Within seconds of meeting you, people are already making judgments about your personality.
Those assessments can influence whether they want to hire you, date you, or be your friend.
So you’ll want to do everything you can to make the best impression possible — before it’s too late.
To help you out on that front, I checked out “How to Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less” by speaker and author Nicholas Boothman. The book highlights a key strategy for ingratiating yourself with your conversation partner while greeting them.
The best part? The whole process takes just four seconds. Read on to find out how to become instantly likable.
1. Be Open
Boothman says you’ll want to open both your body and your attitude.
In terms of your body language, Boothman says you should aim your heart directly at the person you’re meeting. Don’t cover your heart with your hands or your arms. And if you’re wearing a jacket, unbutton it beforehand.
It’s equally important to cultivate a positive attitude. While you’re greeting the person, Boothman says you should feel and be aware of that positivity.
2. Make Eye Contact
Boothman says you should be the one to initiate eye contact, and let your eyes reflect your positive attitude.
If you feel uncomfortable making eye contact, he suggests a strategy for getting used to it: When you’re watching TV, note the eye color of the people on camera and say the name of the color in your head. The next day, do the same thing with every person you meet.
Just make sure to look away at some point — as Carol Kinsey Goman writes on Forbes, too much eye contact can feel rude or intimidating for the other person.
Boothman advises being the first one to smile. You’ll send the message that you’re sincere.
Research also suggests that smiling when you meet someone in a happy context is a useful way to get them to remember you.
4. Say “hello”
Whether you say “hi,” “hey,” or “hello,” or use another salutation, you should sound delighted to be making this person’s acquaintance.
Next, you’ll want to extend your hand. Make sure to give a firm handshake, which generally creates a more positive impression.
When the person you’re meeting gives his or her name, try to repeat it a few times. For example, you might say, “Sara. Nice to meet you, Sara!”
If you’re meeting multiple people and can’t shake everyone’s hand at once, Boothman says it’s possible to conduct a “hands-free” handshake. Do everything you’d normally do while shaking someone’s hand — point your heart in their direction, say hello, and smile — but don’t extend your hand.
5. Lean In
There’s no need to fall over into the person you’re meeting.
Boothman suggests an “almost imperceptible forward tilt” to show that you’re open to and interested in what the person has to say.
Communication is the backbone of a relationship in terms of keeping both partners feeling heard and understood. Nobody can read your mind, nor should they expect you to try to read theirs. Being able to openly and honestly communicate with the person you’re committed to can make or break your relationship.
You’ve got some semblance of a path in life.
It’s difficult to plan a future with someone who has no future plans for themselves. Things change and life throws curveballs at us — nobody can be expected to have it all figured out, but giving it a try is a good start.
You can let the little things slide
No matter how well two people get along, odds are you will not like every. single. little. thing. about the other person. There may be small quirks that you’ve got to accept (and maybe ignore). If you get annoyed by everything they do, it will cause unnecessary tension in the relationship.
You are ready to accept someone as they are
You can’t enter into a relationship with the hopes of molding someone into who you want them to be. It’s important to note that in a healthy relationship, both partners will motivate each other to become the best versions of themselves — this is not the same as trying to change someone’s nature.
Happiness comes from the ability to be honest, and the ability to be honest comes from being able to open up to someone without being judged.
You don’t look for someone to complete you
You, right now, are a whole complete person. If you think you need to be in a relationship in order to be “complete,” you will always be looking for something you can never find. True fulfillment and satisfaction comes from within, and you cannot fully, effectively give yourself to someone until you’ve found it.
You don’t need someone to complete you, only someone to accept you completely.
You are happy being single
If you’re not happy being single, you won’t be happy in a relationship. As said in the point above, true happiness comes from within. Single is simply a word to describe someone who is strong enough to live their life by themselves until the right person comes along to share it with.
If you’re constantly searching for a relationship out of loneliness, you will find yourself with the first person who comes along that is interested in you. We all need to have the dignity and self-respect to only commit ourselves to those who deserve it, and the only way to be able to wait for that is to be happy before they come along.
Your ex is no longer a factor
We all have a past, and the new person in our life needs to be able to accept that. But, we also have to accept that about ourselves, and be able to leave it in the past. Obviously this is not cut and dry if there are children involved or other mutual commitments independent of the relationship.
I understand that in some rare occasions people stay friendly with their exes or maybe even spend time together, but in most situations, in order to truly move on we need to spend time completely cut off from them. No communication, no time together, nothing.
Until you are completely over your ex and can give your full time and attention to someone new, it is better not to commit.
You are ready to blend your life into someone else’s
While a relationship cannot be your entire life, it does permeate its entirety. You become connected with their friends, families, hobbies, pets, living situations… and they become connected with yours.
Sure, some privacy is important, but your willingness to fully accept someone into your life and routines is what will let the other person know you truly care and are ready to make a commitment to them. They will become your teammate in taking on life together. You will be building bridges between your lives rather than walls.
More important than some sort of “checklist” though, is something nobody else can ever tell you — how you feel inside. I believe when we reach the right phase in life or come across the right person, we will know we are ready to leave the single life behind and build a life alongside them.
But, until that person comes along, it’s important to work on ourselves and define our own happiness which we can then share with them.