7. Handle Criticism With Tact
In the same vein, while you want to be generous with your praise, be stingy with your criticism. People have delicate egos, and even a slight word of condemnation can wound someone’s pride. Of course, the correction will be necessary at times, but it should always have a purpose and be handled with care. If someone makes an error, don’t call that person out in front of a group. Be discreet, be delicate. Consider offering up a compliment sandwich–a deliciously effective strategy that involves dishing out praise before and after a criticism. For example:
That newsletter template you sent over looks great, good work. So it looks like there were a few numerical errors in that recent report you sent over–just be sure to double check those numbers. I also wanted to tell you to keep up the great stuff you’ve been posting in Facebook–I’ve been seeing a big boost in engagement.
Your goal should really be to get the other person to recognize the mistakes without you pointing them out. Even in the example above, you could simply say, “I saw a few numerical errors in that recent report you sent over,” and wait for a response. If the individual responds apologetically and promises to try harder, you don’t need to drive home the subject. Tell them not to worry, that you’re sure they’ll get the hang of it, and move on. The less finger-pointing, the better.
Another strategy for diplomatically dispensing corrections is to begin by discussing your own mistakes before digging into someone else’s errors. Ultimately, aim to be always gentle with criticism and only offer it when it’s truly needed.
8. Avoid Issuing Orders–Ask Questions Instead
No one enjoys being bossed around. So what do you do when you need something done? The truth is that you can get the same result from asking a question as you can by giving an order. The outcome may be the same, but the individual’s feeling and attitude can vary greatly depending on your approach.
Going simply from, “Jim, I need those reports by tonight. Get them to me ASAP” to “Jim do you think you could send me those reports by this afternoon? It’d be a huge help,” makes a world of difference.
9. Be a Real Person, Not a Robot.
People like to see character and authenticity. While classic business doctrine pushes the importance of an alpha male stance (shoulder back, chin up, strong handshake), it’s easy to go overboard and come off as fake.
Instead, try to be confident but respectful. Some cooperation experts suggest stepping toward a person and bending slightly forward when you’re introduced, in a gesture of a bow. These kinds of gestures can go a long way toward making people think more highly of you.
10. Become an Expert in Storytelling
People love a good story, and great stories require sophisticated storytellers. Storytelling is an art form that requires understanding of language and pacing. Master the fine oral tradition of storytelling and people will flock to you like you’re The Bard.
11. Physical touch.
This one’s a bit tricky, and I hesitate to even mention it because obviously it needs to be done in a certain manner. This isn’t an invite to give shoulder rubs to your coworkers. However, it has been shown that very subtle physical touch makes individuals feel more connected to you. A great example is gently touching someone’s forearm (with your left hand) while shaking hands (with your right hand)–it’s a great way to finish up a conversation. Not everyone will feel comfortable with this strategy, and if it’s not for you, that’s fine.
12. Ask for advice.
Asking someone for advice is, somewhat surprisingly, a great strategy for getting people to like you. Asking for advice shows that you value the other individual’s opinion and demonstrates respect. Everyone likes to feel needed and important. When you make someone feel better about himself or herself, that person will most certainly end up liking you for it.
13. Avoid the clichés.
Let’s face it–most of us don’t like boring people. They are snores and horrifically uninteresting. Instead, we like the unusual, the unique, sometimes even the bizarre.
One great example of situations in which it’s important to avoid clichés is in interviews. Rather than parroting the “nice to meet you”s at the conclusion of an interview, add some kind of variation to make you memorable, even in a tiny way. Try something like “I’ve really enjoyed talking with you today” or “It’s been a real pleasure learning more about [insert company].” You don’t have to reinvent the wheel–just be yourself.
14. Ask questions.
Asking other people questions–about their lives, their interests, their passions–is a surefire way to get brownie points in their friendship books. People are egocentric–they love to talk about themselves. If you’re asking questions and getting people to talk about themselves, they’ll leave the conversation thinking you’re the coolest. Even if the conversation didn’t really give the other person a reason to like you, he or she will think better of you subconsciously just for indulging his or her ego.