No matter what you do in life, first impressions go a long way.
Whether it’s your first day at a new job, a random interaction, someone in your class or a date, a good first impression can last an eternity.
From there you will probably want to keep the conversation flowing, create a bond, build trust and above all make people like you.
Robin Dreeke is the former head of the FBI’s Behavioural Analysis Program and has over 27 years of knowledge on interpersonal relations.
He is also the author of the book It’s Not All About “Me”: The Top Ten Techniques for Building Quick Rapport with Anyone.
Using his know how, Robin told Time a few key things that you should do to get people to like you.
1. Seek someone’s thoughts and opinions without judging them
We live in an age where almost everyone is judged in an instant. However, Robin believes that we need to eradicate this process from our day-to-day lives if we want to impress people.
The number one strategy I constantly keep in the forefront of my mind with everyone I talk to is non-judgmental validation.
Seek someone else’s thoughts and opinions without judging them.
People do not want to be judged in any thought or opinion that they have or in any action that they take.
It doesn’t mean you agree with someone. Validation is taking the time to understand what their needs, wants, dreams and aspirations are.
By not judging someone you are actively taking an interest in them and their lives, which will build a better understanding and circle of trust.
2. Lose your ego
We all love to show how much we know about a certain subject or a spout our opinion but it’s hardly constructive, is it?
If anything, showcasing your sizeable brain and ego is a real mood killer, as it can come across as arrogant and confrontational.
Robin tells Time:
Ego suspension is putting your own needs, wants and opinions aside.
Consciously ignore your desire to be correct and to correct someone else.
It’s not allowing yourself to get emotionally hijacked by a situation where you might not agree with someone’s thoughts, opinions or actions.
3. Be a good listener
This is vital for any aspect of life.
Listening rather than constantly talking is a perfect way to process someone else’s thoughts and respond to what they are saying in a thoughtful manner.
Don’t be thinking about what to say next or constantly spout nonsense. Just be patient.
Curiosity shows interest but curiosity can only be earned by listening.
Listening isn’t shutting up. Listening is having nothing to say. There’s a difference there.
If you just shut up, it means you’re still thinking about what you wanted to say. You’re just not saying it.
The second that I think about my response, I’m half listening to what you’re saying because I’m really waiting for the opportunity to tell you my story.
What you do is this: as soon as you have that story or thought that you want to share, toss it. Consciously tell yourself, ‘I am not going to say it.’
All you should be doing is asking yourself, ‘What idea or thought that they mentioned do I find fascinating and want to explore?’
4. Ask the most challenging questions
Initially this might sound way too invasive as we usually just want to have a bit of fun and rapport with someone that we just getting to know.
Yet challenging or big questions can provoke inspired responses from people and reveal their inner most desires and passions.
It’s not always easy but Robin believes that it is a positive model to live by.
5. Make strangers feel at ease
We don’t always have the opportunity to talk to some we know on a personal basis.
Maybe you want to impress someone that you’ve literally just met but they aren’t willing to give you their attention.
Robin states that you have to tell a little white lie in order to get a stranger to open up sometimes, such as “Hey, I’m leaving soon but…”
When people think you’re leaving soon, they relax. If you sit down next to someone at a bar and say,
‘Hey, can I buy you a drink?’ their shields go way up.
It’s ‘Who are you, what do you want, and when are you leaving?’
That ‘when are you leaving’ is what you’ve got to answer in the first couple of seconds.
6. Have good body language
All of the aforementioned points are valuable but they can be rendered instantly useless should you conduct yourself with the wrong body language.
You could be saying the most attentive and calming things a person has ever heard but it’s no good if you are slouched in a chair or avoiding eye contact.
Robin recommends five key points for good body language, which are:
– Smile – “A smile is a great way to engender trust.”
– Chin down – you don’t want to be looking down on someone, do you ?
– Maintain an non-confrontational angle
– Palms up rather than palms down – “[This says] I’m hearing what your’e saying. I’m open to what your ideas are.”
– Raise your eyebrows – “Basically anything going up and elevating is very open and comforting.”