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Robert Cialdini introduced this powerful psychological trigger in his seminal book Influence: the psychology of persuasion. The liking principle is centred around how we put much more weight into appearances. Good looking people seem to have it easier! Well it’s not their fault, we like good looking people, but not just good looking people, people who dress up, people who care about their appearance. These folks will get further because random people will generally trust them.
Smile more. People like happy people. If you can enter meetings, presentations and meeting people for the first time with a genuine big ol smile on, you’re going to have an easier time.
The mirror neurons in our brains copy what others do, so when you smile at someone it’s hard for them not to smile back! Use this a lot, you never know when someone just needs a smile and that reassuring look of “you got this!”.
Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends and Influence People. Be agreeable, try not to tell people they are wrong, or correct them in public. That’s a great way to get someone to not like you. Some people tell themselves they love to argue but this is just a defense mechanism because they don’t think they can have a friendly conversation without disagreeing with you.
If you find someone who loves to play devil’s advocate politely tell them that the devil doesn’t need advocacy, he or she is doing quite well on his or her own. Instead try to find the truth in other people’s arguments. Try to find what you agree with. It’s easy finding fault or calling out what you don’t believe. It’s much more difficult to try to understand the world through their eyes.
We also learned from Mr. Carnegie that smiling at people helps in many ways, looking people in the eye when they are talking, giving people your attention and trying to find a general interest in people. These aren’t obvious ways to build relationships in 2019 and beyond but they were pretty forward thinking back in 1938 when he first wrote the book. The lessons in the book have stood the test of time and will remain valuable when we do business on Mars soon enough. HA!
Stop arguing, start encouraging.
In Blink by Malcolm Gladwell we learn that first impressions are incredibly important. We put a lot of weight into how we meet people. Even if you don’t believe it, your subconscious puts a lot of weight into first impressions.
You can’t control it, we do it without knowing. That’s why for the job interview even if you don’t feel like dressing up nice you should. A first date, the first day at school, meeting family for the first time, leaving a great first impression is incredibly valuable.
As we get older we rely on these snap judgements even more. With experience comes pattern recognition, when someone does something that just doesn’t seem right it’s usually because it isn’t. Trust those gut check moments, our intuition is right more often than you think.