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How to Be Likable, Build Connections & Rapport

In the previous episodes we spoke about charisma, how to be charismatic, then we spoke about the first impressions, those are the first seconds. And now we want to build relationships and be likable.

Now before we dive into this topic, let me clarify a few things.

Number one: you cannot make people like you. Whether someone likes you or not is about them, not you, and its outside of your control. Decide – be willing to be yourself and be willing not to have people like you – if someone likes you it doesn’t have to do anything with you and it has everything to do with them. Not everyone has to like carrots and we don’t blame the carrot. Give people permission not to like you.

There are always gonna be people that will not like you. Your ability to be OK with people not liking you and your work will determine how far you take your work, how far you will take yourself, how far you will evolve.

All right so that is clear you cannot make people like you – that’s about them. What you can do, and that’s what we’re gonna talk about here is that you can make it easier for them to like you – if you want. If you want to establish a relationship with someone then you can increase your likeability and make it easier for them to like you. But again you can’t control it, what you can do is to influence it.

The next important thing to remember is that being likable isn’t about faking anything. It’s like charisma. Do you remember that to create charismatic behavior we first needed to work on our internal state and mindset? Well, with likeability it’s the same. For all the strategies we’re gonna be talking about here to work, they need to be genuine. I will give you 3 secrets to increase your likeability.

All right let’s get into it.

The secret number 1 of being likable is – Like yourself. If you want people to like you, you need to like yourself first. Why?

When you show up as yourself and you like yourself, that’s attractive. When you like yourself people are like: wow, he likes himself, he must be on to something there - Let’s see what’s up with that, right? It’s attractive. People that are happy, that are enjoying themselves, enjoying their own company are fun to be around. We like to be around people that are enjoying themselves. So be yourself and like who you are. It will come across and you will increase your likeability immediately.

So again like yourself first, like your own company, enjoy yourself, and people will enjoy being around you.

The secret number 2 to being likable is – like them. Like other people. This is the biggest secret to likeability. When you want people to like you, like them first.

Here’s the thing to remember, not only around likeability but all interactions and in every communication: people want to be loved – we all want to be liked. Someone genuinely liking us from a place of abundance that doesn’t want anything in return - that’s a beautiful thing. That’s what we all desire.

Oprah Winfrey has interviewed thousands of people. What has she learned from all these experiences? This is what Oprah said:

There’s one desire we all share: We want to feel valued. Each of us, at our core, longs to be loved, needed, understood, affirmed – to have connections that leave us feeling more alive and human.

Now to really take advantage of this phenomenon you need to do 2 things. The first step is to decide to like them and genuinely feel the feelings of liking people. Look for things to appreciate and like about them. What’s amazing about them? What’s awesome about them. Focus on this and like them.

The second step is to signal your liking to them. As humans, we’re constantly trying to gauge if people like us. We’re more inclined to enjoy being with people who visibly enjoy being with us. This is called the reciprocity effect. We simply like people who like us. Now here’s the thing. People tend to think that their social cues are obvious, but in fact, they are not. That’s why if you like someone you should go out of your way to show it to them. Here’s another thing about people – when you signal to them that you like them, you make it super easy for them, to like you back. Why? There’s no risk of rejection. If you show me that you like me, then you make it easier for me to show you that I like you.

How can you show other people that you like them? By being interested in them highlighting their strengths, praising and appreciating them, and telling them how you like them.

Be a highlighter.

Being a highlighter is about bringing out the best in people by highlighting their strengths.

Give positive labels. Humans love to be given positive labels. They improve our self-image and push us to be better versions of ourselves. Allow yourself to be impressed by the person across from you. Find ways to emphasize their strengths. Celebrate their excitement.

Some examples could be:

You know everyone here. – You must be a great networker!

I’m impressed by your efficiency – this team is so lucky to have you.

You are an expert in this subject. Thank goodness, you’re here.

Another way to show as a highlighter is through exponential excitement. Exponential excitement is about celebrating the successes of others as if they were your own. Good feelings multiply around other good feelings. When you see someone who is proud, excited, or passionate – mirror and match it. This associates you with their feelings of pleasure. You can say something like:

“I’m so thrilled for you!”

