A few weeks ago I found a great interview in Time with their guest, an expert on psychological profiling and FBI behavioral analyst. There many amazing things in the article and it is pretty long as well, so I’ve decided to sum it up for you and provide some comments about how this can be used in your academic career. We are not trying to teach you how to manipulate people in your life, but rather help you ease your networking and upgrade your social skills.
Before moving straight to 7 rules of making people like you, stop there for at least a moment and try to remember all those cases when you felt uncomfortable meeting new people. What was wrong with it? Did they make a good first impression? Did you engage them in the conversation? Please, do not be fooled by an idea that good people make a great first impression. It’s rather the opposite. Having analyzed a number of famous criminal cases, the researchers are more than sure that thieves, bastards and scums are those who make people like them at the first sight. So, here is a list of simple things that help you click with people and make conversations and relationships better. We will also make some comments on how each idea can contribute to your academic life.

Seven Easy Rules to Help You Click With People

So, Robin Dreeke (the FBI behavioral analyst whom I’ve mentioned in the beginning) says that it is rather simple to make people like you as long as you learn and remember some ground rules. Most people fall under certain profiles and most of them are pretty similar in the ways they interact and build basic relationships. If you can find something interesting about the person you have to deal with, you are most certainly going to nail down a hard task of charming them. However, the trick is that you have to be sincere about the things you say or do, otherwise, this won’t work. People are usually good enough at noticing fake emotions and insincere acts, even if they are beneficial to themselves. So let’s move on and learn what these rules are!

  1. Don’t Judge

Okay, I may have exaggerated, saying that these are simple rules, but learning to judge people the moment you meet them is an extremely valuable skill. You have to understand that no human on earth likes to be criticized and dispraised for either their opinions, beliefs, and actions. The sooner you learn how to seek someone’s opinion without badmouthing them, the easier things will go.

How can you deal with gibberish and hogwash? Take a deep breath, step back and at least pretend you are interested. Ask how the other person came up with such an idea, or what drew them to certain conclusions. By doing this, you will give them a chance to talk about what they are most fond of – themselves!

  1. Put a Bridle On Your Ego

It means that if you need someone to like you, their interests and needs shall have the higher priority than yours. In the book Confessions of a Sociopath, its author says that sociopaths are more attentive to others’ needs as they understand that this is the only ways you can understand them and use them to your needs. I’m not saying that’s a great idea, I am only trying to highlight that the concept of building relationships through caring about their needs and opinions is pretty successful.

Another great idea is to learn to help. Trust is not built on the contradictions and fights. So even if you see or hear something that contradicts your personal beliefs, just deal with it without starting a fight that can turn into the third world war.

  1. Learn to Listen

It’s not about being silent or shutting up at the right moment. Listening means both not interrupting and paying attention to what someone has to say. If you could also show some interest, by nodding and reacting that would be great. The rules are pretty simple:

  • don’t interrupt, evaluate or express your opinion right away;
  • make your comments short or substitute them with body language;
  • if you are not sure what someone meant, rephrase their idea with your own words after something like ‘I believe you meant …’ and let them react to you phrase;
  • ask questions that will show the fact you really care;
  • try to remember things.
  1. Master the Art of Asking Questions

Finding an appropriate question to show that you’ve been listening is somewhat similar to a mine clearance specialist’s work. One wrong questions will blow up the whole thing. Be smart and use psychological data to help you out.

For example, asking a man ‘How did it make you feel?’ may lead to a disaster, as men usually do not think about feeling, especially their own ones (and I’m not being a supremacist, I’m appealing to statistical data here).  At the same time, a woman would be more open to this type of questions.

I remember a barista at a coffee shop near my dorm. A complete jerk, but his clients loved him so much because he paid attention to the details and remembered things: birthdays, pets, marital status, etc. And he asked questions. God, he was good. It seemed like he genuinely cared about each person coming up to the counter.

  1. Make People Feel Comfortable

Building a rapport and trust begins with establishing a borderline without making people defensive. Respect their boundaries, show at least some respect towards their personal space. I really loved an example from the article: if you have to approach someone, make sure you ask them whether this is a good time. Or if you are trying to talk to someone and they suddenly turn all defensive and touchy, asking ‘what do you want and when are you leaving’, the last one shall be answered immediately. Play the ‘I’m leaving a card’ so a person could relax. No one wants to be stuck talking to a weirdo with no way out. And yet, if you see someone’s hostile – just leave them alone.

  1. Work Your Way With Body Language

Okay, we don’t want you to turn into someone who you are not, but there are certain things that can help you win somebody over:

  • Smile. No matter what type of smile you have (either a broad Hollywood one or a shy-country-kid type of smile), use it to win the trust;
  • Don’t put your chin up. Many people interpret this as a sign of arrogance and anger.
  • Keep palms up. Many psychologists say that this shows you are open to both people and ideas.
  • Avoid strait angles. Tilt your head, use a so-called 3/4 body position, and don’t stare as this makes people feel extremely uncomfortable.

Be open, feel confident, do not try to exaggerate any movements (this can be either comic or unpleasant) and remember your movements shall correspond to your words.

  1. Understand the Motives

We’ve come up close to the last, however the most important things. Understanding what drives people to help you with every single item on our list. The better you understand the motives, the easier it can be to find the right approach, make someone feel safe and complacent.

This will also help you out if you think someone is trying to manipulate you. You don’t have to be paranoid, but it happens more often than you think. So thinks what can drive them and how they can benefit from this situation.

Sum Up

I have to be completely honest, even though I know all of this, it just seems so hard to cope with every single one of them. It’s like deep down in your heart. You shall be treating people in the respectful manner, the way you would like they treat you. However, it’s easier said than done. So let’s quickly go through these rules one more time:

  1. learn to find a value in everyone’s’ opinion rather than doom people down
  2. deal with your ego and pathetic need to be always right
  3. active listening is your key to success, remember this
  4. ask appropriate questions and at least try to remember the answer (or else you may get into embarrassing situations)
  5. learn to make people feel safe and comfortable, so that they would be more likely to open up
  6. take care of your body language and work out any contradictions
  7. dig deep to find the motives in order to understand people better.

Behavioral analysis and several studies show that the more interest you can show in someone’s life, the easier and faster it will be for you to set the ground for both affection and interest. People usually like those who like them. Learn to find something fascinating in people and they will like you in return (in most cases 🙂 )

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