As we discussed several weeks ago, likeability is as (if not more) important than expertise and knowledge. Now you need to know what impacts likeability. Still to come, we will get to what you can do to improve your likeability level.
Here are a few of the factors associated with likeability:
- Physical Attractiveness – You are attracted to others according to their physical features. While everyone has a different barometer for what they find attractive, popular culture overwhelms us with ideas of how one should look. When you walk into a room for a meeting, what do you notice first about those you are meeting with? If you are being honest, you’ll admit you were likely paying attention to how they look and what they are wearing rather than the dialogue exchanged. These nonverbal artifacts are the cornerstones of the first meeting and the judgment you make about an individual, what you say comes much later. You have the most control over physical characteristics, which may be why you are held to a higher standard.
- Similarity – People are drawn to others who are “like you,” which is why the similarity factor is one of the most dominant factors of likeability. Being likeable means establishing camaraderie with the other party by asking questions or seeking additional information about them. Physical perfection can have its drawbacks for promoting likeability. If someone is threatened by your physicality, it may prevent further discussion or establishing a relationship. Similar experiences can help promote forming a bond to those around you. Truly likeable people expend additional energy to ensure they find a common element.
The concept of mirroring also comes into play when we talk about similarity. You may not have a great deal in common with your audience, but through mirroring, you can bridge the gap between you and them. During the campaign, Obama was masterful at mirroring his nonverbal and verbal behaviors to his audience. Whether matching speech patterns to southern residents during a speech in Alabama or crossing his legs like the ladies of The View, Obama’s behavior allows audiences to feel more “at home” and differences dissipate.
- Complimenting – Take the time to notice someone’s extra effort and your acknowledgement will go a long way toward making yourself more likeable. If your boss recognizes your work, don’t you find him/her more likeable? While flattery won’t necessarily get you everywhere, it will get you on the road to being more likeable.
- Cooperation – This seems like common sense to me. If you enjoy the company of those you like. Compatibility is the key here. By working together and focusing on creating a more team-oriented atmosphere, those around you will find you more likeable and you will often see better results. Without cooperation, nothing gets accomplished – team projects stall, disagreements occur and resentment builds.
Do you agree with these factors? Which do you think is most important? Stay tuned for what you can do to make yourself more likeable.