10 Ways to be More Likeable

10 Ways to be More Likeable

Likeability is a soft skill that helps people build relationships and forge alliances.  The things that students do to become likable are the same things that make workers likable. However, with evolving technologies and changing social norms, the skills and etiquette for likeability are more complex.

In the “Wall Street Journal” article, “Why Likability Matters More at Work,” Sue Shellenbarger writes that social networking and videoconferencing make being likable more difficult. People just do not seem as personable in social networking and videoconferencing as they do in person.

Here are ten suggestions to simplify behavior for likeability in the workplace.

1. When you leave a meeting, clean up your workspace.  Since more people use laptops for notes and calendars, meetings rooms are less cluttered. Some people notice and get annoyed when people leave a mess behind.  You do not want to be the pig in the parlor.

2. Do not check your smartphone during lunch or a meeting. Turn off the phone or put it on vibrate. If you want to check your smartphone, get out of the room before you take it out of your pocket.   Checking your phone in a meeting is using your phone in a meeting.


3. Dress appropriately.  If the norm in your workplace is to wear a shirt or blouse, close all the buttons except for the collar button. Take off your hat or cap when you enter a building. In videoconferencing, what you wear is especially important.

4. Do not wear after-shave lotion or perfume. Most people do not want to smell you.

5. Do not talk about other people when they are not in your presence. Office gossip has a way of becoming a virus.

6. Leave equipment in working order. When you finish using a copier or a printer, make sure there is paper in the machine so that the next person can use it.

7. In office disagreements, take the high road. If someone criticizes you, do not criticize the person in return.   If you find something useful in what the person is saying, thank the person for the information. If the person is sounding off, tell them that you regret that they feel that way.  You do not have to tell them they are wrong.  Simply say that you feel differently.  The practice of not criticizing people is especially important in emails where you leave a paper trail of poor behavior.

8. Avoid borrowing from your coworkers. Plan and keep on hand the things you need to get your work done.  If you do have to borrow something, get permission. As soon as possible, return or replace it.  Never use another person’s computer when that person is not present.  The invasion of privacy is similar to going into a person’s home when they are not there.

9. Learn etiquette.  Amy Bernstein writes in the “Harvard Business Review Article,” “Behave Yourself,” that etiquette evolves while good manners remain the same. If you are uncertain about how to handle relationships with other people, buy a book on etiquette or research situations on the Internet.  The etiquette rules for men and women in the workplace change for workers in different roles and different ages.

10. Do not invite your boss to connect in social networking. The pecking order for networking invitations runs from the top down through an organization.

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