How easily to do you connect with other people?
Some people are just able to connect with others within just a few seconds of meeting them for the first time, whilst for other people it’s a real challenge when meeting new people.
We all need people to make our life a more joyous one and connecting with people is one of the most inspiring, fulfilling and valuable actions we can do.
Yet we often miss out on great opportunities to create friendships. At the same time, it is actually relatively simple to create a good connection and become more likeable when you meet new people.
There is no rocket science in all of these things.
This is Day 9 of our 28 day relationships adventure in February.
You can read all 28 articles which are listed at the bottom of this article.
Today we’ll look at some simple steps to come across better to other people when you first meet them.
The steps are indeed simple – yet we forget and often end up over analysing.
You simply have to learn and apply these 10 key secrets for becoming likeable to other people when you first meet them:-
The best thing you can do when you meet someone for the first time is simply smile!
This is the number one secret for getting people to like you instantly – and it is free:-)
Try this time next you are in a crowd of strangers. Just smile gently and see what reaction you get back.
You can even go through your whole life wearing a goofy smile all the time – if nothing else, people will wonder what you are smiling about!
2. Remember Their Name
When you first meet someone, ask them their name and then be sure to remember it.
If their name is unusual ask them how it should be correctly pronounced and even ask where it is from.
Be sure to address them by their name early on in the conversation – that will also help you remember it.
To most people, the sound of their own name is the most beautiful sound in the world!
If it helps, write their name down if they haven’t given you their business or personal card.
3. Look People in The Eye
In any conversation, look at the person you are talking to and maintain eye contact as appropriate. This will also help you follow what they are saying.
Clearly you don’t want to spook them out by fixedly staring into their eyes either!
If you can’t get used to the idea of looking people in the eye, then practice looking into your own eyes in front of a mirror. This can be quite a confrontational exercise for some people but it will do wonders for your own self-acceptance.
4. Listen To Them Totally and Completely
The greatest gift you can give a person is your undivided attention. Practise your listening skills by focusing completely on that person and being present.
Give them your 100% attention.
Stop your mind from wandering and focus on what they are saying. Make the other person feel important. Your undivided attention tells the other person that you genuinely value them.
Be genuinely interested in other people.
The emphasis here is on being interested rather than ‘interesting’. Be genuine about this and do not fake it. Focus on what they have to say rather than harping on about yourself and your own grandness!
Just remember the old saying – we all have two ears and one mouth – use them accordingly.
The key is to be completely present for the other person and to truly listen with your heart.
You can also try a secret I learned for making people like you through Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). Through NLP you learn to really listen to what people have to say and find out their values.
If you can talk about what people value such as health or education you can really build a rapport with them and be empathetic. In NLP, everyone has their own model of the world. To build rapport, get into their model and their viewpoint of the world.
Ultimately, it all comes down again to truly listening to what people say – and also don’t say.
And of course, do actually contribute to the conversation! Listening properly doesn’t mean you don’t add any value to the conversation. Make sure your verbal communication is an equal and two way process.
5. Build Empathy and Rapport With Them
As you listen, build empathy and rapport with your new friend.
Focus not on just the words but the nuances of what they are saying. For example, do they sound excited or bored when they talk about their job?
You will also pick up clues and remember what to talk about later in your conversation – they will be impressed with what you have remembered.
By truly empathising with the other person, you will get to understand better their point of view. And people just adore those who are interested in their point of view!
6. Look for Opportunities of Helping Them
As you get to know someone better, look for ways of helping and supporting them perhaps by referring them to a friend who could be interested in their service.
Look for ways of connecting new friends with any existing like minded friends. If you have promised to do something for them, make sure you do so promptly.
You will soon create a reputation as someone who is highly connected, someone who can be trusted and someone who delivers!
One trick I use is to write down in my contacts database, the details of any new person I meet plus a couple of personal details such as what they do and their passions.
I can then easily seek out potential connections for them there and then or sometime in the future. My acquaintances are always surprised as to how much I remember from conversations we had years ago.
Sadly, having now revealed my “secret” they will no longer be surprised 🙂
At the same time, remember that you are “helping” them to help themselves! You empower them and not just become a crutch of support that they can take advantage of.