“How wonderful that must be!”

“That is the best news, congratulations!”

When you see something – anything that is awesome, always take the opportunity to highlight it.

Introductions are a fantastic opportunity to show up as a highlighter.

Use introductions as an opportunity to highlight other people and become memorable right from the beginning. When you use a variation of Jeff, this is Peter, Peter, this is Jeff, you are missing an amazing opportunity to highlight. Even if you just know them for a few minutes there’s always something you can highlight about them.

“Jeff, meet Peter. He is killing it in the marketing research and just signed an important new contract.”

“Jeremy, meet Rita. Rita is an incredible singer.”

“Dimitri, let me introduce you to Veronica. She’s just telling me the most fascinating story of her trip to Australia.”

You can even do this when you’re introducing yourself:

“It’s a pleasure! Your name tag says you are a speaker here. That’s fascinating. What’s your area of research?”

“Great to know you! A friend of Richard is a friend of mine. He knows the most fascinating people!”

This way, you’re giving people positive labels right at the start and you get people talking about themselves – what they do and who they are. This produces dopamine! This is a total win-win.

Make people feel good and they will remember you. Make them want to be the best version of themselves. So highlight and expect the best in those around you. Being the highlighter helps you be the highlight.

So these are the 2 most important secrets of likeability. Like yourself and like them and signal your liking to them.

The secret number 3 is The similarity attraction effect.

We’re wired to like people similar to us. This is the similarity attraction effect. We like people who are like us. Similar values, interest, look like us. We even like it if they are dressed like us.

A like on social media like Facebook or Instagram, are all digital forms of the similarity attraction effect in action. When you give someone the love, you’re telling them: I like this too. That’s why we’re so addicted to checking our social media. We like to know that our friends and followers both like us and are like us. Without realizing it, we’re constantly searching for reasons to think, feel, or say: Me too!

When you first meet someone, you should constantly be on the lookout for similarities and highlighting them. Are you both drinking the same red wine? Do you both know the host from work? Do you both love Thai food? Find mutual likes. Once you find one similarity, don’t let it pass you by.

If someone says they are addicted to a show - share your favorite scenes.

If someone mentions something that makes them stressed. Take them aside and tell them you have felt the same way before.

If someone says a food is disgusting – confirm that. Say something like: oh yeah, totally on the same page.

In a good meeting or date you will hear phrases like Oh, I love Bali. Maybe we were there at the same time?

Are you kidding? I’m a huge real Madrid fan.

You’re into tennis? Me too!

A secret to a successful and engaging conversation is to always look for an opportunity to say – me too. Here are some of the questions that can uncover those commonalities:

How do you know the host?

Are you a friend of the bride or groom?

How long have you been part of this group?

Do you usually come to this type of event?

Have you ever been to this conference / restaurant / event before?

Great venue, right?

How long have you been living here?

Love your pen, shirt, hat. I’m also a fan of…

How long have you been a fan?

I’m a fellow member of… How long have you been a part?

I saw you also went to / studied / are a part of…

Wasn’t that speaker / presentation / interesting?

These questions can be used in groups, with new people, and even in emails and cold messages. Every time you discover a common thread, it links you together.

If you ask one of these questions and don’t find a similarity, it’s totally OK. For example, if someone says – nope, never been here before, use that as an opener. You can say: Me neither? What are your other favorite places around? Every answer you hear is one more step in getting to know them and being further along in the conversation.

Every interaction should be about finding these commonalities. They bring you closer to the person. The more commonalities you have the more socially attractive you become.

Let’s recap. To be more likable, first like yourself first. Enjoy your own company. People love being around people that enjoy themselves and have fun.

Second, like others and signal to them that you like them. We like people who like us. This is called the reciprocity effect. And finally, we like people who are like us. This is the similarity attraction effect. Always be on the lookout for opportunities to say “me too”

All right, that’s all for today's amazing, charming communicators.

Remember, for more great communication resources Join me over at

And get your copy of 12 proven communication tactics to make a positive impact immediately.

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