You can boost employee performance, improve the outcome of your networking, build your customer base, and make more money when people like you. So, be honest with yourself: Are you truly likable?
If you’re the type of person who responds, “I don’t care if people like me. I just want them to respect me,” you may want to reconsider. Here’s why: Customers are much more apt to do business with people they like, and employees who like their bosses are more productive and committed to the job.
Becoming a likable business owner isn’t all that difficult. You don’t have to be outgoing, funny, or charming. Just follow this advice:
- Be genuine. Sincerity isn’t something you can fake. You truly need to care about your products or services and believe that they benefit customers in some way.
- Smile. Smiling can elevate your own mood and those of the people around you. Make a conscious effort to smile often.
- Use common courtesy. Follow the standard rules of etiquette, such as turning off your mobile phone during meetings and holding doors open for people. Never estimate the power of saying “please” and “thank you.”
- Learn to work with others. No one wants to be around someone who’s always at odds with everyone else, so be cooperative and collaborative. Roll up your sleeves and tackle the grunt work occasionally to show employees that you’re all in this together. Meanwhile, don’t force your products or services on customers. Help them find solutions that work best for them and allow them to be part of the process.
- Fine-tune your listening skills. Ignore distractions, and focus on each person with whom you’re interacting. Never interrupt. In fact, wait three seconds after someone finishes speaking before you respond. Don’t begin formulating a response in your head until after the other person has finished speaking. Instead, concentrate on the person’s words and body language, so that you can respond accordingly.
- Think before you speak. It is especially important in delicate situations or difficult conversations to show restraint. Don’t rush to propose a solution; take a moment to compose a succinct and thoughtful response. If your input is unlikely to help, hold back your opinions.
- Show respect. Honor other people’s ideas, opinions, time, culture, differences, and beliefs. Don’t patronize, belittle, or scoff at anyone — even when you think they are wrong or you adamantly disagree with them. Always search for a point of consensus or something positive to comment on. If you can’t find either, steer the conversation in a constructive direction. Example: “Let’s talk about something I think we both can agree on: cost savings.”
- Tell the truth. Always be ethical. Admit when you make a mistake. Don’t make excuses or point a finger at someone else when something goes wrong.
- Be approachable. If you hole up in your office all day and frequently appear stressed or angry, people will avoid you. Be visible. Maintain an open-door policy, and enthusiastically welcome questions and comments. To encourage people to share honest feedback, accept criticism graciously.