Four Simple Things You Can Do To Get People To Like You

You like me, you really like me.” – Sally Field, 1984 Oscar Speech

Quickly, and before you even think about it, what was your first reaction after you read the above quote?

If you are like most people who at the time witnessed Sally Field’s acceptance speech live on television, your reaction may have ranged from dismissive contempt to derision. If you are unfamiliar with the above quote, type Sally Field you like me into Google, and you will see that it is considered to be one of the most 10 bizarre Oscar moments ever.

Sadly, the gushing words of how everybody liked her, overshadowed Sally Field’s accomplishment as an award-winning actress.  As a result, a moment that should have been one of triumph became one that reflected a neediness that undermined both her image and personal brand.

The fact is that when you think about being liked, you may feel a little uncomfortable. This is normal, because the desire to be liked is often seen as being a weakness, or a reflection of one’s lack of self-confidence.

Terms like “you are trying too hard to be liked” or, “why do you need everyone’s approval to feel like you are worth something” may cause you to withdraw and adopt a defensive attitude.

However, getting people to like you is not an option. Regardless of how you feel, we live and do business in a world in which people are drawn to those whom they Know, Like and Trust – emphasis on LIKE. There is no way around this universal truth.

This is one of the reasons why, before getting into the simple things you can do to get people to like you, it is important that you accept this . . . somehow and at some point, if you want to progress in your career or life in general, you have to get people to want to know you.

After all, to know you is to LIKE YOU!

A 2000 study by Yale University and the Center for Socialization and Development – Berlin concluded that “people, unlike animals, gain success not being aggressive buy by being nice.  Research found that the most successful leaders, from CEO’s to PTA presidents, all treated their subordinates with respect and made genuine attempts to be liked.  Their approach garnered support and led to greater success.”

1. Choose your attitude

The choice of your attitude will determine the quality and success of your relationships.

Your attitude is a powerful force that controls the appearance of everything you do.  It sets the mood and quality of your thoughts, your voice intonation and your spoken words.

Your attitude will influence your facial expressions and body language. If your attitude is negative, it will be difficult to control micro-expressions that are those escaped signals that show the world what you are really thinking.

Manage your demeanor by choosing an outlook that will showcase the best of who you are, without judgement of others, finding blame or being impatient.


Look for the good in people and in situations.  Manage the way you share your thoughts.  Complainers push people away and sabotage opportunities. No one likes to be around a naysayer. Dr. Steve Maraboli once said, “There are often great lessons to be learned at the roots of stress, drama, and heartache. Don’t let the magnitude of the circumstance blind you to the value of the lesson.”

  • Commit to being pleasant and gracious with everyone you meet
  • Practice diplomacy and understanding, no matter what is going on
  • Give people the benefit of the doubt as you may not be privy to their circumstances

2. Smile

In John Brandon’s May 29th, 2014 Inc article 10 Simple Ways to Make People Like You, he talked about the importance of keeping it light and “going for the laugh every time.”

Happy Face

His reasoning is that “It’s hard to hate a jokester or someone who has a carefree approach to life,” and that usually, the most liked people are those that “can fill a room with laughter.”

While being a dark and disturbed character is great in the movies, in real life no one will want to be around you if you are negative or constantly complaining about everything from the boss to having to work overtime on an important project.

I am not suggesting that you adopt a Pollyanna persona, or offer a vacuous smile to the world when there are serious issues being faced. Nor am I saying that you suddenly have to become a stand-up comic who is “always on.” Regardless of who you are, becoming a positive presence starts with a smile – a real and welcoming smile. Turning your frown and the frown of others into a smile can be easily accomplished.

  • Be the first to engage, smile and quick to praise
  • Build trust by consistently showing up at your best
  • Adopt a sense of humor that encourages others to lighten up

3. Establish instant rapport

Research shows that we have approximately 60 to 90 minutes to build rapport.

How others first experience you will set the tone for any interaction.

Your ability to create instant chemistry with the other person will impact on your SUCCESS when asking for a favor, making a sale or encouraging a dialogue with a stranger.  Some people call this quality “magnetism”.  It’s within all of us but you have to be willing to step out of your comfort, demonstrate warmth and allow your personality to shine. When you treat others as if they are guests at your home, whether colleagues or strangers, you will be operating from your “best self”.


If you want people to like you, you will have to take an interest in their feelings.

Know the difference between having empathy and commiserating. With the former you put yourself in the shoes of someone else while maintaining a helpful objectivity that shows them a way to comfort and eventual resolution. In my experience, commiserating with someone usually turns into a mutual ‘you both hate the world’ gripe session that encourages wallowing as opposed to seeking useful solutions.

Here are a few other suggestions to help you build a rapport and make a connection:

  • Mirror back the body language you are noticing in the other person. When you synchronize the same gestures, you are making the other person feel an unconscious connection with you. Take it a step farther by matching their tone of voice and speed of delivery.
  • Know the difference between open-ended questions and closed-ended questions. Closed questions are answered with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response.  It will be difficult to engage in a meaningful dialogue if you have nothing to add to this blunt reply. Open-ended questions require the other person to provide you with more details.  This allows you to piggyback off of what they said, giving you a chance to enrich and expand the conversation.
  • Remember that the more you can learn about other people during a conversation, the greater your potential to influence them.

4. Listen More Than Talk

Have you ever noticed how people respond to you when, instead of talking about yourself, you ask them about their lives. “What type of work do you do?”, “ Why did you choose to pursue your present career?” and “ What are your favourite hobbies/vacation spot/restaurants?”


While there are shifting boundaries relative to what you should and should not ask based upon the nature of your relationship with someone, the key point to take away from the ‘listen more than talk’ edict is that people like to talk about themselves.

Everyone has a story to tell, and almost everyone wants to tell it.

By becoming a sounding board or outlet for another person, you will be seen as someone who is approachable, social and engaging. People will want to gravitate towards you because you are putting the spotlight on them in a way that makes them feel both comfortable and important.

The one caveat is that you must be sincere. In fact, sincerity is the linchpin running through all three of the things you must do to be liked.

One final point that is worth noting . . . the moment you shift the focus from yourself to the other person, you will find that you will be able to engage in conversations with greater ease and comfort. This is because you are listening to someone else as opposed to thinking about how you look or what you’ll say next.

Also remember . . .

  • Keep the conversation light but relevant, especially when you are meeting someone for the first time. No one wants to feel like they are being interviewed by a Chris Wallace from FOX-TV. Alternatively, generalized questions about the weather are going to be viewed as perfunctory. So seek points of common ground or interest.
  • While your words may say that you are interested, looking at your watch or i-phone demonstrates a lack of sincerity. Use the power of head nodding, which shows you are totally present, along with projecting a posture that is open and engaging.
  • Interrupt without offending. Interrupting can be perceived as a putdown of what a person is saying and thinking. Say “Forgive me for interrupting, but I didn’t want to forget this point.”

A Few Final Thoughts . . .

What ties everything together is sincerity.


Whatever you do to engage people, and to get them to like you, do so with a sincere heart.  When you do this, you will stand out from the crowd as someone everyone wants to know, and everyone wants to like.  When you invest time to make sincere and meaningful connections with others, you’ll open the door to making a bigger difference in your world.





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