How to Be Instantly Likable!

By Febrina J. Tanghal. Febrina lives in Iloilo City, Philippines. She is a graduate of Central Philippine University. Please read her article and leave your thoughts and comments below. (*Shortlisted for the 2018 prize!)

Stephen Covey was absolutely correct when he said that “most people don’t listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply”.

I agree with this statement because in this digital age, almost everyone has an opinion and wants to be heard…

“Listen to me!”

“This is what I have to say.”

“My opinion is that…”

Too much noise, too much buzz here and there.

Communication should be a give and take process. The problem with some of us these days is that we want to be heard – or we think we deserve to be heard. We often forget the fact that the other people have an opinion as well and should be listened to and, more importantly, understood.

In conversations, instead of really listening, most of us only ‘hear’ and can’t wait for the speaker to finish talking so that we can reply. We don’t really digest what the person is talking about in our minds; we just want to have our say.

Maybe this is because we just want to speak our minds as soon as possible. If we let the speaker finish, we may forget what we’re about to say. We just don’t want to look as if we don’t have anything to say for fear of looking stupid or not smart enough to have our take on the topic at hand.

I have seen some seasoned journalists and hosts who make this very common mistake when they interview their guests. Instead of making the interview about their guests, it looks as if they’re “competing” with the latter by not letting them finish what they want to say first, and so cut them off mid-sentence with their own ideas.

Not only is this rude, but doing this results in a number of issues:

a) It makes them look as if they’re the “smarter” one between the two of them.

b) It distracts the other person’s train of thought, so they loses track of what they are about to say.

c) Even worse, it turns the attention or “spotlight” onto the host, when it’s supposed to be on the interviewee.

Now, it’s a different matter if the person has “stopped” mid-sentence and has then looked up to the left.

According to Science of People, “when people look up and to the left, they are remembering or recalling something tapping into the memory part of the brain.”

So if you see someone who did just that and you think they are looking for the right words, it’s acceptable to jump in and give the right word (if you think you know what it is) —and they may even thank you for it.

Listen More to Be Likeable

Harvard scholars have revealed that letting people talk about themselves is intrinsically rewarding, the same way that people feel about money, food and sex.

MRIs indicated that the brain sections connected with motivation becomes active when people talk about themselves – even if nobody is listening.

So there’s really no big secret in communication or how to make people like you. Just make them share more about themselves rather than focusing on yourself.

It gives them a more positive recollection of your interaction, making you instantly likeable.

Just by being there, listening and understanding, your presence becomes valuable. Did you ever have someone come to you and say, “it was really nice talking to you”? When all you actually did was simply listen and understand?

Whether in business, friendships or social settings, it’s always the same rule – more about them and less about you.

For example, let’s say you are in a business convention and you want to see some clients along the way.

Look for them.

Introduce yourself.

Listen, understand.

Let them talk about themselves.

Ask them about their business.

How they get started. You can even ask about any challenges they are facing.

In short, be genuinely interested.

Make the conversation about themselves. It’s like they’re having a session with a new friend or therapist – only they’re getting it for free. They may even be grateful for that.

And try not to talk about yourself – unless they express interest by asking, for example, “so, what do you do?”

If you listen more with the intent to understand, it shows your genuineness – you value their time and their opinion (even if you don’t believe in it) and accordingly you will unearth more about where the person is coming from. This means you can better communicate with them.

In the end, your reply doesn’t matter unless they ask for it. Because usually, it’s all about the other person. Make them the star of the conversation and you’ll be likeable in no time!

124 comments on “How to Be Instantly Likable!

  1. Febrina Tanghal on

    Hello guys, feel free to like, comment and share with my entry to the NUHA Foundation Blogging Prizes, 2018!

    Thanks in advance 🙂

  2. AJ Badoles on

    Great insight Feb. 😍. And you can sense the sincerity of the person in the way they listens and understands when someone is talking.. Kudos to you Feb.

  3. divine on

    Love it Feb.
    Personally, I get annoyed when a TV show host don’t even “hear” what the guest is trying to say. I can’t help but think that their show is just for financial gains.

    In my freelancing journey, this is one of the lessons I learned first from my mentor John, ” be genuinely interested in the prospect client ” and let them really share their goals, their strategies, their pains and even their dreams. In that way, I can assess better on how I can help them best.
    Congrats and goodluck to you.

    • Febrina Tanghal on

      Thanks Ate Divine! Yes, we popular local hosts like that 😉

      Yes, I agree with our Tribe Leader John–gained so much wisdom from him 🙂

  4. Tess C.Tanghal on

    Sincerity is reflected in someones reaction to a word or group of words…we are human not a robbot.
    Thanks for voicing it out, an eye opener indeed.

  5. Marina on

    Great article. I totally hear what you are saying. In fact when we listen to understand we can sometimes hear beyond what they are saying to what is not being said which can be really powerful! Thanks for the reminder x

  6. John Edgar G. Garingalao on

    Being likable…a priceless treasure. It also means empathizing with others. As the lyrics of an 80’s hit song tells us, “Wouldn’t it be good to be on your side…”

  7. Kay Zamora-Tabanao on

    Nice thought to ponder. Nowadays, we lost our basic communication skills and even forgot to observe good manners, especially in listening. Thanks for the timely reminder, Feb. You are not only beautiful, but a girl with brilliant ideas. Keep on reaching for your stars!

  8. Rodney Benjamin on

    Great article sis Feb, very practical and people-centered. This can be applied to everyone no matter what social status or vocation you belong to. Thank you so much sis!😊☺

  9. Jay-ar Capanas on

    Nice one sis. Communication 101. Indeed, listening is a skill that people should learn and practice. Make it a habit. 😊

  10. Lalaine on

    Nice article Feb….
    I was reminded then of what i have heard from one of our speakers in SHDP two weeks ago. He said, ” A self mastered individual, always has the ear to listen with less talk. And when she/he talks, there is wisdom.” And as such, we really do like him/her and even idolize him/her.

