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Career Advice

6 Actions Highly Likeable People Take


That most people don’t

In the book, “Influence,” author Robert Cialdini tells the story of Joe Girard, a car salesman who on average sold five cars a day — earning the top spot in the “Guinness Book of World Records.”

Eager to learn how Joe was able to separate himself from the pack, Cialdini took it upon himself to dissect his approach and process.

What he discovered was a simple man, with an even simpler system.

First and foremost, Cialdini learned that Joe was fair. He never tried to hit anyone over the head with a purchase, nor did he try and push someone into a decision that they were not comfortable making.

Secondly, Cialdini recognised that no matter how big Joe’s client list got, he never stopped doing the little things — positioning himself as someone people enjoyed doing business with.

Every month, no matter what he had going on, Joe sat down and sent out a personalised handwritten letter to each one of his clients. He asked about their children by name. He followed up regarding any celebration or devastation.

Joe did this because he understood one simple aspect of human behaviour: if you show someone how much you like them, nine times out of ten, the favor will be returned.

Growing up I could have used this information. As a kid with a severe speech impediment who moved around a lot, I was so self-consumed with what people thought about me, I rarely took the time to truly think about the needs and wants of the people around me.

I wanted people to like me, but unlike Joe, I never gave them a reason to.

Some people win their lives by focusing on their strengths.

I didn’t.

I chose to work on my weaknesses.

And in the process picked up these 6 consistent actions likeable people take, that if put into practice today can help you to build a reputation as someone people like to be around tomorrow (As always, the key word is consistent).

1. Likeable people bring out the best first impression in others:

Likeable people know that the strength of their own first impression lies in guiding conversations in a way that brings out the strong points of others, rather than their own.

They do this by asking questions like, “If you were not here tonight, what does your normal Tuesday evening look like?” instead of the standard, “What do you do?” type of questions. They ask open-ended questions like these because they know what is important to them — they want to learn about what is important to the person in front of them. On top of that by asking people about their interests and hobbies it allows their passion to take center stage and it is hard not to like someone who does that.

2. Likeable people follow-up thoughtfully:

How do you feel when, after meeting someone new, you receive an email the next day saying that it was nice to meet you? Not bad right? But unless there is something actionable tied to it, it may go straight into the “when I get a second” folder.

Now, how do you feel if, weeks later, you receive an email that says:

“Hello Liam, when we met you mentioned to me that you are working on a new fitness app. As luck would have it, just yesterday I met a guy who just had a successful exit in the same field. Let me know if you want me to connect the two of you as I have already brought your name up and he is eager to speak with you.”

Marketing expert, Seth Godin, once wrote, “Just because you have someone’s email address, does not mean that they want to hear from you.” Likeable people understand this and they act, only when they have something valuable to add.

3. Likeable people are patient:

Author of “Mastery,” Robert Greene´s metaphor for mastering a skill is, “Making your way to the inside.” He believes that as we begin something new, we are on the outside looking in, and it is not until we put in the time, learn the details, and experience the good and the bad, do we begin making our way into the “inside.”

Likeable people treat not only learning new skills like this, but also their relationships. They do this because experience has taught them that life is long and nothing kills potential win-win relationships more than making hurried or shallow assessments of others.

4. Likeable people are open-minded:

Likeable people like nothing more than establishing common ground to build a relationship upon and they accomplish this by being genuinely interested in the person they are speaking with.

But that does not mean they shy away from those who see things differently than they do. Likeable people are learners and are always down for engaging others in thoughtful disagreements. They do this not only to better understand the reasoning of others, but also to identify things that they may have missed, two key contributing factors to their personal growth.

5. Likeable people stick to their word:

Reputation is everything. Likeable people understand this and do not run around trying to impress every Tom, Dick and Jane by over-promising tomorrow to make a friend today. Instead they do what they say they are going to do. As a result, people trust them, which is huge when it comes to being someone people like.

However, this does not mean likeable people always hit their target. There are times when they fall short of delivering on their promises. But instead of cowering in a corner, likeable people own up to their mistakes and they do what they can to make it right.

6. Likeable people expect nothing in return:

The words, “What have you done for me lately” or “What will you do for me in return” do not exist in the vocabulary of likeable people. Likeable people do good by others simply because they know that doing good by others is the right thing to do.

They not only openly share their knowledge, resources and contacts, but they proactively do so. Nothing brings likeable people more pleasure than helping others to achieve their goals because they remember others doing the same for them. But this comes with a caveat, likeable people may not expect the favor to be returned directly to them, but they do expect the favor to be paid forward to others.


Quality opportunities always come from quality relationships and getting these opportunities becomes so much easier if people like you.

So steal a line from Joe Girardi and do what you can to show others that you like them.

And don’t forget do it consistently.

Nice guys finish last is a thing of the past.

The future is kind.

Thanks for reading and today please be good to people — they’re all we’ve got.

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