Remember not to bend over backwards for other people!
7. Don’t Give Them Advice!
Sometime during a conversation with a new friend, you may be tempted to simply butt in and offer a solution.
However before you do so, always seek permission before you offer your input as people don’t like to be seen to be helpless.
Also, your advice should be subtly delivered rather than telling them bluntly what they should do.
Never start blowing your own trumpet!
Of course as your friendship develops you can be more forthcoming with your words of wisdom – but again usually with their permission.
Needless to say, it is important to be respectful of other people’s feelings and opinions. Be tactful as appropriate to the situation.
At the same time, though some people may seek out your advice they just don’t want to change – in that case, let them be and don’t make it your issue.
It all comes down to the type of situation – if you feel your advice will add value to the exchange then offer it.
Look back in your own life and remember a situation when someone has barged in and told you what to do! How did you feel internally about that?
When I first started life coaching, I was on a mission to single-handedly change the world, and began “coaching” every person I met! I soon got their backs up and I must have come across as cocky, arrogant and a “Mr Know-it-all”.
Please make sure you don’t make the same mistake!
8. Be Positive Around Them
Everyone likes to be around someone who is positive, energetic and bubbly, and not someone who is a merchant of doom and gloom.
As I heard someone say once – some people light up the room when they enter it, others light it up when they leave! Which one would you rather be?
At a networking or social event wouldn’t you rather speak to the happy confident looking person or the one who looks miserable?!
Life is too short to go around with a miserable face.
So never dump your stuff on others.
Also, learn to only say good things about others – never gossip about others as it will inevitably come back to you, and affect your friendships. Assume that anyone you are talking about can hear what you are saying about them. And actually at a subconscious level they are.
If people know you as a positive person who doesn’t get involved in gossiping, they will know you can be trusted and you will soon have a reputation as someone with integrity.
Of course we should be our authentic self at all times. And it that means we are feeling down and not so positive, then so be it. I would then suggest that that is not the best time for you to be out there meeting new people!
Get through your phase of being down and do whatever you need to get through that phase quickly. You have a second by second built-in radar, that tells you where you are at – and you can use it to raise your spirits
9. Be Friendly and Open Toward Everyone
It goes without saying that you must be friendly and open to make new friends! Yet so often people go through life closed and not open to new opportunities and friendships.
Knowing that everyone around you is doing the best they can, you can let down your own guard and become more open and even vulnerable.
Show your appreciation and gratitude in every way you can. Say your thanks genuinely and wholeheartedly to your new friends and especially to all those strangers who do so much to make your life convenient and easy, such as shop assistants, the postman and the dustman.
Your new friends will gauge you on how well you treat strangers – so make it a life long habit to be always pleasant and friendly to all strangers who cross your path.
10. Be Authentic and a Person of Integrity At All Times
Do you go through life trying to impress others with your status, fame and achievements? If that is the case, then know that doing so rarely makes people genuinely like you.
From today onwards, give up trying to impress others and especially so when you meet new people. Instead of blowing your own trumpet too loudly, just be authentic.
Who you are will shine through more brightly than any number of accolades or worldly ornaments. Just remember what Gandhi achieved with his simple garb!
Who you are being stands out more brightly and loudly than anything you do or any words you say ever can.
It is important to be your word and be responsible. You can be the most interesting person in the world, the most compassionate and the funniest one but if you are not a person of integrity, then nobody will take you seriously.
By being responsible you show that you care about other people and that you value their time and interests. People will like you once they find out that they can rely on you and that you are responsible for every word you say.
Do what you say you will do – and be your word.
The Way Forward
People will come and go from your life, but their impact and their essence remains with you forever.
It is therefore up to you what you make of their presence in your life – and by applying these 10 secrets of becoming likeable, you will never again be short of true friends:-)
More than anything, recognise that we are all here only for a short time, so let’s use this time to the max and have a great time while we are here!
What are your secrets for becoming likeable?
Please do share your own secrets below in the comments.
Here’s the Daily Exercise for Today:-
The next time today or tomorrow you are in conversation with someone, reflect on just how much listening you are actually doing. Note how your mind is sometimes racing away with your own thoughts.
