My favorite show on television is Shark Tank.
I DVR every episode.
I love watching the ideas entrepreneurs come up with and seeing the Sharks give feedback to the business owners on how they can succeed. I find it fascinating and I’ve learned a lot about life and business from the show.
Barbara Corcoran, Shark Tank celebrity and business mogul said, “If people like you, they’re going to want to do business with you. And if they don’t, you’re going to have an almost insurmountable obstacle to overcome.”
This statement is not only true of business, but in personal relationships as well.
People want to do business and personal relationships with people they like.
This topic is relevant to all of us because we all are in the “people business” in some form or fashion.
At our very core, we are hardwired to want to be liked. We need relationships. If we don’t have them, life becomes a challenge.
It reminds me of Tom Hank’s character in the movie, Castaway. Out of sheer desperation and loneliness, he created a fictitious character named Wilson out of a volleyball, just to have a friend.
We all want to create better relationships and connections with people. Better connections happen when people like us. And when we have something of value to offer, it creates a win-win for everybody involved.
When we get this right, we advance at work faster, create more and better relationships easier and add value to the world around us.
Here are 10 Simple Ways to Become a More Likable Leader:
1) Smile. Experts tell us we have only a few seconds to make a good first impression. A smile is the fastest way to communicate acceptance and welcome. If people know that you accept them, it creates an immediate bridge to connection. Nothing communicates a disconnection faster than a frown. Be aware of what your face is communicating and make sure a smile is one of the first things the other person notices.
2) Be a Good Listener (and put the phone away). In our fast paced world of technology, it’s so easy to get distracted. Our attention spans are getting less and less. Resist the urge to keep checking your phone while your speaking to someone. Better yet, put your phone out of sight. This communicates huge respect. Be a good listener and respond with good questions.
3) Maintain Good Eye Contact. We all have a tendency to want to pay attention to what is going on around us. Unfortunately, consistently looking over the person’s shoulder at the next “shiny object” (“Squirrel!”) is a quick way to disconnect and cause a person to not like you. One tip to help maintain eye contact: Notice and pay attention to the person’s eye color. It will help you to make eye contact easier. A good rule of thumb is to use a 10 to 1 ratio for eye contact. Maintain eye contact for about 10 seconds and break contact for 1 second. That will keep you interested without looking creepy.
4) Focus on the Interests of the Other Person. People love to talk about themselves and what they are interested in. Find out what interests them and you will never run out of things to talk about. Focusing on their interests makes them feel like the most important person in the room.
5) Keep It Positive. No one likes a Debbie Downer. I’m not saying you need to become Pollyanna, but stay away from the complaining. Consistent complaining is a sure fire way to repel another person. Look for the positive and keep a good attitude. Positivity in a negative world will help you to stand out and become contagious. People love connecting with positive people.
6) Use the Person’s Name. A person’s name is the one of the most sweetest sounds to their ears. Use it sparingly in a conversation, but use it. If you are meeting someone for the first time, using their name will also help you to remember their name after you meet them.
7) Lean In. Leaning in slightly while having a conversation is a great tool to use for better connection. It helps the person to know your interested and engaged with what is being said.
8) Watch Your Body Language. In certain situations it’s been said that body language makes up 55% of our communication, tone of voice represents 38% and actual words spoken represent only 7%. While those percentages vary based on context, our body language is extremely important in how we connect and communicate with others. Our body language can communicate disinterest (folded arms, slouching, looking away) or interest (positive facial expressions, nodding head, etc.) Use it well and you will become more likable.
9) Have Variety in Your Voice. As mentioned above, tone of voice can make up a large part of our communication. If you’ve ever listened to someone who speaks in a quiet, mumbling, monotone voice, you know it’s very difficult to stay interested. Use some variety and appropriate volume in your voice and you will have an easier time commanding attention. Your voice is like an instrument. It can be played very well or not so well. No one likes to hear the same note played over and over. Slight variety peaks interest.
10) Stay Connected. To set yourself up from the crowd and create lasting value, stay connected with your relationships you develop. I heard of one business executive that writes 5 hand written notes every morning. Who wouldn’t like someone that shows that kind of value to them? Social media, text messages and phone calls also are an easy way to create a quick connection that shows the other person you care and think they are important.
These aren’t the only ways to become a more likable leader, but put these in practice and I guarantee you will create more value for others and for yourself.
Go be likable this week.