Whether we care to admit it or not, we all want to be liked. It doesn’t matter if you’re the attention-hogging type or the cool-nonchalant -- we all want to be admired. Being liked obviously has its advantages. You get invited to parties, you ace the interview for that job you wanted, you get that much needed business connection, the benefits are limitless. No man is an island. We need people. So why wouldn’t you try to get them on your team?
Growing up, I was always fascinated with how people think and what influenced their behavior. I read tons of books that any normal teenager would probably shy away from, such as How To Win Friends and Influence People, The Definitive Book of Body Language, and my personal favorite, The 48 Laws of Power. After some time the lessons I had learned from these great books wove their way into my consciousness and certain strategies became second nature. I found that I could win people over in a matter of minutes regardless of the scenario. I’m no psychologist, nor do I ooze charisma, but I can attest that the strategies I’ll be sharing actually work.
In my experience, all you need is 15 minutes (or less) to make a killer first impression, build relationships, and subliminally exert your influence upon another person. Here are eight strategies you absolutely must use:
Mirror Their Actions
Mirroring is defined as subconsciously imitating the gesture, speech pattern, or attitude of another. Couples are notorious for mirroring. Haven’t you ever wondered by some couples appear to look or even sound alike? We tend to mirror people we admire. The thing is, mirroring doesn’t need to be a unconscious action. Mirroring someones body language sends subliminal messages of like-mindedness which subsequently builds trust. It says ‘Look at me; I’m just like you!’. Do you think a person who speaks slowly and in a monotone voice wants to build a connection with someone who has a high pitched motor mouth going a mile a minute? Not likely.
Ask Them Questions (about themselves)
Deep down, we’re all basically narcissistic. Getting people to like you requires catering to that bit of self-centeredness that lies within the other person. You don’t however want to be too invasive and turn them off. In my experience, asking then pseudo personal questions and expanding on the information they provide always works: How was your day? Oh really, how’s that working out? What do you like about...? and so on.
Be Positively Pleasant
Make a great first impression by showing the lightness of your personality. This should go without saying, but if you’re naturally a downer, you may not realize that you’re pushing others away with your negativity. Always greet someone with a smile. In most cases, we like people who are happy to see us. Smiling communicates joy, and everyone wants to be around a happy person.
Don’t forget to speak positively. Even if the object of your connection shares some negative information or is downer themselves, show empathy and communicate your understanding and offer (if possible) a positive perspective. By establishing an aura of positivity, the object of your connection will always have that impression of you in mind and will leave the conversation a bit lighter after having spoken with you.
Say Their Name (a couple of times)
Dale Carnegie said that a person’s name is the sweetest sound in any language for that person. As I mentioned, we’re all basically narcissistic. So what would be any sweeter sound than hearing their own name? I believe that by saying the other person’s name two to three times in any conversation is good - at the start of the conversation, during the conversation when you’re asking them questions, and at the end when you’re saying your good-byes.
Have you ever been in a situation where someone you don’t remember meeting greets you by name? Feels good, right? You may feel bad temporarily because you forgot who they were, but then you’ll feel great that you’re so significant that they actually remembered you. So make it a point of duty to remember a person’s name. A good way of doing that is to say it a couple of times when you first meet them.
Give A Firm Hand Shake (if possible)
Handshakes matter. Have you ever received a sloppy or soft handshake? Gross, right? Didn’t it give you a less than favorable impression of the person? Yeah...work on giving a solid handshake. Click here for some tips on getting it right.
Exude Confidence (but show some vulnerability)
Seems somewhat like an oxymoron but there’s a fine line between being overconfidence and being a wimp. Always try to maintain that air of confidence but share with your counterpart instances where you were less than 100%. It shows that you’re self-aware and are not too proud to show your vulnerable side. We all have something we’re a little insecure about. I remember once being in a job interview and they asked how I was feeling and I said “I’m well thank you. Happy to be here, but I admit I’m a bit nervous!”. Selectively sharing an intimate detail often works in your favor (I got the job by the way).
When someone shows their vulnerability off the bat it lowers the guard of the other person a bit as they can feel your sincerity, which they’ll appreciate. If you have some inhibitions about opening up, Vulnerability Researcher, Brené Brown speaks about The Power of Vulnerability that offers some insights that may change your perspective.
Make Eye Contact
Making eye contact makes people feel like you’re tuned into what their saying as sign of respect. The eyes are the window to the soul. By making eye contact you can safely judge whether or not the other person is receptive to what you’re saying. Too much eye contact can appear rude or awkward, so click here for some tips.
Don’t Judge The Object of Your Connection
We all judge. It’s an innate defense mechanism. Whether that makes it right is a whole other story. In any case, in the goal of getting people to like you communicating empathy is a biggie. Empathy doesn’t mean that you necessarily agree with someones perspective. It just means that you’re putting yourself in the other person’s shoes and highlighting your capacity of understanding. To do this you actually have to listen to them. Try to be as non-committed as possible in your responses if you don’t actually agree with them. You’re not friends with this person yet. You don’t need to share in detail what you don’t like about their thoughts as it will be a slight to their ego. You also have to always be aware that it’s not just what you say, but what your body language communicates. Be cognizant that raising an eyebrow to an alarming piece of information then acting like you’re not phased afterward is noticeable. No one likes to be judged. If you need some help figuring out how to do this, click here.
I believe that you can establish a connection with almost anyone. Use these tips to build relationships. Using for any other reason would be an attempt at sheer manipulation. It’s all about meeting the other person on their level whilst being the best you. After all, establishing a connection takes empathy and a high level emotional intelligence on your part. Making a connection with anything less happens simply by accident. The key to influencing people is getting them to like you first. What happens after that is entirely up to you.