“Man is by nature a social animal” – Aristotle
It is obvious that in this world many people feed off the satisfaction of being liked or praised. These actions feed one’s vanity or ego — creating a sense of confidence. Though being liked is directly beneficial for the recipient. As a consequence, it allows strangers to deem you a more approachable individual because society views you tolerable and receptive. One of my partners, Claudio Fuentes, highlighted the troubles of conducting business alone in his article The Solopreneur’s Dilemma. In business, your network is your net worth. In this article, I will attempt to dissect the importance of likability by comparing parallels in two books: The Charisma Myth and How to Win Friends and Influence People.
In The Charisma Myth by Olivia Fox Cobane, the author compares likability to being charismatic. The ability to be charismatic is composed of three traits: presence, power, and warmth.
Presence: For example: you are having an engaging conversation with Person A and Person B. Person A is confident, looking you in your eyes, actively listening and asking questions, and genuinely wants to hear more. Person B is passively-listening, waiting for his or her turn to talk, and texting simultaneously. The power of presence is the difference between whom makes you feel more important — be Person A.
Power: Naturally, people are turned off by individuals whom display insecurity, self-doubt, and approval-seeking behavior. People are drawn to confidence and individuals whom are comfortable with who they are, declare their space, and are not afraid to verbalize their opinion. Influence is a display of doing what people are afraid to do.
Reversal: Too much display of power can lead one to believe you are arrogant or cold. It is important to notice the line between confidence, and arrogance in practice.
Warmth: Making someone feel important is displayed with warmth. It’s by being gratuitous and making one feel appreciated. Many people judge people by how they look. Look beneath the surface and genuinely notice the good qualities they possess.
Reversal: Too much warmth, and you may be considered a needy individual. For example: If a man meets a girl for the first time and excessively compliments her, she will be turned off because the man is too easy or too warm. Understand the balance between warm, and cold.
It’s important to hone these tactics observed because they can be of great utility to the individual whom is conscious of how they move in the world. These previous can be understood from a macro-view, but looking under a microscope, specific methods for attaining likability can be expressed as well.
In the book How to Win Friends and Influence by Dale Carnegie, the author outlines specific actions an individual should take in order for society to admire and listen to him or her. This book lists many methods to persuade others — the aim is to promote the several main points. In order for one to be deemed likable, persuasive, and influential, one must:
- Avoid criticizing, or complaining: Anybody can criticize, and complain. It takes character, and self-control to be understanding. When someone is not meeting your expectations, acknowledge instead of condemn. Acknowledge what works first, then highlight the points needed to be worked on. This saves resentment, and encourages improvement.
- Praise others’ achievements: “Be lavish with praise but only in a genuine way,” Carnegie advised. This points to warmth and presence. People crave appreciation, and sincerity. Put simply, people feel good when you genuinely acknowledge something they have worked diligently on.
- Smile: A smile is captivating, vibrant, and contagious. It lets people know you are enjoying life, and people want to be around others who are enjoying life. A smile will get you in doors.
- Be empathetic: The ability to understand another person’s point of view and see things from their angle is greatly underestimated. Understand, and talk about what they want, then show them how to get it — this is influence.
- Remember names: I have trouble with this myself. This is the sweetest, and most important sound in any language. Understand that.
- Agree first: Focus on things you agree upon in a conversation. It is important to find commonalities with one another in order to move forward. In business and personal life, emphasize you both want the same thing, and the difference is methodology.
- Encourage others talk about themselves: Listening closely to someone is the highest compliment. In this attention-based economy, one shows they are listening by asking acute questions.
- Respect Everyone: Never say “you’re wrong.” People struggle to be vulnerable in the first place. By accepting others views, a mutual respect for each other will be established.
For the reader, I hope you understand the importance of inheriting these traits. Making use of these abilities is not limited to being advantageous to you, but for the people you are communicating with as well. What I want to emphasize is that there is a fine line between manipulation and influence. I’m not in control of your morality, but be genuine. If people feel taken advantage of, they will exploit you and your positive reputation will cease to exist.