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The L-Factor: Likeability—the True Key to Success

Posted May 5th, 2010 in Health, Reflections, Self-Help by Glenn Plaskin
Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey

Throughout my life, there are times when I’ve erred on the side of being too directive and exacting, wanting desperately for something to work out exactly as I imagined it.

This—more often than not—is a mistake, for people don’t respond to being pushed or overly controlled. That’s for sure. Whereas, the ability to take an action and let the results go is the greatest relief in the world. It not only relieves stress but it also makes you a lot more likeable which is one of the greatest secrets to success.

Whether it’s Oprah Winfrey or your favorite neighbor down the block—the thing that makes you want to “tune in” to someone is their overall likeability.

Have you ever noticed that when two people are up for the same job, more often than not, it’s the person who is the most likeable who gets the job? regardless of their particular qualifications. The ability to establish rapport is essential in life, I’ve discovered, and there are specific ways you can do it.

The Likeability Factor

The Likeability Factor

“Your success and happiness in life is a total by-product of how likeable you happen to be,” exclaims leadership coach Tim Sanders, best-selling author of The Likeability Factor: How To Boost Your L-Factor & Achieve Your Life’s Dreams a how-to guide to making yourself more popular in life.

“Your L-factor permeates virtually all aspects of your life,” he says. Likeable people land better jobs, earn more money, make friends more easily, and have lower divorce rates, lower blood pressure, and better relationships with their children. They also get better service in restaurants and more attention from their doctors!”

So what exactly is this powerful ingredient that promises such a charmed, happy life and how can we get more of it?

Tim Sanders

Tim Sanders

Like-ability,” as Sanders defines it, “is what it sounds like–an to produce positive attitudes in others by delivering emotional and physical benefits.” These include comedic relief, empathy, insight, comfort, entertainment, and offering your expertise. “Someone who is likeable gives you a sense of joy, happiness, relaxation, and rejuvenation,” states Sanders. “He or she can bring you relief from depression, anxiety, or boredom.”

Better than Prozac and quicker than therapy, Sanders refers to likeable people as emotional angels—people who sees the world from an optimistic point of view and make you feel better about yourself. They build you UP! I call it the Dr. Feelgood factor. They’re typically positive, good-natured, and agreeable—bringing out the very best in others.

“Good for you!” is their hallmark,” he observes “and they never rain on someone else’s parade. They listen more than they talk, make direct eye contact, and they’re generous with their emotions—more likely to laugh, cry, or confide their vulnerability than the average person.”

How Likeable Are You?

How Likeable Are You?

Likeable people are typically thankful, grateful people with good math skills when it comes to counting their blessings. Their thankfulness results in making room for someone else to feel the same way.

This produces what Sanders calls a “positive feedback loop,” in which the warm feelings you invoke in others are reciprocated and returned to you, creating constant encouragement and an antidote to the strains of daily life.

One key component of likeability is Friendliness—the ability to be agreeable, neighborly and open, to roll out a red carpet of welcome that communicates your receptivity to someone.

You must convey warmth, comfort and safety in order to be likeable and have people open up to you,” says Sanders. “We’re all like broadcast towers–sending out signals that are decoded by others in order to determine whether we’re a friend or foe. So remember to smile, because it kicks off a chain reaction of smiles in everyone you meet. Studies have proven that smiling faces are perceived as more attractive than non-smiling faces–that a smile is a leading indicator of popularity.

The other key component to likeability is Empathy—the ability to recognize, acknowledge, and experience other people’s feelings. “It’s about being a really good listener,” says Sanders, “genuinely interested in someone’s feelings and responsive to them. It makes the other person feel like they’re being hugged psychologically.”
Hugging Kids

Tips for Getting People to Like you!

Everyone,” Sanders believes, is born likeable. The average five-year-old is sympathetic, friendly, and real–possessing natural likeability in spades! But by the time we’re twenty-five and feeling the pressure of producing results in life, we start cutting corners. We get sharp around the edges and become less likeable, the means often justifying the end.”

The secret to reversing this trend, he believes, is consciously boosting our L-factor: “If we’re able to raise it by even just one or two points, life will feel better.” Here’s how to cultivate an easy-going, likeable personality:

  1. Pinpoint your two most likeable traits and use them every day. Is it your smile, sense of humor, generosity, perceptiveness, talent, efficiency?
  2. Go on a strict non-unfriendliness diet. Eliminate unfriendliness from your behavior and adopt a policy of zero tolerance for being unfriendly.
  3. Spot warning signs before you commit unfriendliness: These include feeling angry, having an ache in your head, a pain in the pit of the stomach, or the sensation of blood rushing to your face. Delay anger gratification.
  4. Show friendly signs: Make eye contact; use your eyebrows (the more animated they are, the more outgoing and friendly you’ll seem); widen your eyes to show emotion; smile—but don’t force it. Cultivate a friendly tone of voice—and don’t match tones with people who are unfriendly, upset, or angry. Remain calm. Speak in a confident tone.
  5. Demonstrate good manners Don’t interrupt people, apologize when you need to, and go out of your way to do favors for others. Don’t be aggressive; be nice.
  6. Make yourself emotionally attractive to people at work and at home Add value by easing their suffering, anxiety, or fear in any way you can.
  7. Avoid the prima donna syndrome: Don’t always be a star. Blend in and become part of the team.
  8. Observe your behavior as if you were someone else totally unattached to your ego. Ask yourself: how do I make other people feel?
  9. Allow people to feel the way they do. Don’t try to fix other people’s feelings. If they’re sad, be sad with them. If they’re happy, let their joy be your happiness.
  10. Keep It Real. Believe every word of every song you sing. Be factual and admit your mistakes.
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