Although your primary goal may not be to gain approval, as a leader it’s important to understand that your likability increases your ability to influence others. We tend to follow people we like—and stay away from those we don’t.
With that in mind, here are four tips to increase your likeability factor as a leader:
1. Put Others at Ease
Your stock rises as the anxiety of those around you declines. When a client or colleague breaches some rule of etiquette, don’t call attention to their mistake. If someone mispronounces a word, don’t cause embarrassment by correcting them in front of others. No one likes to feel inadequate or uninformed. Whatever you can do to lessen someone’s discomfort or help them feel accepted will increase their perception of you as a leader.
2. Be Authentic
Most people don’t have an opportunity to follow you home and see how you act when away from the job. They only see your “on stage” persona; so avoid overly formal, complex language. Instead, be authentic, personable, and real. And speak in a natural, easy-to-understand tone while avoiding highly technical and overly complicated words.
3. Find Something in Common
We like people who are like us. It creates a familiar bond between us. Give people a chance to get to know you personally by revealing a favorite vacation spot or sports team, a life lesson learned, or a struggle as simple as organizing your inbox. People identify with your humanity, your struggles, and your imperfections much more than they do with your successes.
4. Use Humor
In our presentation skills workshops, participants often ask when it’s OK to use humor in a business presentation. Our answer? Almost always. Humor doesn’t necessarily mean telling a joke or one-liner, but it’s the ability to see life in a light-hearted or ironic way. Those who can lighten up during a presentation will position themselves as confident and comfortable in unscripted situations.
Whether you’re the leader of a project or a team of co-workers or you just need quick credibility with an audience, use these tips to help put the likeability factor to work for you.