At the end of the day, you want people to like you. If you’re in sales, you know the likeability factor is huge in making the sale. If you’re in management, the same is true for motivating staff. If you’re a keynote speaker, delivering an address to hundreds, you are still hoping they’ll like you and be moved by your message.
When communicating to others, whether in a formal or informal presentation, we’re striving to connect, to reach people, to engage, and to propel them into action of some kind.
But first they have to like us. It’s that basic, that simple.
I turned to an old classic for guidance on the likeability issue. Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends & Influence People” has been in print for more than 75 years. In it, he identifies “Six Ways to Make People Like You” and here they are:
1.     Become genuinely interested in other people.
2.     Smile.
3.     Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
4.     Be a good listener.
5.     Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
6.     Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.Rocket science? Nope. Basic, good common sense? Yup.
If I were to get scientific, though, and look for some trending patterns in his list, two items stand out:
First, it’s all about them, it’s not about you! This is SmartMouth’s Rule #1. And I’m pleased (and relieved!) to see that I’m in total alignment on that with Dale Carnegie. People, audiences full of people, an audience of one, all want to know that you have thought about them, that you have considered their interests, that you care about them. They want to be noticed, appreciated, understood.
So even when you are invited to speak because you’re a subject matter expert, or even when you’re at the front of the room because you’re the boss, or even when you’re making a sales call and you’re selling exactly what the customer wants or needs, it’s still all about them. Your challenge is to present your material and incorporate acknowledgements of them, their background, accomplishments, interests, and needs. It’s always all about them.
Second, be real about it. I love how he uses the words “genuinely” and “sincerely” – and he gives “smile” it’s own stand-alone billing. There’s a lot to be said for warmth and sincerity.
For sure, people are able to sniff out a phony in seconds (and I guess they’ve been able to do that for 75 years!). More important, though, people are drawn to warmth and sincerity. It’s just human nature.
It was so interesting to revisit these basics. And actually kind of inspiring. I plan to take these 6 principles to heart and look for ways to be more actively conscious of them in my work with 1:1 clients and with groups.
I hope you too will look at the list again and identify a few principles that will help step up your likeability … and, in turn, step up your effectiveness as a communicator!

Beth Levine