It’s human nature to want to be liked by those we meet. It’s like food for the soul. But beyond that, being admired and respected is the key to winning. Whether you are talent going out for an audition, or an exec negotiating a contract, being liked and admired plays an enormous role.
The basics are obvious. Be a decent person. Be nice. Be considerate. Shower regularly.
But there are many smaller, subtle things you can do that will have a huge effect on how others perceive you. They may seem little, maybe even insignificant, but in reality, if you try them for yourself, we think you’ll see a big, big difference in the way people relate to you.
1. Use a person’s name.
When someone hears you speak their name, it makes an immediate, dare we say even intimate connection. It makes the conversation more personal, and in a subtle way communicates that you care about them and their feelings. Use a person’s name generously.
2. Be honest.
Always. Even a small fib can ruin your credibility forever. It won’t always be easy, but no matter what, tell the truth. This alone will set you apart, especially in this business.
3. Keep your word.
Deliver on your promises. Every time you make a commitment, you have the opportunity to raise or lower your credibility. Your word is everything.
4. Smile. And mean it.
Humans are social creatures. When you offer an authentic, warm smile, the happiness is contagious. And if you can manage to brighten someone’s day, well, that person will love you for it.
5. Listen. And mean it.
Obviously, everyone wants to be heard. Make a point to be an active listener. Position yourself to face the other person directly, even mirroring their stance. Make plenty of eye contact. Confirm what they’re saying verbally. Paying close attention with an open mind is one of the most important techniques you can use to gain respect.
6. Show that you’re really listening.
During the conversation, repeat back parts of what you just heard. It shows the other person you’re paying attention. People love to hear their own words echoed back, and they’ll appreciate your engagement and attention.
7. Admit your mistakes.
Mistakes are an inevitable part of life. Granted, successful people focus on solutions rather than obsess over their errors. But if you want people to look at you as a true professional, own up to your mistakes as soon as they occur. Take responsibility.
8. Prove you’re paying attention.
This starts with, yes, actually paying attention. But take it further. Bring up a topic that the person mentioned in an earlier conversation. Ask a question about it. And remember, it’s often the smallest details that matter the most. When you mention that tiniest of details to the other person days or weeks later, it puts you in a rare category of listeners.
9. Be generous and sincere in your compliments.
People crave authentic appreciation. Don’t be phony or brown-nose. Empty flattery is obvious. Instead, find something that you sincerely appreciate, something that is true, and let the other person know. When a person does something right, say so. Praise, when genuine, can lift the other person’s spirit and be a great motivator.
10. Be thoughtful in your criticism.
Your goal should be to get the other person to see their mistake without you necessarily having to blatantly point it out. Everyone, especially folks in show biz, has a delicate ego. Be discreet. Be kind. Sometimes, it helps to follow the pattern compliment–criticism–compliment. Such as, “Hey Bob. Loved the edit last night. Really had a lot of punch. It looks like there were a few dropped frames in the third scene, so be sure to check those. I also wanted to tell you that I loved the montage sequence at the end. Really effective.” You want to be gentle, firm, honest, discreet and positive.
11. Don’t issue commands. Ask questions.
Consider the difference between, “Get me that spreadsheet,” and, “Do you think you could give me the spreadsheet by this afternoon?” No one likes to be bossed around. It’s a subtle difference, but it works.
12. Learn to tell stories brilliantly.
It’s not easy. Being a great raconteur requires excellent language skills, timing, a sense of theatre. But mastering the art of storytelling will make you a compelling presenter.
13. Ask for advice.
Show that you value the other person’s opinion. Asking for their feedback or ideas is a sign of respect. It never hurts when you make someone feel better about themselves.
14. Ask plenty of questions.
Everyone wants to have people take an interest in them. But most folks rarely get a chance to talk about themselves. So take an interest. Ask about their lives, their careers, their passions. It shows you care, and you will be remembered for it.
15. Don’t judge.
This can be a tough one. Heck, we all judge. The problem is, as much as we try to hide our judgements they’re almost impossible to cover up. They show physically and verbally in very subtle ways. You have to make a conscious decision not to judge, to let it go. If you’re a manager, yes, you have to make judgements, but base them on data and results, not on personalities. Hand-in-hand with making the decision not to judge others is the fact that you can’t, and shouldn’t, try to change the lives and opinions of others.