Do people dislike you? Does the mere sight of your face make people run in the opposite direction or vomit or commit seppuku on the spot? Try keeping chicken nuggets in your pocket and ranch in your wallet. If that doesn’t work, Business Insider rounded up a bunch of advice from experts who are so likable, they made careers out of telling other people how to be likable, which sounds like one of the least likable qualities out there, but stop nitpicking (jeez, no wonder no one likes you).
Maintain eye contact
“Above all else, really focus on what is being said to you — people need to feel that they have been heard, even when you can’t give them what they are asking for or can’t be of particular help,” writes Heidi Grant Halvorson in her bookNo One Understands You And What To Do About It. “One simple way to show you’re paying attention is to make eye contact and hold it.”
A simple smile has the power to show compassion towards another person, encouraging them to return the favor.
“Along with a smile, show some enthusiasm and energy, also known as charisma,” suggests Rosalinda Oropeza Randall, an etiquette and civility expert.
Keep your phone in your pocket
Pay attention. Look at them. Stop what you’re doing. No interruptions.
Give a firm — not aggressive — handshake
Not too hard, certainly not limp and soft, and with no dominance play.
Call people by their name
Former Business Insider Careers editor Jacquelyn Smith has a few key tips on this point:
1. Repeat people’s names numerous times as you speak to them
2. Tell someone else these people’s names, in case you do forget and need a reminder
3. Write names down in your phone with a short description of who they are/how you met them.
Actively listen throughout the conversation
According to Chiasson, there are four steps to actively listen.
1. Listen with no interruptions and with your full attention
2. Paraphrase what you’ve heard and ask clarifying questions
3. Evaluate: make sure you have all the information before jumping to a conclusion or expressing an opinion
4. Give feedback to let them know you listened
Know how to accept a compliment
To convey confidence in accepting a compliment: instead of saying “Thanks, you too,” try “Thanks! Hearing that feels really good” or “Thank you! What an amazing experience.”
Reisinger says a well-timed compliment “grabs people directly by their ego and is therefore extremely effective.”
Don’t overdo it though — you’ll make people feel uncomfortable. Try asking questions that me the person feel intelligent and needed. For example, “You know a lot about social marketing, don’t you?” or “Do you know why I always get this error message?”
If someone is interrupted, ask them to continue
Everyone gets cut off mid-conversation at some point. Show your genuine interest by encouraging them to pick up where they left off. Quora user Milena Rangelov says to ask things like, “Hey, can you please finish your story about the bicycle ride? The last thing you mentioned is that dogs started following you. Can I hear the rest, please?”
Say you’re sorry
Convey empathy by saying you’re sorry for things you had no part in causing. Even if it’s just the weather. Seriously. Researchers at Harvard Business School and Wharton found that people were far more likely to lend someone their cell phone when subjects first said, “I’m so sorry about the rain!”
Skip the small talk
Quora user Pete Zbrojkiewicz recommends skipping over the polite conversation and delving into something that shows your willingness to be vulnerable around them. This is most important when looking to make long-term friendships.
“We may not have experienced the same activities, but we have experienced the same emotions,” he says. “So when I say you need to find common interests, I mean you need to find something that sparks similar emotions in both of you.”
Practice good posture
Bad posture makes you look sad and unapproachable. Simply forcing yourself to sit upright changes your body chemistry to make you more powerful, Halvorson explains.
Be true to your word
“Be sure to take ownership of your own mistakes, avoid deceit at all costs, and be someone your coworkers can always count on to do the right thing. After all, this is ultimately what trust is actually about,” Halvorson says.
Rangelov calls complainers “energetic vampires — because they suck your energy.”
Make everyone feel included
“Make everyone feel like they are a part of the conversation and their attention will be yours,” Reisinger says.
Don’t jump to conclusions
“The problem with making a ‘snap judgment’ is we make them with a ‘low level structure’ in our brain. This implies that little reasoning is employed when we initially attribute character traits to someone,” says Quora user John Roldan.
End the conversation the right way
Randall recommends ending the talk with a pleasant remark like “I enjoyed getting to know you,” “I hope you enjoy the rest of your day,” Or, “I’ll remember our conversation.”