build trust with others

The 3 Scientific Triggers that Force People to Like You

We’ve all heard of the “know, like, trust” factor…and with all other factors being equal, people do business with those they know, like, and trust.  Although it sounds easy enough, in today’s world, many people are doing business with others online, and building rapport isn’t as easy as going to your local networking meeting and sparking a connection…or is it?

Okay, picture this…

You walk into a room full of people you’ve never met and you have ONLY one objective.

To meet the 5 people in the room who will want to do business with you…trouble is, you don’t know who they are yet.  How are you going to identify them, and more importantly, once you do, how are you going to make sure they like you? Even if you do figure out the formula for getting people to like you in person, does it transfer online?

Can you MAKE people like you?

The good news is science has concluded there ARE ways to influence people to like you more, and these techniques work online JUST AS WELL as offline. If you follow these guidelines you will make more friends, who will become fans and followers, as well as create paying customers who will happily buy from you again and again.

  1. Focus on Them.

Have you ever heard of the radio station “WIIFM”? No? Well it’s the most popular station in town, it’s short for What’s In It For Me.  People love to talk about themselves, and learning to ask open-ended questions is a great way to give people the chance to talk about themselves.  In a 2012 study conducted by Dr Diana Tamir and Dr. Jason Mitchell, Harvard Scientists, it was concluded talking about ourselves triggers the same sensations of pleasure as food and money. (1)

So remember to ask questions that use Who, What, Why, When, How, and Where.  They’ll walk away thinking “Wow, what a great conversation!” and that YOU’RE awesome.


  1. Be Yourself

Maybe it’s counterintuitive, but owning who you are makes you more likable.  When you’re genuine, you’re comfortable with who you are and it puts people at ease around you.  The red flags don’t go up because people sense you’re honest and trustworthy.

Think about it for a moment…most communication is actually non-verbal, with some statistics suggesting that non-verbal cues have over 4 times the effect of verbal cues. (2)

Travis Bradberry, a regular contributor to sited a UCLA study that found sincerity, transparency, and the capacity for understanding (another person), were the top adjectives used to describe the most likable people.(3)

Allowing yourself to just be you makes you far more interesting to others, especially in a world that is constantly trying to tell you what you want to hear in order to get what they want in the end.


  1. Be a “Go-giver”

Think back for a moment in your life when you first met someone and as you were talking, you finally opened up and shared an issue you were facing, something that you were looking for answers to.  Can you remember that person giving you some sage advice, or better yet, providing you with a solution?  How did that make you feel?  Did it make you want to find a way to help them out too?

If so, you are normal, and the Law of Reciprocity is in full effect.  You see, “We want to repay, in kind, what another has provided for us.” (4)

Everywhere in life, and especially in networking, where the goal is to influence others, gain popularity, and win business, focusing on how you can help the person on the other end of the conversation accomplish their objectives will thrust you into a position where they naturally want to repay your kindness.  Being liked is a by-product of the process and the savviest influencers know it.

Simply put, you can increase your likability with another by putting your agenda on hold and serving them first.

Being liked is not for those gifted from birth with great looks, naturally gregarious personalities, and an ability to be social.  It can be learned, and those who take the time to learn the “secrets” of persuading people to like them, will find, more often than not, people do.

You can learn too. 

Remembering to focus on other’s communication by asking questions that get the ball rolling and taking a genuine interest in what they are saying is a sure-fire way to increase your likeability.  Keep asking questions until you’ve found what they’re searching for and then simply find a way to help them get it.


By following these 3 simple rules, you’ll set yourself apart from the usual suspects who are only interested in their gain, you’ll increase your likability factor, and you’ll find that by not “cashing in your jellybeans” too early, that when it does come time for you to ask for a favor, you probably won’t have had to…they asked you first.



You still want more?

Check out this short list to increase the chance of people liking you:


  1. Paying attention to the person you’re speaking with (Don’t interrupt, put away the phone, etc.)
  2. Let others be who they are (Don’t pass judgment, listen and see the world from their perspective)
  3. Stay humble and appreciative (No one likes an attention hog…be the leader, not the one who is desperate for attention)
  4. Be Steady (People like others that they can count on. Check your attitude at the door, and remain consistent)
  5. Positive Body Language (How you say what you say is often way more important than what you say, pay attention to your tone, body language, and the energy you bring)
  6. Smile (and the world smiles back)
  7. Balance Your Passion with Fun (Don’t be so serious about your passion that you forget to show people how fun you can be)


You can read more about these here:  Forbes.travisbradberry



  1. Tamir, Diana; Mitchell, Jason (2012). “Disclosing information about the self is intrinsically rewarding”. PNAS, vol. 109, no.21
  2. Argyle, Michael; Salter, Veronica; Nicholson, Hilary; Williams, Marylin; Burgess, Philip (1970). “The Communication of Inferior and Superior Attitudes by Verbal and Non-verbal Signals”. British Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology (9): 222–231.
  4. Cialdini, R. B. (1984). Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

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