Studies have shown that it only takes two seconds for people to decide if they like you. This instinctive response is the result of millions of years of evolution, when early humans had to decide if they were about to make a new friend or become lunch. These days, this instinct influences our personal and business relationships. Every decision from what make of car to buy, to signing contracts is influenced by how much people like and trust each other. So here are five tips to get people to like you in less than 30 seconds.
- Smile. This might seem obvious, but next time you’re at a trade show or conference, look around at people speaking to each other. Are they smiling or serious? For most people, smiling is not a natural state. Some people also think looking professional means being serious. The truth is, even a slight, warm smile makes you approachable and likeable.
- Make eye contact. Maintaining eye contact means you are trustworthy and have nothing to hide. Be sure to keep it natural. Avoid getting into a staring contest. The most important time to maintain eye contact is when the other person is speaking, demonstrating genuine interest. Also make eye contact when stating key points or voicing your opinion.
- Reflect. Be aware of the other person’s posture. Matching your posture to theirs will subconsciously keep them at ease and make you appear agreeable and receptive. If they stand with their hands in their pockets, do the same. If they sit straight at the edge of their chair, so should you. Again, keep it natural.
- Take interest. People love talking about themselves. So let them. Not only will this make them feel more comfortable with you, it will also give you clues about what’s important to them and how they think. Open ended questions can help influence the direction of the conversation and help you learn more about the other person.
- Be appreciative. Everybody is busy. Thank them for their time. Thank them for sharing their ideas and opinions. And thank them for choosing to do business with you. People want to feel appreciated and valued. And they will always be attracted to those that can make them feel this way.
Marc Gordon is a recognized marketing expert. He regularly appears on TV and radio. His articles appear in over 200 publications worldwide. Visit marcgordon.ca or his online show at marctv.net for more business tips.