How to be more likeable
If you’re meeting someone for the first time, you want to make a great first impression. But besides the obvious (smile, be polite, maintain eye contact and dress well), is there something you can do to be more likeable? Yes – Create a level of trust. Help them get comfortable with you. How? Use a story connection i.e. find common ground.
Your story connection does not have to be dramatic or serious – maybe you both love basketball, or you’ve visited her hometown before.
If you have the privilege of scheduling a meeting in advance, there’s nothing wrong with researching who you’ll be meeting in advance. For all you know, they already Googled you. Don’t hesitate to look them up to research them. Go on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, to see what information this person has freely shared about him or herself. Because we humans are just a tribal bunch, you’ll see a legitimate common ground you can use.
If your meeting is spontaneous – like when you meet someone at an event, you can talk about obvious commonalities -something hilarious the keynote speaker said, or something obvious you can quickly compliment (creating positive vibes is an important element of story connection). Yo can also steer the conversation to identify shared interests. Before you dismiss this as ‘small talk’, better believe it is your best bet to making a great first impression. Offer information about yourself in a short story, because you see, self-disclosure is reciprocal as long as it’s appropriate and within context. People will tell you about themselves if you share something they can relate with. The sweet spot where that happens is called ‘common ground’. Nothing builds rapport quicker.
This explains why strangers meet at a newspaper stand and form a camp. They bond over commonalities – political views, religious ties, and maybe something even as inconsequential as marrying from the same ‘place’.
‘Like attracts like’ is not just an idiom. It reflects in how we choose our friends, who we do business with and even who we fall in love with. The more things we have in common, the more I like you and vice versa. It’s as simple as that. When I find someone who seems to have walked the same path as mine, I feel more at ease and relax because it’s familiar terrain. If we have gone through similar type of hardship, I tend to think you’ll understand me more.
The more people can connect with your story, the more people are attracted to you. If I think you are somehow like me, I like you and possibly, even trust you more than someone whose ways are totally different from mine.
I’m even starting to wonder if ‘opposites attract’ has a place in human behavior. Beyond professional purposes, maybe if we seek out more ways to connect with people and start by finding common ground, all our relationships would be better for it. What do you think?