Being likable is entirely under your control. All it takes is the ability to pick up a few key social skills that build emotional intelligence (EQ).
To help you out, we sifted through the Quora thread, “What are useful social skills that can be picked up quickly?” and highlighted our favorite answers.
Here are seven simple ways to start crafting a “million-dollar personality” and be the most likable person in the room:
1. Make eye contact.
“It is an idiotically simple thing, but it remains one of the most impactful life hacks around,” writes Quora user Brad Porter. “The most attractive quality in a person is confidence. But ‘be confident’ is not very good advice. Instead, find the best proxy for confidence, in terms of interactive behavior. And that’s eye contact.”
Start this habit immediately, says Porter. It requires no practice or special skill; just the commitment to meet someone’s gaze and look them in the eye while conversing.
2. Put your smartphone in your pocket.
And keep it there until your conversation or meeting is over. Basil Chiasson puts it simply: “Pay attention. Look at them. Stop what you’re doing. No interruptions.”
This is another simple, yet effective, habit that can be executed immediately and does not require any effort or skill.
3. Call people by name.
The next time someone greets you by name or uses your name mid-conversation, remember how great that feels.
If you have trouble putting names to faces, try different strategies, such as writing them down or using imagery or rhymes associated with the name. Quora user Howard Lee suggests repeating their name verbally when you’re first introduced, and then twice more in your head.
Don’t underestimate the power of smiling.
Additionally, laugh and tell jokes, recommends Quora user Craig Fraser. People unconsciously mirror the body language of the person they’re talking to; if you want to be likable, use positive body language and people will naturally return the favor.
5. Give a firm handshake.
“Not too hard, certainly not limp and soft, and with no dominance play,” writes Tony Vincent.
Research shows that people decide whether or not they like you within seconds of meeting you. A firm handshake contributes largely to that first impression, as do strong posture and positive body language.
Listen more than you speak, says Quora user Mark Bridgeman: “You have two ears, only one mouth. That’s the ratio you should use them with.”
7. Don’t just listen — actively listen.
Simply hearing words doesn’t cut it. Likable people truly listen to the person they’re talking to.
Active listening requires four steps, writes Chiasson: Hearing, interpreting, evaluating, and responding.
Step one requires dropping what you’re doing and paying attention. Next, “paraphrase what you’ve heard and ask clarifying questions,” she suggests. Evaluating means steering clear of quick judgment and jumping to conclusions: “Make sure you have all the pertinent information before forming or expressing an opinion.” Finally, “give feedback to let the speaker know that you heard them,” she writes.