  11. Gladys Thielke on

    I agree with the main point – to really focus on the person we are with, not half listen and half prepare what we will say. However, I if we listen to people not because we value them but so that we will be liked, perhaps we are being self-centered??

  12. Wilfredo Hechanova on

    Great article Feb! Being genuine nowadays can be a challenge. Being likeable? Even greater. Thanks for the reminder!

    • Annette on

      Hi Jay,

      You are right on that. But what the writer is trying to point out is the value of really listening instead of just hearing. That some people simply listen to reply. Get it? 🙂

  13. Leigh on

    It’s a great piece, Febrina.
    However, that part when you said,

    “it was really nice talking to you”? When all you actually did was simply listen and understand?”

    I would be more appreciative if aside from listening, you will also give more inputs and content because I am also interested in what you want to say…

    That’s just my 2 cents…

    • John M. on

      You got a point there, Leigh. But what she means by this write up is that “just the mere act of listening” can go a long way.

      I mean personally, even if you’re there taking time to listen to me even if you don’t need to talk a lot, that’s a huge deal.

  14. She-Ann1 on

    I was looking all over for what it is or how it is to be likeable. It turned out that it’s all about listening… I thought there’s another real strategy

    • Pam on

      Yes She-Ann, I agree with the writer. there’s really no huge secret. It’s all about listening and paying attention.

      Did you notice that if someone gave you their undivided attention, it’s as if you have their ‘whole world’?

      • Jesse on

        Well, not reall “THE WHOLE WORLD” I have to disagree with that Pam, but maybe just enough to make you feel special even with just a few minutes

        • Pam on

          I respect your opinion, Jesse.
          But that’s also my own take on the matter.

          It’s because I have personally experienced this. Once in my life I was down and out and there’s someone who made me felt that way…

  15. GJ Jones on

    I love the simplicity yet sensibility of this article.
    Others write too complexly with too much gibberish.
    I love simple prose like this one but illuminate with so much meaning.
    Hope you win!

  16. A Kelly on

    Listening…it’s so simple yet so underused and underrated.

    Thank you for this gem of a piece. Though I agree with this, I think it’s worth to add that really listening mindfully is even better–being in the present. Good job.

  17. John O Lion on

    Well, this is a good post, insightful.
    But, for those journalists or hosts that cut their interviewees while they’re still talking, could it be that they also have something good to butt in?

    Just saying…

    • Ian X on

      John, I get what you mean.
      But still, since they’re the hosts, why can’t they wait till their interviewers are finished before they’ll have their say? Right?

      • LizMay on

        I agree with you, Ian.

        Since they’re the hosts and control tehir show, why not give the spotlight to their guests, like the writer said?

        They can always have their time to shine after the guests are gone. Duh

    • Ron on

      Yup, and I just knew now that listening is “letting people talk about themselves is intrinsically rewarding, the same way that people feel about money, food and sex.”

      So basically, you’re saying that listening can be classified in the same category of one’s basic needs?

      • L.V on

        Maybe not really as a “basic need”, but just as important…because truly, would you rather have someone listening to you, or yapping nonstop telling you what to do always?

  18. LaChelle Wieme on

    This is so true! As an introvert, I have found this to be an effective tool for me to strike up a conversation when I’m nervous. If I ask a ton of questions and genuinely care about what they say, it always goes well and I have also formed a great new relationship! Thanks for sharing.

    • KATIE on

      Well, LaChelle, I’m an introvert too!
      This is such an eye-opening piece. That to listen is having a huge power because people loves listeners more than talkers and I think I’m on the right track. LOL

  19. Dory on

    WELL, TALK IS CHEAP! For me anyway, no offense to the extroverts out there, but listening has a lot of sense with today’s chatter everywhere. That’s why I love this piece. It gives enlightenment for introverts like me…and you that we have a place in this world.

    Sorry for the caps lock

    • Tim on

      Well talk is not cheap, my friend. It’s just how you balance things. It’s not good if you don’t speak at all. Just striking a balance is ok.

  20. Blue Me on

    This is a good piece. Thanks for this. For awhile, I thought that being likeable is all about to be super sociable and to talk lots and make freinds as much as you can, adjust to them, blah bla,.. but this article proves the opposite. that being yourself like being me the introvert can be liked by others by listening.
    Introverts rejoice!

  21. Donnie Johnson on

    It’s a refreshing take on how to be well liked. I agree with above statement. That you don;t have to be pretentious to be liked by others.

    But still, it’s also good if you can offer some inputs–that’s just my opinion.

  22. Fred King on

    There’s a huge difference between hearing and listening. It’s just quite selfish to “hear” just so you can be heard yourself.

    • Bobbie Rayne on

      As the article says, communication should be a 2-way process. there must be give and take. And not only 1 party is giving and taking. Good.

  23. Angie on

    A lot here talks about being iintroverts. But personally, I think whether you are introvert, extrovert, ambivert or whatever your personality is, listening is a universal need.

    • RosyDaley on

      I second that. But you can’t really blame this selfie generation, esp the Millennials. They just say what they want to say…

      • Jaguar on

        I think it’s unfair to really pinpoint singular;ly on the Millenials. It’s not our fault that we were born on this generation.

        It’s on the person’s attitude and habits.

      • Net56 on

        I think there’s nothing wrong with talking as long as you’re able to strike a balance with value listening. We all value good opinions anyway

  24. MsMillenial on

    For me generally, it’s not just on the Millenials. Anyone living on this day and age–we are all may be susceptible to these trappings of social media and wnating to voice your opinion–good or bad.


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