4 Habits of Remarkably Likeable People

From Yahoo Small Business Advisor

When you meet someone, after, "What do you do?" you're out of things to say. You suck at small talk, and those first five minutes are tough because you're a little shy and a little insecure.

But you want to make a good impression. You want people to genuinely like you.

Here's how remarkably likeable people do it:

They whip out their social jiu-jitsu.

You meet someone. You talk for 15 minutes. You walk away thinking, "Wow, we just had a great conversation. She is awesome."

Then, when you think about it later, you realize you didn't learn a thing about the other person.

Remarkably likeable people are masters at Social Jiu-Jitsu, the ancient art of getting you to talk about yourself without you ever knowing it happened. SJJ masters are fascinated by every step you took in creating a particularly clever pivot table, by every decision you made when you transformed a 200-slide PowerPoint into a TED Talk-worthy presentation, if you do say so yourself...

SJJ masters use their interest, their politeness, and their social graces to cast an immediate spell on you.

And you like them for it.

Social jiu-jitsu is easy. Just ask the right questions. Stay open-ended and allow room for description and introspection. Ask how, or why, or who.

As soon as you learn a little about someone, ask how they did it. Or why they did it. Or what they liked about it, or what they learned from it, or what you should do if you're in a similar situation.

No one gets too much recognition. Asking the right questions implicitly shows you respect another person's opinion--and, by extension, the person.

We all like people who respect us, if only because it shows they display great judgment.

(Kidding. Sort of.)

They whip out something genuine.

Everyone is better than you at something. (Yes, that's true even for you.) Let them be better than you.

Too many people when they first meet engage in some form of penis-measuring contest. Crude reference but one that instantly calls to mind a time you saw two alpha male master-of-the business-universe types whip out their figurative rulers. (Not literally, of course. I hope you haven't seen that.)

Don't try to win the "getting to know someone" competition. Try to lose. Be complimentary. Be impressed. Admit a failing or a weakness.

You don't have to disclose your darkest secrets. If the other person says, "We just purchased a larger facility," say, "That's awesome. I have to admit I'm jealous. We've wanted to move for a couple years but haven't been able to put together the financing. How did you pull it off?"

Don't be afraid to show a little vulnerability. People may be (momentarily) impressed by the artificial, but people sincerely like the genuine.

Be the real you. People will like the real you.

They ask for nothing.

You know the moment: You're having a great conversation, you're finding things in common... and then bam! Someone plays the networking card.

And everything about your interaction changes.

Put away the hard-charging, goal-oriented, always-on kinda persona. If you have to ask for something, find a way to help the other person, then ask if you can.

Remarkably likeable people focus on what they can do for you--not for themselves.

They "close" genuinely.

"Nice to meet you," you say, nodding once as you part. That's the standard move, one that is instantly forgettable.

Instead go back to the beginning. Shake hands again. Use your free hand to gently touch the other person's forearm or shoulder. Say, "I am really glad I met you." Or say, "You know, I really enjoyed talking with you." Smile: Not that insincere salesperson smile that goes with, "Have a nice day!" but a genuine, appreciative smile.

Making a great first impression is important, but so is making a great last impression.

And they accept it isn't easy.

All this sounds simple, right? It is. But it's not easy, especially if you're shy. The standard, power pose, "Hello, how are you, good to meet you, good seeing you," shuffle feels a lot safer.

But it won't make people like you.

So accept it's hard. Accept that being a little more deferential, a little more genuine, a little more complimentary and a little more vulnerable means putting yourself out there. Accept that at first it will feel risky.

But don't worry: When you help people feel a little better about themselves--which is reason enough--they'll like you for it.

And you'll like yourself a little more, too.

Comment Stream