Monday, July 16, 2007

How to Be More Likeable - President Lyndon Johnson's Get-Along Guide

In my never-ending quest to become perfect, I stumbled across the rules that former President Lyndon Johnson used to become more likeable. The rules served him well, he's often considered the most effective Senate leader ever, and the most popular. Enjoy.

1. Be An Old-Shoe Person. Johnson believed that you should try to be as familiar to a person as a pair of their old shoes. Focus on making other people feel comfortable being around you, and they'll find your company relaxing and enjoyable. The rules that follow are all techniques that will help you achieve old-shoeness.

2. Get Rid Of Your Scratchy Features. Face it, we all have annoying habits. For me, it's my constant need to be funny. For the rest of you people, it's your complete lack of a sense of humor. See you probably didn't get that joke. First, you have to figure out your negative traits. Ask a close friend, they'll have a whole bunch to share. Then you have to stop your yourself whenever you notice yourself doing it. Some examples: dominating conversation, argumentative, judgmental, prone to interrupting, arrogance, quick to anger, self-righteous.

3. Remember People’s Names. Remembering someone's name indicates to them that you actually care about who they are. Think about how many times you been at a party talking to someone you know could care less about you. Personally, it fills me with disgust. The trick is to repeat their name back to them to make sure you get it right, and then use it a couple of times in the conversation to cement the memory. If the name is unfamiliar, i.e. foreign or one of those weird hippie names, ask them to write it down. Tell them why. There's no shame in being a bad speller.

4. Cultivate The Quality Of Being Interesting. Being truly interesting. It means shutting up and letting the other person talk. The less you talk, the more interesting the other person will find you. It doesn't make sense, but it's true. People like to talk about themselves more then any other topic. Ask a couple of open-ended questions, sit back and listen. Possible questions: why did you decide to move here? How did you know that you wanted to do that for living? What's brings you to the party?

5. Practice Liking People Until You Genuinely Do. I'll be honest, I hate people. In general, I think as a species humans are ignorant and petty. And yet, I can't think of anybody I've met that I don't like. I can find something I like in just about anybody. And so can you. But you may have to look pretty hard. It helps to understand that when someone has some unattractive traits that those traits are usually due to stress, unhappiness, or poor breeding. Knowing that makes it easier to forgive them. It really does.

6. Never Miss A Chance To Praise. Be honest. Don't blow smoke. Insincere praise is worthless and transparent. However, if you're on the lookout, you'll find all kinds of legitimate reasons to praise people. By showing appreciation for the people around you, you can avoid the trap of taking them for granted.

7. Give Spiritual Strength To People And They’ll Give Genuine Affection Back. Be supportive. For most people, life is hard. We all have dreams, aspirations, hope. Don't be the person who is always finding reasons why other will fail, even if you believe that true. Change your mind. After all, who says you know everything. Instead, find ways to help, even if only through words of encouragement. Who knows, your kind words may be the nourishment that leads someone to the next great innovation or the love of their love or a fulfilling career.