You Like Me, You Really Like Me

Posted 04.18.2011

One of the most e-mailed articles on the New York Times website the past couple of days has been an article by David Carr on how it seems to be acceptable behavior to text someone else while you’re in a conversation with an actual live person who is in the room with you. Carr, the media reporter for the Times, noticed this in buckets when he attended the annual South by Southwest Conference in Austin this year.

I think Carr’s article has struck a chord because lots of folks are tired of being treated as if they don’t matter. In coaching busy and highly focused executives over the years, I’ve worked with a lot of people who are secretly concerned with whether or not their co-workers and team members like them. 

Here’s the magic secret to making people like you. Treat them like they matter. If you’re looking for more details about how to do that, here are five ideas that are relatively easy to do and likely to make a difference.

1.    Ask people to talk about things they care about. Could be family, hobbies, where they grew up or what they did over the weekend.

2.    Listen to their answers and ask follow up questions.

3.    Follow steps one and two at either the beginning or end of a business conversation.  Ask one or two more questions than you normally would. You’ll be amazed at what that does for connection building.

4.    Smile more. Most focused people look really serious. A serious look is easy to read as “ticked off.”  Make it a habit to look people in the eye and smile when you see them.

5.    Get away from your computer and put your devices away when talking with people. If it’s in front of you, you’re going to look at it. Remove the temptation.

Is any of this leadership rocket science? Uh, no. It’s all pretty simple stuff. It’s the simple stuff that usually works best. They’re the things that are relatively easy to do and likely to make a difference.

What other tips do you have for leaders who secretly want to be liked?