Making yourself more personable is easier than you think.
In business and in life, it helps when you are able to easily get along with people. With all the new tech companies popping up, there seems to be less of a value on talking to people face to face. While technology can serve as an aid in helping us connect, it will never substitute for the ability to meet someone in person.
Take examples of companies like Uber, Airbnb, or Tinder. You may just take your ride and never talk to the driver, but the ability to say a few kind words can make all the difference in that person's day. Finding an affordable place to live short-term is easy, but leaving a good impression is quite another. Dating sites can provide a good conversation, but creating a lifelong relationship is not going to happen via text. (Note: I know I shouldn't use lifelong relationship and Tinder in the same paragraph).
With all that said, there are a few simple ways to become more likeable. I've worked with people of all ages, from all parts of the world. One of the greatest lessons I've learned is that there are a few tricks to being charismatic that will work on anyone. Try using these in every conversation in your life, and you'll be an expert charmer.
1. Smile more than you normally would.
One of the things I've noticed since living in San Francisco is how much more people seem busy than in the South. Sitting on the Bart, everyone is glued to his or her phone. Walking around downtown, headphones are in and we're all sprinting to the next meeting.
One of the greatest lessons I picked up on in the South is how much people take the time to smile at one another. Adopting Southern hospitality is one of the easiest ways to instantly get along with everyone. Just smile real big and talk in a friendly tone. Especially in busy cities, taking a few seconds to shoot a smile goes a long way. It also projects confidence and makes you look non-threatening. Try talking to that attractive person at the bar with a completely straight face, and they'll head right for the door.
2. Always reach for a handshake or perform the proper greeting.
One of the most awkward moments in the world is when people are deciding whether to shake hands or not. There's this uncomfortable pause, and then someone just waves his or her hand at the other person. I don't like moments like these, and neither should you. These situations happen most when you're meeting with someone whom you think is superior to you. A way to break this is to always be the first to make the greeting. The only exception is in cultures where you are not supposed to do this.
3. Talk less about yourself.
Have you ever hopped on a phone call and the other person rambles for what feels like forever? Somehow a simple, "How are you doing?" turns into us hearing the person's life story. Talking about yourself too much is boring and makes you look conceited. A quick way to watch this is to try to ask more questions than the other person is asking you. People want to share what's going on in their lives, and often just listening helps them more than anything you might say.
I've found this technique to work well in relationships. When a girlfriend has been upset with me, from trial and error I know the best thing I can do is keep my mouth shut and listen as much as possible. Arguing never turns out to work in my favor; instead it just brews more anger. In situations like these, ask more questions than stating facts. Hearing out the other person is more than half the battle.
4. A small touch goes a long way.
Contact with another person can help them put their guard down. When a friend is feeling low, something as small as placing your hand on their shoulder can go a long way. There are people who strongly believe in personal space, so they stand five feet back from everyone and never get personal. This is a huge mistake. One of the greatest charmers of all time is Bill Clinton. If you look at the way he talks with people--he makes it seem like no one else is there. By acting extremely personable with every person he comes across, he always leaves a warm impression.