We all have a natural inclination to care about how others perceive us and desire to be liked, irrespective of what a rebellious 15-year-old might assert. The fundamentals of earning people’s favour are straightforward: being kind, considerate, and decent. These principles are undeniably true. Nevertheless, you can take numerous subtle and discreet actions to significantly impact how others view you.

Most of these tips are small techniques you can incorporate into your daily interactions. While they may appear inconsequential or even whimsical, experimenting with them could substantially boost your popularity.

1. Personalize Conversations: Let’s face it—we’re all somewhat narcissistic and enjoy hearing our names. Please make an effort to learn people’s names and use them regularly. Employing an individual’s name in conversation, a classic technique from Dale Carnegie’s renowned book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” can undoubtedly expand your fan base.

2. Authentic Smiles: Despite the increasing prevalence of technology in our lives, we remain inherently social creatures. Human interaction is a primary means of communication and feedback. When someone offers a genuine, heartfelt smile, it can spread happiness to others. Numerous studies have highlighted how positive and negative moods can be contagious. If your positive attitude brightens someone else’s day, they will likely hold you in high regard.

3. Effective Listening: It’s common sense that people tend to like those who listen to them. Effective listening involves not only refraining from checking your Twitter feed during dinner with friends but also employing body language (such as facing someone and mirroring their posture), maintaining eye contact, and providing verbal confirmation (which we’ll delve into shortly).

4. Active Listening: Often referred to as “active listening” in psychology literature, this technique involves demonstrating your attentiveness by repeating portions of what someone has said. For example:

  • Mark: “I attended an amazing beer-tasting event over the weekend. I got to try various fantastic local beers from across the state.”
  • You: “So, you had the chance to sample various beers?”
  • Mark: “Yes, it was really enjoyable. My favourite was the Pretty Things Magnifico.”
  • You: “The Magnifico was your favourite?”
  • Mark: “Yeah, it tasted fantastic.”

While this type of dialogue may seem unusual in written form, in conversation, it can greatly enhance people’s perceptions of you. It conveys that you are paying attention and reinforces their sense of importance.

5. Remember Conversations: Demonstrating that you remember past discussions is crucial. Did your coworker mention working on a science fair project with their child last week? Follow up and inquire about the outcome. Did your friend mention painting her kitchen a new colour over the weekend? Ask her how she likes it on Monday. These small gestures indicate that you genuinely care about even the minor aspects of someone’s life.

6. Genuine Compliments and Generous Praise: People crave authentic appreciation, as emphasized by self-improvement expert Dale Carnegie. This differs significantly from empty flattery, which most people can easily detect. Offering sincere recognition for someone’s efforts and being generous with your praise can go a long way. When someone does something well, acknowledge it; they’ll appreciate your positive feedback.

7. Constructive Criticism: While providing constructive feedback when necessary is essential, it should be delivered with tact and sensitivity. Avoid calling out someone’s mistakes publicly; offer criticism discreetly and delicately. Consider employing the “compliment sandwich” technique, which involves praising, addressing the issue, and praising again. For example:

  • “That newsletter template you sent looks great; well done. However, I noticed some numerical errors in your recent report. Please double-check those numbers. On a positive note, your posts on Facebook have been fantastic, and engagement has seen a significant boost.”
  • The goal is to have the other person acknowledge the mistake without feeling singled out or defensive.

8. Ask, Don’t Order: Nobody enjoys being bossed around. When you need something done, asking a question rather than issuing a directive can yield the same result while preserving the individual’s feelings and attitude. For instance:

  • Instead of saying, “Jim, I need those reports by tonight. Get them to me ASAP,” you could say, “Jim, do you think you could send those reports by this afternoon? It would be a huge help.”

9. Authenticity over Pretense: People appreciate authenticity and character. While conventional wisdom may emphasize an alpha male posture, it’s important not to appear insincere. Aim to be confident yet respectful, and consider subtle gestures like stepping forward slightly when introduced to convey respect.

10. Masterful Storytelling: People are drawn to compelling stories, and being a skilled storyteller can set you apart. Storytelling is an art that requires an understanding of language and pacing. If you become proficient in the oral storytelling tradition, you’ll attract others like a magnet.

11. Appropriate Physical Touch: Use caution with physical touch. Subtle touches, such as gently placing your left hand on someone’s forearm while shaking your right hand, can create a sense of connection. However, it’s essential to gauge the other person’s comfort level and proceed accordingly.

12. Seek Advice: Asking for someone’s advice is an effective way to make them feel valued and important. Elevating their self-esteem makes them more likely to develop a liking for you.

13. Avoid Clichés: Uniqueness and individuality are often more appealing than conformity. In job interviews, avoid clichéd phrases and opt for more memorable expressions that reflect your genuine personality.

14. Ask Questions: People enjoy talking about themselves. You can leave a positive impression by asking questions about others’ lives, interests, and passions. Engaging in conversations that allow individuals to discuss themselves can make them view you more favourably, even subconsciously.

Incorporating these techniques into your interactions can enhance your likability and strengthen your connections with others.