Forget what you learned as a kid. If you treat others how you would like to be treated in return, you’re doing it all wrong. That’s flawed thinking and likeable people know it.
Likeable people rely on their experience of dealing with people from diverse backgrounds and intuitively flip the script. They do not assume that the person standing in front of them wants the same things as they do. Rather, they treat each person as an individual, with unique experiences, tastes, and needs.
By bringing the “Golden Rule” into modern times, likeable people bring out the best in others, allowing their authentic and genuine selves to shine through. Below are six ways that will help you do this too.
Experience has taught likeable people that the strength of their own first impression lies in guiding the conversation in a way that brings out the strong points of others, rather than their own.
The next time you are at an event, instead of asking the standard “So, John, what business are you in?” try asking a question like, “If you were not here tonight, what does your normal Tuesday evening look like?” and see where the conversation takes you.
By asking open-ended questions like this and listening attentively, not only will you begin to identify some common ground from which to build your future conversations, you will also give the person you are speaking with a chance to talk about the things that are important to them. This brings their passion and interests to center stage.
How do you feel when, after meeting someone new, you receive an email the next day saying that it was nice to meet you? Not bad, but unless there is something actionable tied to it, it may go straight into the “when I get a second” folder.
Now, how do you feel if, weeks later, you receive an email that says:
Hello Liam, when we met you mentioned to me that you are working on a new fitness app. As luck would have it, just yesterday I met a guy who just had a successful exit in the same field. Let me know if you want me to connect the two of you as I have already brought your name up and he is eager to speak with you.
Marketing expert, Seth Godin, once wrote, “Just because you have someone’s email address, does not mean that they want to hear from you.” Likeable people understand this and they act, only when they have something valuable to add.
Too often we write off or dismiss someone because of a shallow or hurried assessment. However, likeable people recognize that people are like icebergs; there’s so much potential hidden beneath the surface, and there’s so much more we can learn from them if we are patient.
Author of “Mastery,” Robert Greene´s metaphor for mastering a skill is, “Making your way to the inside.” He believes that as we begin something new, we are on the outside looking in, and it is not until we put in the time, learn the details, and experience the good and the bad, do we begin making our way into the “inside.”
Likeable people treat not only learning new skills like this, but also their relationships, because experience has taught them that the more time they invest with others, the more they will both benefit.
The words, “What have you done for me lately” or “What will you do for me in return” do not exist in the vocabulary of likeable people. Likeable people do good by others simply because they know that doing good by others is the right thing to do.
They not only openly share their knowledge, resources and contacts, but they proactively do so. Nothing brings likeable people more pleasure than helping others to achieve their goals because they remember others doing the same for them. But this comes with a caveat, likeable people may not expect the favor to be returned directly to them, but they do expect the favor to be paid forward to others.
Likeable people like nothing more than establishing common ground to build a relationship upon and they accomplish this by being genuinely interested in the person they are speaking with. But that does not mean they shy away from those who see things differently than they do.
Likeable people are learners and are always down for engaging others in thoughtful disagreements. They do this not only to better understand the reasoning of others, but also to identify things that they may have missed, two key contributing factors to their personal growth.
“Hearing your story today really sparked my curiosity and I would love to continue this conversation at a later date as I know that I have a lot to learn from you.” Human beings are complex creatures no doubt, but deep down many of us just want to feel like our voice is being heard and we feel accepted. Likeable people understand this and make it a point to end each conversation in a way that reinforces that they were listening and that they care.
By approaching each person as an opportunity to learn about what they do not know, instead of telling the world what they do know, likeable people uncover the underlying theme that runs consistent in all likeable people: they make us feel better about ourselves as individuals.