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4 Psychology-backed tricks to be more likeable

Getting people to like you, at your workplace can be difficult. You have to deal with people with different personalities and backgrounds. These four, psychology-backed hacks can help you get on the better side of your associates at work. Try them, you'll be pleased you did.

Humans are peculiar, in a quirky kind of way. A majority of us, believe ourselves to be rational and in possession of a high degree of common-sense. The fact of the matter is that is so not true. Studies on our behaviour suggest otherwise.

We rarely think, for ourselves, and often flow with the tide. We tend to become influenced by external factors - the people around us, the messages we receive and the circumstances. Now, that isn't a bad thing – for we can manipulate this human trait to our advantage. For this, we need to understand human behaviour and how we can tilt the scale to our advantage.

According to experts, there are four key psychological aspects of human behaviour that can be manipulated to shape strategic human relationships and reap goodwill all through your network. If you are struggling to be 'liked' at your workplace, these simple tricks might help.

You might ask, is this even essential? The answer is in the affirmative.

To be manipulative might sound like you are scheming, but there is nothing unethical in using these psychological tools to get ahead. These practices aren't manipulative in a harmful way. They involve making small, yet significant moves to encourage a professional relationship that help you be more likeable.

Find Common Ground

This simple strategy is most effectual. It is human nature to like someone and associates with them when we share things in common. It brings forth a certain bond. The similarities do not have to be work-related or be philosophical or religious beliefs. The connection could be your love for the same type of food, app or sport – whatever. The thing is the options for finding things in common are vast.

How to do it

You just need to look, to find that connection. Don't fake it, for the chances of the trick failing are heightened. Be genuine – you will certainly find at least one common ground to connect on with individuals within your group of associates. Once you make that connect, move in and let it work to your advantage. You have to be gentle, not pushy. Remember, you are building up relationships and not out fighting to win wars. Don't be too persuasive either, for your 'extra' enthusiasm could scare people away.

Build upon the mutual interest that you find, and look for ways to weave it into future exchanges. No matter what the common ground it, you will have to find ways to keep it alive through discussions.

How difficult is it to start a discussion about that match that Saina Nehwal won or having a conversation of the best coffee brew.

Why it matters

Discovering that you have something in common with a colleague can spur off a trusting relationship. The thing with trust is that it allows people to grow together – there are better opportunities to collaborate.

Show up

Connecting with people is easier when you remain in touch with them. If you want to have that connection with people, you will have to make efforts to be in constant touch with them. Nothing works better than being in the same physical space as them.

Why this works is quite apparent. There is an interesting fact divulged by research that indicates that humans have a tendency of favoring those that they keep seeing, despite the lack of interaction as compared to someone totally new. We are more likely to like people who we keep seeing, frequently. Psychologists term this as the 'Mere Exposure Effect'. It is a foundation for connecting people, as it creates more occasions for paths to cross.

How to do it

The key is to not go to extremes to make things happen. An overkill would ruin the prospects of a profitable working alliance from forming. Be tactful, and know what you are doing. Plan your move – for instance, strike a conversation in the cafeteria at your workplace, while waiting for your sandwich for lunch. Or smile when you bump into the person, in the elevator. Introduce yourself and strike up a conversation. Be subtle, but work your way through.

Why it matters

It is difficult to connect with people you rarely come face-to-face with. You might come across as a stalker if you pursue them, and you don't want that to happen. You can always have someone introduce you to the person. That can help. But, studies show that the 'likeability' factor is easier to assimilate when you remain in the person's visual frame. It greatly boosts your chance of getting along, when you actually begin talking.

Be generous – learn to give

Many years ago, an acquaintance helped me through a difficult period. I remain indebted to that person. I would go to any length to support that individual, just because they helped me. It is reciprocity, yes, but that is how helping someone works. When we help others, it starts a chain of events. And as a 'giver' you stand to gain because your manners endear you to other people.

Giving is a broad term that encapsulates little actions. Smiling, saying hello, holding the door for someone etc., are all signs of giving. Small as the actions might seem, they have a huge impact, in image building.

How to do it

Look for opportunities to help the person you would like to connect with. If you hear they are planning a vacation to Dubai, and you have traveled there earlier, you might want to help them with ideas on the best malls to visit in Dubai. Or guide them about things that locals take for granted and tourists do not find on their travel brochures. For instance, advise them on what to buy. Offer them as much advice as you can, adding that the information might be useful.

Why it matters

You are displaying a thoughtful gesture, and sending a signal that you are reliable and trustworthy and would make an excellent co-worker and teammate. Your actions also indicate that you are willing to help and can be depended upon. That is significant – because no one has ever made it to the top, without some guidance and support. Everyone needs some external help and when you demonstrate qualities of being the perfect aide, you set the stage for a long alliance.

