Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.
How To Be More Liked
We all like to be liked. Studies have actually shown that the biggest factor which trumps all other qualifications during job interviews is the ability to be liked. At the end of the day we are all human and as humans we all want to have those social connections. It makes us feel good, it makes us feel special.
When this positive connection happens all of a sudden you have this bias towards this person you like. Even if you are less qualified then others if you can get the other person to like you, you may just make the cut. People are biased towards those they like and they will often unknowingly overlook negative qualities if you can only get them to like you. If you can build a positive lasting connection in the short time you spend with this other person you will be more likely to land that job, or seal that business deal.
Save Your Positive Aspects Until The End
There is some truth to the saying “Save the best for last”.
In the 1970’s Duke University conducted a research study. They wanted to learn when the best time was to confess, or bring up your negative points during a conversation. Was it the beginning, or the end?
The study was pretty simple. The participants were played a recording of a man talking about his life. This occurred once on two separate tapes. However, on one tape the man confessed early on that he was caught cheating in school. In the other tape, he told the same story but left his confession until the end.
So which one would you guess made the man more likeable to the participants?
The results actually showed that talking about your weak points at the beginning is the best time to bring them up in terms of likability. This is true for several reasons.
The first reason is that we often remember the last thing which happens during any event. Have you ever seen an awesome movie but it had just a terrible ending? What were you thinking about when you left that movie? Was it the beginning? Middle? Or end? The ending of a movie, story or event plays a huge role in our lasting impression of it. In fact, even if the entire movie was good, if the ending was terrible we will convince ourselves that the entire movie was terrible. It is one of our human ‘bugs’.
The second reason is the fact that we simply will be able to get that negative aspect out of the way. If you were going to bring up a negative aspect of yourself it is best to bring it up early so you won’t have to worry about fitting it into the conversation midway or even in the end. This is the same idea when being productive. Do the hard tasks first so you don’t stress or worry about them which will make you more productive throughout the day. Similarly, say the hard thing first – There is no worse way to bring it up than to say;
“Oh, I forgot to mention, I got fired from my last job because I didn’t feel like coming in.”
“Why are you giving me that look? Of course I told my boss I will be sick for those few days!”
Make Some Mistakes
We all make mistakes – Don’t worry I won’t launch into a whole thing about learning from your mistakes and failing is the key to success. Let’s stay on topic here Okay?
When somebody bombs miserably or fails in front of a large audience it is a seemingly cringe-worthy experience. But failing in front of an audience can actually make you more likable.
To put this to the test an audience was assembled and two actresses were chosen to demonstrate a blender. Both actresses showed that they were very knowledgeable about the blender and demonstrated perfectly all the functionality of the blender in a very professional way.
One actress purposely messed up and the blender’s lid came off and spilled juice all over herself! When asked about this the audience found that the other actress was more professional however, the other actress came out on top in terms of likability. The audience liked the actress who failed better than the other one.
This is because it was difficult for the audience to identify with a flawless demonstration. The actress seemed almost robotic. The other actress, although she messed up, it showed her human side and people were able to relate to that a lot better because at the end of the day we all make mistakes.
Before you run off and try to make a fool of yourself to try to get people to like you; do note that this only works if the audience believes that you are already skilled. In the context of the study this worked because both actresses were on stage and both appeared professional. If neither actress appears to know what they were talking about and showed up in sweatpants and a T-Shirt; messing up will not increase likability. I don’t have a study which shows that but trust me – It’s true.
And of course, don’t overdo this. If you are seen as a professional don’t keep purposely messing up just to be more likable. If you do this occasionally it will probably actually help you in terms of likability but keep this up and you will start losing your reputation.
Have a great day!
If you want more information on how to be like you can check out this awesome Ted talk on how to be loved and how to love! A very interesting talk in my opinion.