7 Ways to Increase Your Likeability

I recently had a university graduate going for an interview with a large bank and the interview was over Skype. Even though he was in my office, we did the practice on Skype and I was in the next room to see what the experience would be like for the panel chair.

My experience of him in person was different to that of him on Skype. He came across as warmer and friendlier in person but that part of his personality was lost quickly online. So we had to really amplify those character traits to show that he was likable.

We know that in a recruitment context, a candidate can be extended the offer more than 50% of the time if the recruiter likes the person. According to the Wall Street Journal, a study of 133 managers by the University of Massachusetts found that if an auditor is likable and gives a well-organised argument, managers will tend to comply with his suggestions, even if they disagree and the auditor lacks supporting evidence.

So can likeability be taught? I believe it can. I spent over 15 years teaching rapport building and connection in the retail industry. Every time I went into a situation where sales needed to be lifted, I focussed less on the dollars and more on the staff and how they connected with people. As a result, in one store the turnover doubled in 12 months.

So the 7 steps I reckon make the biggest difference to your “in-person” likeability are:

1.Read people: Watch all the non-verbal cues and body language. Look for micro expressions and their eye contact. I was in a hurry to catch a flight to a conference last week and my shoe broke on my way to the check-in counter. I ran to one of the stores in the airport frantically looking for a new pair of shoes to replace them. I was quickly scanning the shoe section, trying on styles and looking for something that would fit me to get me to the conference. My flight was boarding in five minutes! The sales assistant casually came up and asked me if I was happy browsing. Now, maybe they had other things on their mind but clearly, I wasn’t there because I had nothing to do. This was serious shoe shopping! They didn’t read my body language and pace to realise that I was in desperate need of help to solve my issue. I had to say “no, I’m not just browsing, I need help!”. If you can read people you can anticipate their needs which leads to asking the right question. A better question to ask would be “You look like you’re in a hurry trying to find something, let me help you.”

2. Asking questions: Everyone loves to talk about themselves. Each person is their own favourite subject and everything you say they will relate their own experience to it and tell you what that means for them. The way to shortcut this process is to just go straight to asking questions about how they are, their weekend, how their last meeting went, how their project is going, how their kids are, is the dog back from the vet? The likelihood of someone taking too much interest in them that day is quite low so it’s easy to connect by helping them feel as important and as special as they are. Ideally, a conversation flows 30 seconds to one person and 30 seconds to other. Keep an eye on how long you’re speaking for and if it’s too long or too short to connect.

3. Knowing what the person might be thinking: This shows empathy and that you understand the person’s world. The more you can connect with what they’re not saying, the more you’ll remove the barrier between them and you. They will like you because you understand their pain or challenge.
4. Give compliments: People are absorbed in their world of daily problems of dealing with kids, colleagues, issues and things that need to be fixed. They’re often in overwhelm and stress. A simple compliment like mentioning their hair, an item of clothing or if they have nice shoes, saying they have really nice shoes. It’s important to be sincere and show that you noticed. Don’t say they look nice if they look terrible, that’s just being inauthentic. People love compliments. It was Maya Angelou who said, “people will forget what you said but they will remember how you made them feel”.
5. Appropriate touch: This one you really need to be able to read people well. I’m a natural toucher and by that I mean I often hug my clients, when I work with them and that’s my style, but I know when I need to keep my distance. If you can read people well, a gentle touch on their sleeve can make them connect quickly with you. For example, when I coach people and they have wins I will always shake their hand. It changes the energy and the personalisation of the experience amplifies.
6. Friendliness: Smile. I know this seems so simple. Did you know your smile can be a predictor of how long you’ll live? Regardless of what country you live in or language you speak a smile cuts through everything and is contagious. If you wrote down how many times you smile in a day how many would there be?
7. Eye Contact: Direct eye contact builds trust quickly. By looking down or away makes the person feel like you’re not interested in what they have to say. When they speak look them in the eye. By maintaining eye contact when you speak will help keep them engaged and more likely to hear what you said.

7 Crucial Elements to Building an Effective Personal Brand

How to Gain More Income, Influence and Impact Through Building a Personal Brand

It used to be that if you had a logo and a website you had a business brand. But today’s consumers demand a lot more. Branding for them is about the experience of being with you, the owner of that business.

