It’s NOT “all about who you know.” This overused, inaccurate cliché cheapens the importance of presenting yourself the right way and building genuine relationships.
Here’s the truth: It’s all about who likes you and who respects you.
Just keep these 3 likeability secrets in mind:
1. Like yourself. The first step to appearing likeable to someone else is to be comfortable with yourself. This is not about being arrogant or thinking that you are better than other people. It’s just about genuinely accepting and liking who you are. When you like yourself, it immediately comes across in your body language and your attitude and sends a powerful message to other people that they should like you as well. Want proof this is true? Think of 3 of the most likeable people you know and ask yourself if those people like themselves. I bet they do. We like people who are comfortable in their own skin. (The opposite is also true.) If you find it hard to make friends or to get people to like you, start by adjusting the way you view yourself.
2. Like the other person first. Take a second and write down the names of 3 of your favorite people. Look at that list one by one, and ask yourself if each of those people likes you. I bet they do. We like people who genuinely like us. Whenever you meet someone new, go out of your way to take a sincere interest in him. You’ll be much more likeable than if you focus on “selling yourself,” a common (and deadly) networking mistake.
3. Be like the other person. Look at that list of 3 of your favorite people again. Ask yourself if each of those people is like you in some way. I bet they are. They probably have similar hobbies, similar values, come from similar backgrounds, and so on. We like people who are like us. Whenever you meet someone new, try to establish a commonality immediately. One of the best ways to build rapport is through a shared interest (i.e. you both like to play golf or both like the Boston Red Sox), through a shared connection (i.e. you have a common friend), or through a shared affiliation (i.e. you went to the same college, are from the same town, go to the same church, etc.) This is not about being phony or pretending you are something you are not. That will actually backfire. It’s just about getting people to realize that you are like them in some way.
Pete Leibman is the Founder and Keynote Speaker for Dream Job Academy, and his career advice has been featured on Fox, CBS, and CNN. His new book, “I Got My Dream Job and So Can You,” features lessons from young professionals who recently landed their dream job in a variety of fields.