Wednesday, February 23, 2011

No One Likes You

Harsh title huh? but it's true!

No one likes you.

But don't fret, they don't like me either.  And they won't like either of us until we give them a reason to like us.

Here's the deal, most people assume that connecting with other people that somehow those we meet magically understand, appreciate and just plain know how great we are simply by being in our presence or by us meeting them for the first time.  That's simply not the case.  It doesn't work that way.

Some studies suggest that it takes up to eight prolonged interactions for someone to make a subconscious decision as to whether they like someone or not.  These studies suggest that some electronic switch automatically clicks on in our brains which says, "Okay fine, yes this is a person I would like to spend time with or no, this person is a jerk and I don't want to have anything to do with them."

Well I am no scientist, unless of course you count the countless hours I've spent studying other people.  I've spent in some ways my whole like watching how people engage and connect with one another and of course I've paid the closest attention to how people ultimately respond and react to me. Maybe for today's purpose you could just trust me and consider me an unofficial scientist.

For as long as I can remember I've always been fascinated about how people get to the point of liking one another and what things happen to create that tipping point in an emerging relationship.  What I've discovered is, getting to the point where you can get someone to truly like you can take way more time than you might think and in some, and dare I say most instances, way less time if you do it right.

How is this possible?  Well it all depends.  ON YOU.

Our likability factor rests solely on our ability to make ourselves vulnerable enough, interesting enough and open enough for other people to like us.  You see in all these years I've spent observing, watching and listening to people it comes down fundamentally to your ability to make it fun, interesting and safe for others to want to connect with you.  When you set the table correctly people are more likely to break bread with you.

So how do you do that?  Good question!  Here are some important rules to follow that put the odds in your favor that an interaction with someone new or even someone you've yet to crack the lock on, an employee, neighbor, that prospect, can tip the "like" scales in your favor.

1. Make each interaction about them!  Ask questions to learn what you can about them.  Who are they? What are they about?  What brings to a particular event or association?  What  is important to them?  What makes them who they are?  Go into each interaction with a focus on the other person and a detectives mindset and you'll be amazed at what you can learn about someone.

2. Listen. Then listen. Then listen some more! This is where most people go off track.  When meeting someone new we feel this innate sense to share our own comparative stories, brag upon our own kids, tell the other person why we are relevant too.  Don't do that!  Go back to rule number one and always remember rule number two.  If you spend more time listening rather than thinking of ways to share your own stories you'll pick up some real gems, those connection points I often talk about. Your focus on them will be noticed whether they realize it consciously or not and you will win some favorability points that they didn't even know existed.

3. End each interaction by asking them if there is anything you can help them with.  Find out how you can support them on some level.  Is it getting their kid connected to the local soccer association?  Is it introducing them around to some people you think they might like to know as well. Maybe it's just blowing off some steam at the gym, invite them to go with you.  Here's the deal...every single interaction has the potential have some small action with which you can take on someone else's behalf.  Find out what that is and follow through and you will score some serious points with this person.

Now I realize some of you will read this and go how in the world will people ever get to know me if I am spending all of my time getting to know them?  Don't worry there will me more than enough opportunity when the time is right.  But first you have to get over that hurdle and get someone to want to spend time with you in the first place right? It's a big hurdle but not a difficult one if you run towards it with a plan.

People don't like you until you give them a reason to.  Make it fun, engaging and safe to connect and open up with you and you'll be well on your way to getting someone to like you.  Who knows that connect you may be making could be a connection that lasts a lifetime.  Trust me, I'm a self-proclaimed unofficial scientist on this stuff.

Ripple On!!!


Cricket said...

What an interesting thing that I've never considered, Steve. (that I have to give people a reason to like me) Definitely gives me pause enough to think about how I am acting around others.

Anonymous said...


Sharlan Douglas said...

Here's what I learned from a keynote speaker: “Nobody likes me. They like themselves when they’re with me.” Think of that the next time you’re at a networking event. Listen intently to others and praise their accomplishments. Make them happy about themselves. They’ll go homes thinking that they met SUCH a nice person today.

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