Being good at what you do is obviously important, but being liked by your coworkers, colleagues and clients is just as important. Without the likeability factor, people are going to be less likely to want to work with you, which can have devastating consequences in business.
Jacqueline Whitmore, an internationally-recognized etiquette expert, author and founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach, offers these 10 tips to be more likeable at work:
1. Master the BLT factor.
In this case, BLT stands for believability, likability and trustworthiness. Cultivate a reputation that embodies these three key traits. When clients decide with whom to do business, they ask themselves, “Is Mike capable of the work and will I enjoy working with him?” Obviously both criteria matter, but when we need help getting a job done, we most likely choose a congenial person over a more capable but less cordial one.
2. Show empathy.
The struggles and triumphs of your life affect how you empathize with others. Empathy doesn’t require you to agree with someone else’s opinion. You can politely agree to disagree while you thoughtfully consider his or her feelings. Respect others and try to find common ground. A shared experience can form an instant bond.
3. Be reliable.
Entrepreneurs who are consistent and dependable will win contracts and develop long-term professional relationships. Your clients need to know they can count on you to deliver the work reliably. Do your job well and people will begin to see you as consistent and trustworthy.
4. Tell the truth.
It sounds easy until you’re late on a project and over-budget. When you’re faced with a choice, always choose honesty over deception. Integrity has become a rare trait in the business world. All relationships require honesty, but professionalism is rooted in your personal integrity. Always use your best judgment and be transparent with those with whom you interact.
5. Ask questions.
Show sincere curiosity in the lives of others. Ask open-ended questions that begin with “Tell me…” Then really listen to the answer. You’ll discover more about your clients, colleagues and friends through effective listening. Your genuine interest will earn you the respect and appreciation of those around you.
6. Have an open mind.
When you judge others harshly or gossip on a regular basis, you invite negativity into your life. Consider the opinions of others before you reject them based on your pre-conceived notions. Everyone is afraid of rejection. When you show others that you’re open, accepting and kind, you’ll attract more friends and opportunities.
7. Show engagement.
Your body language speaks louder than your words. Some gestures, such as crossing your arms or putting your hands in your pockets, can make you appear withdrawn from a situation. When you talk to someone, open up. Make consistent eye contact, smile and nod occasionally.
8. Master the first impression.
Everyone forms immediate judgments about the people they meet. To make a great first impression, exhibit your professionalism and character. What you wear matters. Dress to impress by wearing clothes that fit well and are in good condition. When you greet someone, introduce yourself and give a firm handshake.
9. Share the limelight.
It’s wonderful to be recognized for your achievements and hard work. However, don’t forget to thank those who helped you along the way. Publicly recognize employees and partners who have worked tirelessly next to you. Don’t monopolize the spotlight or try to give the impression that you’re more important. Instead, be friendly and considerate of others and give credit where credit is due.
10. Remember names.
There’s no better way to build a relationship with someone than to remember his name. This simple, yet powerful gesture, makes others feel valued and respected and can help you build a large professional network. Deliberately practice remembering names when you meet new connections. It takes a bit of time and effort, but remembering someone’s name can make a difference in how that person feels about you and your brand.