Today businesses have to look a lot deeper when it comes to creating a personal brand that is in harmony with their business brand.

When you have a strong personal brand, you become a mini-celebrity in your field. With that strong brand comes clout and credibility. People look up to you.

When people think of your industry, you’ll be the first one to come to mind. It also gives your offerings a higher perceived value – suddenly you can charge what you are worth to clients who are happy to pay.

If you want to build a dynamic and effective personal brand that will help grow your business but don’t know where to start, let’s break it down…

7 Key Elements of a Personal Brand that is Infused with Your Business Brand

1) Embracing Consistency

When prospects know what to expect of you it creates a feeling of familiarity and trust. That’s why consistency of everything you do and how you present yourself is so important.

But many business owners go willy-nilly with their brand, not paying attention to colours, fonts, graphics or style of messaging that all makes up a personal and business brand. This can be confusing for your audience. Your brand should be developed with consistency and standards that reflect well on how you want your business to be perceived.

For instance, take colours – one way to be consistent with your business brand on a personal level is to wear similar colours to your visual brand. For many years, Mari Smith wore her signature turquoise blue wherever she went, which was a match to her business brand. She has since changed this strategy, but it was very effective in her brand positioning while she was building her leadership presence.

Dana J. Smithers, one of our long-time clients is another one who fully embraces her brand messaging by consistently wearing only her business brand colours: Black, red and white. (Stay tuned for an upcoming eTip where I interview her on this subject.)

Consistency is king when it comes to branding. Aside from your personal appearance, other things you do also affect your personal brand. For instance, if you say you provide a weekly newsletter, you need to honour that commitment and make sure a newsletter goes out every week. If you post twice a day on Facebook, keep up that frequency.

That kind of consistency will win over the trust of your followers, which will make them more likely to make a purchase when they are in need of your product or services.

2) Forming a Compelling Story

Your story is the single biggest differentiator for your business. Make your story be a part of your personal brand.

Hundreds of people may sell what you have, but you are the only one who is exactly like you.

Your followers yearn to know who you are, how you got to where you are at and why you love what you do. Think of it as your Cinderella rags to riches story. It allows people to see how you came from no-where, learned the lesson, and came out on top.

Connecting to your story gives followers that feel good, heart-to-heart connection with you. Once you craft your story you can add it on your about page, your bio, in presentations, your book, and more!

3) Owning Authenticity

When you share from your heart you inspire and connect with people on a deeper level.

Share the real you. Let them see your values. Talk about what you stand for. Give them a peek behind the scenes so they feel included.

4) Being Visible and Accessible

Out of sight means out of mind. There are many ways you can showcase your personal brand by becoming more visible in front of your target market. Here’s just a few ideas:

– Have a great, professional headshot.

– Post photos of you in action at work.

– Leave your office and go to networking meetings.

– Get featured in the media.

– Be a podcast or telesummit guest.

– Show photos of events you attend and the people you meet on Social Media.

– Hold webinars and Facebook Live Q&A sessions with your followers.

– Follow up and nurture your network through newsletters so you are unforgettable.

5) Creating a Value Proposition

This is such an important brand element but sadly most businesses do not have a clear value proposition statement.

A value proposition is a clear declaration that explains who you serve, how you serve them, and why your solution is better.

A good one is clear, specific and easily understood. When you can articulate this in a compelling way, it’s a powerful client attraction tool.

6) Defining a Focused Ideal Client

Many businesses aren’t clear about their ideal customer. They cast their net too wide when it comes to customers.

Once you clearly identify who is in your tribe, it not only supercharges your marketing messages but also helps you better understand how to present yourself in front of them in order to win them over.

7) Showcasing Your Expertise

Personal branding also means being the best and most knowledgeable at what you do. Don’t just be a follower of other top experts, instead lead the industry with your perspectives, findings and views.

Create studies to publish new results. Develop your own signature system. Craft terms that become the coined phrase for the industry.

The more you differentiate yourself from others in your industry the more you will become the go-to expert people will be drawn to.