Slow down your mind and focus more intently on the other person and what they are saying. Notice how your connection becomes deeper straightaway.
And then share below how you found this experience.
28 Day Relationship Adventure
Postscript – Here are the complete 28 articles my relationship series:-
Please do check them all out:-)
1 – Become Aware of Your Relationships
2 – Love Yourself First Before Loving Anyone Else
3 – Love Yourself Without Becoming Full of Yourself
5 – 9 Simple Tips To Create Energising Relationships
6 – Why Decluttering your Friends is Good for You and Them
7 – Stop Bending over Backwards for Other People!
8 – Be Special to Find the Special One
9 – 10 Key Secrets for Becoming Likeable
10 – Don’t Fall in Love – Create Love
11 – Do you Believe in Soulmates?
12 – Open Your Heart and Find the Special One
13 – Create your ideal Valentine’s Day
14 – Make it a Fun Valentine’s Day Everyday!
15 – Make Your Relationship Even More Special
16 – Learn to Love Unconditionally
17 – 11 Keys to Improve ALL Your Relationships
18 – Why the Human Touch is Key
20 – Share Your Love with Your Loved Ones Everyday
21 – Stop Judging, Start Loving
22 – Simple Trick to Instantly Improve All Your Relationships
23 – Why No One Is Ever An Ugly Duckling!
24 – Why World Compassion Begins With You
25 – Why Teamwork Always Begins with YOU
26 – How to Let People Go From Your Life
27 – Thank the Divine Every Day
I appreciate the #7: not to give advice! It is so easy to jump in with a solution, and to overwhelm people with possibilities. This is a tough one for me, as I can often see solutions where they are opaque to the person with whom I am talking. I agree that giving advice often makes us seem pompous. There is a time for everything, and there is a difference between advice and an actual handhold of concrete assistance. Many blessings, Katie
Thanks Katie – and welcome to my blog.
It’s so easy to jump in and give advice. But by telling people what to do, we are depriving them of an opportunity to grow and learn from their situation.
Love and blessings:-)
Arvind, I loved all your tips and especially the “dont give advice” bit…cause I have been known to do that…occupational hazard I think 😉
But am better now…(or so I think!)
Beautifully written article!
Lots of love,
Thanks Zeenat – we clearly suffer from the same occupational hazard!
Love and gratitude
Great list. I agree with number 4, Listen Completely, the most. I’ve found when I’m fully present and give the other person my undivided attention then a real and meaningful connection happens.
Thanks for all of these wonderful reminders today.
Number 4 is actually my favourite from the above list.
It’s amazing how your connection with another person is transformed the moment they get that you are clearly listening to them
Hmm… what happened to just “be yourself”? I think it’s difficult to fake something if you’re not and is not necessarily honest either
Sharon, I am not advocating being yourself!
In fact the more you are being yourself, the more likeable you become.
My tips above are presented in the context of meeting new people at a social or networking event. No way am I advocating being dishonest!
Be yourself and authentic – and apply the above tips to instantly create better connections with people.
Hi Arvind. Lovely post. I definitely agree about smiling as I think a smile instantly puts people at ease and invites them to engage easily with you. I am not sure I fulfil all of the tips mentioned but I remember leaving a job after 17 YEARS. The Secretary General of my department approached me and said to me the day I was leaving ” Fiona, I have never met you one day in 17 years where you had not got a smile. Initially I was tempted to feel a little like the village idiot, but I arrested my thoughts and took it as a compliment. The fact that he was able to approach me, even though he didn’t really know me, confirms that a smile disarms people and sends a message of friendliness. Now my smile is very ordinary, but my teenage daughter has a smile that is extraordinary. I have made her aware of its power and happily she has lots of friends. Greta post Arvind.
Thanks for sharing your story – I cannot imagine you ever not smiling!
Glad the “Fiona smile” has been passed on to the next generation:-)
Keep smiling always, even though I know lately life has been a challenge.
Love your writing!
Thanks Judy – and welcome to my blog.
Wishing you all the best in all your relationships:-)