and emotions.
- Make eye contact for 60% of a conversation
Maintaining eye contact with the person you’re speaking with is key to engaging them and forming a connection, but how much is too much? After all, you don’t want to blankly stare at their eyes, which is a surefire way to weird them out and make yourself highly avoidable! Instead, maintain a balance by making straightforward eye contact about 60% of the time, and you'll be perceived as interested, friendly, and trustworthy. Another interesting note: focus not on both of their eyes at once (that will leave you a little cross-eyed!) but on one, which will feel (and appear) more natural.
- Everyone loves to hear their own name
No matter who you are or where you’re from, chances are you respond positively to hearing your own name, a trait that’s hard-wired in humans. So whether you’re meeting someone for the first time or just trying to woo them, repeat their name a few times organically in conversation.
No one wants to talk with a robot, so remember to use your hands, arms, and other body movements to accentuate and complement your speech. It will help you appear as a much for dynamic, enthusiastic, and energized speaker – and someone they want to be around!
- People’s feet don’t lie
Is someone genuinely interested in you and what you have to say, or just going through the motions and being polite until they can get away. There’s a great trick to be able to tell, and it has nothing to do with reading facial expressions, voice, or other body language. Instead, look at their feet. If they’re pointed in your direction, the person is interested and really listening to you. However, if their feet are pointed away, they’re not engaged at all and can’t wait to get out the door.
- Make a joke at your expense
There’s no better way to instantly break the ice and relieve the tension in any first-meet situation than making a self-deprecating joke or comment. Doing so not only subtly give others permission to loosen up and be themselves without worrying about impressing or trying to act perfect, but also will automatically communicate that you are confident, genuine, funny, and trustworthy – all the most important traits of likeability. Just make sure it’s impromptu and appropriate!
- When interacting with a group, find the leader and connect with him or her
Group dynamics ("triads" or more people) have complex and interesting rules among human beings. But that also works in your favor since you can win over the whole group by identifying and then connecting with the leader, or "alpha" in a pack of animals.
How can you tell who the leader is? Just observe whom everyone makes eye contact with when someone speaks, as they subconsciously look for affirmation or approval. Once you register that information, square up your body and make direct eye contact with them when speaking, and aim your praise, questions, and charms in their direction. By winning them over, the rest of the group will instantly follow!
We’ll cover the remaining eight in part two of this blog coming soon!