Getting People To Like You

by Stephen Boyd | November 15, 2004

People decide how they feel about you in the first few seconds of conversation. You want to make a good first impression. Here are some ways to do it.

  • Begin with a smile. The most desirable trait of nonverbal is pleasantness, and a smile is the quickest way of demonstrating that characteristic. Practice your smile in front of a mirror. Picture a pleasant conversation with the person as you meet.
  • Determine eye color. This will make you connect with the person immediately. From the other person's point of view, you will look very interested. Good eye contact is a visual handshake. As you meet the person, a firm handshake and direct eye contact will make a quick and sincere connection.
  • Mirror the other person's nonverbal without giving the appearance of mimicking him or her. People relate quickly to those who are similar to themselves. If a person uses lots of gestures, do the same. Listen to the volume of the other person and match it.
  • Be nonverbally open. Don't cross your arms or hold your hands behind your back. Make gestures that will include the person. Gesture toward the person. Don't point. Be between four to seven feet apart when beginning the conversation. In the American culture, less than four feet will make the person feel uncomfortable.
  • Pause when the other person finishes his or her comment and look expectant. This will demonstrate that you are interested in what the other person is saying, immediately creating a positive connection.
  • Ask an open question to show another way in which you are interested in what the person feels or thinks. Develop questions that begin with what or why or how. This will make you not only a good listener, but also a great conversationalist in the eyes of the other person. Just one question is sufficient. If you ask three or four in a row, the person may feel he or she is being interrogated.
  • Finally, be you. Relax. Don't try too hard to be liked. Show a genuine interest in the other person and let the conversation flow naturally. Use your own personal style. These simple people skills will help you to give a positive first impression. After that, the relationship is up to you!

About the Author

Stephen D. Boyd, Ph.D., CSP, is Professor Emeritus of Speech Communication, College of Informatics, Northern Kentucky University, near Cincinnati. He presents keynotes and seminars to corporations and associations whose people want to speak and listen effectively. See additional articles and resources at To book Steve, call 800-727-6520 or email him through his website.

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