Do as they do

Research shows that you become more likeable when you mimic others. Adapt your behavior to match that of people you want to get to know. It is not for nothing that they say about birds of a feather, flocking together. It's a no-brainier and people will definitely want to take you into their fold, once they realize, you to be similar to them.

How to do it

You don't want to scare people away or make it seem as though you are mocking them, for that would backfire. Show restraint and be subtle in your imitation. This is how it works – don't imitate every action, but if the individual speaks in a low voice, you do the same, instead of being your usual loud self. If they lean forward when speaking to you, do the same, making it seem as though they have all your attention. Be natural, don't let your actions be forced or put on.

Why it matters

It is a psychological game, wherein you mimic the other person, to show a connection. It is a signal to the other person that you two are aligned. If you have been observant you would notice that people tend to behave differently around people that they do not like. It is a way to disconnect.

Final word of advice

You need to remember that the approaches mentioned here aren't a magic wand that you can use to click, instantly, with people. These tactics work well, especially when they collaborate with other factors. Your overall demeanor has to be acceptable. For instance, you cannot be bossy and expect these tactics to work when applied. Creating a professional relationship is an art. When you want to be 'liked' at your workplace, you need to start by treating your associates with respect. The psychological insights just make the task a wee bit easier, giving you that extra edge. So, go for it – make changes in the way you approach people.

Article by Juana
Juana is a freelance writer, with years of experience, creating content for varied online portals. She holds a degree in English Literature and has worked as a teacher and as a soft skill trainer. An avid reader, she writes on a variety of topics ranging from health, travel, education and personality development.

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Author: Natarajan02 Nov 2017 Member Level: Gold   Points : 4

Interesting summary of tips that would be useful to many managers and supervisors. I think a pat on the back, few encouraging words and a certificate regularly or a group mail (best employee, star performer) may also work.

Some queries for the author please:

-Would incentives for little money or a small gift work better than these psychology based tips?

-Would a little bit of fear of attracting a penalty for underperforming help them to perform at the appropriate level.

I think it's important for the managers using these maneuvers to realize that these are not one-off but need to be done quite regularly. I hope the employees don't have any counter moves to trick us.

Author: Juana02 Nov 2017 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 2


Your response and queries are not in sync with what I have written. My article is intended for personal growth and has nothing to do with specific categories of people (managers & supervisors). The piece consists of tips for people in general, to be able to get along better with co-workers – to become more ‘likeable'. It is definitely not a guide for people at the managerial level on how to handle the staff.

Author: Natarajan02 Nov 2017 Member Level: Gold   Points : 0

Okay, thanks. It's aimed at colleagues/co-worker relationship. Sorry, the keywords workplace, psychology etc led my thinking in that direction. Yes, my queries are in sync with tips for supervisor or managers at workplaces and would they work.

Author: Neelam03 Nov 2017 Member Level: Gold   Points : 6

Reading this I article I find many interesting things about human behavior and how it influences others, especially the point about mimicking someone to have a better relationship with them. And all these points seem like that they can be used not only in workplaces but also in other social circles like in hostel life with total strangers and for students going out for the first time to stay connected to everyone.
Helping others do pay one day and more so if we do it without any returns and this point has also well explained in this article. I really liked this article and I think that I can use these techniques mentioned to better understand people and connect with them by trying to be genuine.

Author: Juana09 Nov 2017 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 4


Your suggestion/query was not in sync with the article.

However, to answer the same, I don't know what kind of fear tactics and penalty you propose, but in my opinion, such actions, by a manager would create disharmony.

Encouragement and motivation work best. Any manager, who uses fear and penalty to get his subordinates to work, would, in my opinion, be lacking in managerial skills. He would be a tyrant, instead of being a team player. He would never have his team's complete support. They'd unite to avenge him, whenever the opportunity arises. Such a person would have only his own interest in mind.

Good leaders recognise weaknesses and strengths of their team. They use the skills of their team to successfully complete the job. It is more productive to do so by channelizing the right talent and strengths of people. Fear and punishment are unhealthy, in every situation, even in the workplace.

Someone with leadership skills would set targets and motivate his team to complete them. In my experience, taking people along with you works best. It harbours positive attributes, such as involvement and participation, and helps in teambuilding.

Author: DR.N.V. Srinivasa Rao28 Dec 2017 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 4

A good article on how to be liked by many in the workplace. In our workplace, we will be having some seniors and some juniors. Different people will be of different types; the only common point being, the workplace. Give respect and take respect, is an important point to be observed there. Respecting in the sense that you should treat others as fellow human beings rather than subordinates. Sometimes if the subordinates are trying to tell you something you should not ignore them but should hear what they are suggesting and if that suggestion is good and is implemented, the suggestion should be acknowledged openly in front of others. Then the value for you will increase in their minds and they will try to follow you and will like you more. The tips given by the author are very good and if implemented, they will give good results. It is out of my experience that I am able to say that these tips are very useful.

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