It’s not vain or self-centred to address your own likeability, either. You don’t have to change who you are to become more likeable. It’s more about improving the way you interact with other people – in ways that can make your life a lot more fun and successful. If that doesn’t make likeability worth thinking about, I don’t know what does!
Thankfully, you don’t have to stay in doubt. You can make a quick assessment of your own likeability – thinking of how your friends treat you, and how people respond to you in daily life, and so on. Or you can take our quick and anonymous likeability test, to get an accurate score and assessment.
But what then?
If you discover that you’re not quite as likeable as you’d like to be, what can you do about it? Well, something else likeable people tend to have in common is that they’re usually good communicators. And as I said before, becoming more likeable is really about changing how you interact with people.
So one of the best ways to increase your likeability is to improve your communication skills. Here are 6 ways one leads to the other.
1) All relationships are built on communicationMy first reason is the most fundamental one. When you have a relationship with someone – whether it’s a working relationship, a friendship, or a romance – a major component of that relationship is how you communicate with them.
Other parts of the relationship include your actions (such as the work you do, or buying a gift for your friend), and your appearance.
But communication is the thing that maintains the link between you on a daily basis. Whether it’s a conversation, a phone call, an email, a text message, or non-verbal communication (such as body language), if you stop communicating with the other person, the relationship ends.
So if you don’t communicate well, you can’t build relationships, and you won’t be that likeable.
2) Good communication makes good first impressionsThere’s no doubt about it: first impressions influence the course of your relationships with every single person you meet… including how much they like you.
Here’s an example to illustrate why.
Janet is a business leader meeting a potential investor, Satoru, for the first time. When Satoru arrives, Janet smiles warmly and shakes his hand. She asks Satoru whether he had a good journey, which leads to a funny conversation about their worst-ever travel experiences.
Satoru likes Janet because she is friendly, open, and engaging – he has a good first impression of her. So when the conversation moves to business matters, Satoru is keen to make a deal… and it’s the start of a long, fruitful partnership.
Now let’s imagine the same scenario, if Janet had poor communication skills.
Instead of smiling at Satoru, she greets him with a stony face. Instead of taking an interest in his journey, she dives straight into business talk. Instead of having a friendly conversation, the mood is awkward.
How good an impression does Janet make this time? How likeable will Satoru find her – and will he still want to invest? It’s not likely – because without strong communication skills, it’s hard to be likeable.
3) Psychologically, we’re drawn to good communicatorsWant a more scientific reason why better communication means greater likeability? Ask a psychologist.
It’s pretty simple, really. Our brains equate strong communication with leadership and ability. We’re naturally drawn to these positive qualities, for obvious reasons.
But psychologically, more people are born followers than leaders – and followers have a desire to be led by the strongest people in their group. By developing and demonstrating good communication, you can position yourself as a leader that people are drawn to.
4) Positivity means likeabilityWhen you think of your favourite people – the people you find the most likeable – what do they all have in common?
Chances are, they are all people who make you feel happier. They bring positivity into your life, whether by praising you, helping you, or just by starting fun conversations. And that’s probably a big reason why you like them.
You know what else these kinds of people have in common? They all have a particular communication skill - they all use communication to make life more positive. If you can learn to do the same, you too can become more likeable.
5) Everyone likes a listenerThere’s a common misconception that the most likeable people are always the most playful, the most talkative, and the most engaging ones.
There might be a sliver or truth in that – but there’s also a fine line between loving the limelight, and hogging it. Nobody likes people who are too attention-seeking and self-centred. That’s why it’s so important to have a wide range of communication skills, including listening to others.
Listening shows you’re interested in the person you’re talking to, that you care about their opinions and well-being, and that you don’t only think about yourself. It also facilitates real conversation, where both parties feel involved.
In other words, listening makes you more likeable. That makes it a communication skill worth working on.
6) Good communication makes you more interestingLast on my list, but by no means the least important, is colourful language. And no, I don’t mean dropping F-bombs into casual conversation (although that might play well to certain crowds!).
Let’s go back to your favourite people. They aren’t just positive are they? I mean, it’s kind of boring and insincere when someone says “yes, that’s great, you’re doing fine!” to everything you do.
Your favourite people are probably interesting and fun as well. And that has a lot to do with how they communicate.
Interesting people are more likeable for many obvious reasons. They might keep conversation flowing, with striking details of the amazing trip they just took, or the open way they share their feelings. They might entertain others with their stories and jokes. And they often have an opinion worth listening to.
Everyone wants people like that around – they’re truly likeable. And it’s all thanks to good communication skills.
Ready to work on your communication skills?
So there we have it. When you improve your communication skills, you improve the way you interact with everyone around you – making you more likeable.
When you’re positive, put energy and colour into your language, and show good listening skills, your friends may find you more fun to be around than before. So your friendships could grow stronger.
When your communication skills help you make a better first impression, you can make a brighter start to relationships with new customers, colleagues, and maybe even employers. So you could have more success at work too.
And when you have the feeling that people like you and are drawn to you, your overall happiness is sure to grow.
If those sound like likeable life changes to you, then it’s time to start working on your communication skills!