People sell to people. We are emotional beings. Feelings are vital. Eye contact is fundamental. How we speak is often more important than what we say. Body language and tone are the building blocks.
Developing relationships and trust are the keys to success. To get people to open up to you, you need to put them at ease. When people feel comfortable to talk to you that is when things happen. Good and bad things. Sometimes people also feel comfortable to tell you all their problems, but you got to take the good with the bad.
Listen to this
Listening is the most important thing to developing a bond and trust. We never trust people who don’t listen - how can you? They have no idea what your needs are, because they are not interested. If you don’t listen, you are not interested, and that never makes you likeable.
Now, let’s say you are sincere, and attentive, and you listen and take notes, what else then can you do to tip the scales? You can only ever be yourself. Don’t change. But you can learn new things that make you more interesting and likeable.
Current news and innovations
Having a handle on current affairs and interesting world news and sexy innovations is always good for making conversation. Sharing something exciting is a good thing.
We are collecting stories for you that are great talking points.
Do a bit of homework before you go and sit down with someone. A small amount of prep can go a long way. Having a scan of hot new happenings in the world can make anyone more interesting.
Laughter is the best icebreaker
We all know what the best medicine is. It is also the best way to break the ice. Sure, there is a time and a place for humour, but if the mood is right and you feel comfortable, then spreading some cheer is a sure way to make people smile. And when people smile they will like you more.
You don’t have to become the resident comedian, but don’t only listen and don’t only preach – get some back-and-forth banter going to make it memorable and interactive. Try an icebreaker to keep the verbal ball rolling.
We are collecting humour stories and jokes that are clean and catchy and that fit in well to the business world. Make sure to check for some light relief that you can use to your advantage.
The world may be a stage, but to most of us, we prefer sitting quietly in the audience, enjoying the show. The good news is that when it comes to building relationships it is only you and the other person, or perhaps, a couple of other people. If you’re a parent, think of how your kids look at you like anything is possible. When you capture their imaginations you become more interesting and likeable. Back to our business environment: when you sit down with other people, and the mood is calm and relaxed with small talk, then there may be room to capture imaginations with an icebreaker. When people look a bit down, show them that there is opportunity right in front of them. Or, if they look like no one cares, then show them some respect. The Double Take always gets people wondering and talking. How do we all miss the most obvious things in life? What is really cool, is that whoever you show this to, they can then go on and show the next person. The Short Stop is another quick smile maker. People like these kinds of things, so you may want to have a few up your sleeve as follow-ups.
Some practical wisdom
Avoid power plays when meeting. You don’t need super A-type stare-downs or a cagefighter handshake. Relax and smile. Vulnerability isn’t a weakness. Be genuinely happy to meet the person – even if you have to fake it. (But don’t.)
Ask them about themselves to get the conversation going.
Provide value for free. (Up to a point, you’ve still got a mortgage to pay.) Pitch in on a project from your side, add some value as a team player.
Don’t be overly ‘sales-y’ – keep it real. No need for trying to go for sales knockout punches right after the handshake.
You’re not meeting Santa at his workshop. Don’t get stuck into a list of things you want from them – play a longer game and take a more subtle approach.
Accept compliments gracefully. Avoid arrogance, but also avoid contradicting positive feedback with negative talk about yourself. (You’ll be surprised how many people do this.)
Unless you’re Daniel Day-Lewis, avoid playing a character. Rather use your authentic voice to tell your own story.
Use stories to inspire, surprise and delight. Even if it’s a short story or idea to warm the room. Be someone you’d root for in your movie, and leave them wanting to see or know more about you.
Finish strong. Go for a solid exit, no lingering and awkwardness, schedule the next meeting if necessary. Gifts are always welcome - consider the frog in the throat or brain floss as a parting gift (coming soon in the Coolfidence box).
Always be yourself, and always believe in yourself. Keep your promises and be good to people. This is what builds trust. And always try and listen.
Once you have the fundamentals right, and people know you are an ok person, then there is always room for a light touch. When the moment is right, share a few stories and get some imaginations going.
People enjoy mystery and intrigue. Have a bit of fun, share the love. That always works for us. If you can engage your kids and your family, you can do the same with your business colleagues and customers. We are all people after all. Try not to take everything too seriously. But always take your commitments seriously. Yes, always keep your promises. People will like you more if you say what you mean and mean what you say.
Successful businesses and people often boil down to one simple fundamental: attitude. With the right attitude you will always be likeable. And that makes you more interesting. Business thrives when your attitude is good.