Let's be real, many of us could be more intentional about how we are communicating as our likeability and overall success depends on it. When we communicate intentionally, we are mindful of our energy including our words, tone, and non-verbal cues, leading to more positive interactions and stronger connections with others. Here are some tips to help you communicate more intentionally and become more likable.
Tip #1 - Be Present & Interested
One of the most essential aspects of intentional communication is being fully present in the moment. People can tell when you're not present and it sends the message you don't value them. Do your best to avoid distractions such as phones or other devices and give your full attention to the person you are communicating with. Show genuine interest in their words, and actively listen without interrupting. Being present demonstrates respect and consideration for the other person, and it creates a foundation for meaningful and authentic communication. One of the best ways to show respect is to remember someone's name and to say it correctly. When people hear their names, dopamine (the feel good hormone) is released. Do your best to remember others' names and to say it when you talk to them. If others feel respected by you, they'll respect you too. In other words, they'll like you more.
“To be interesting, be interested.” ― Dale Carnegie
Tip #2 - Practice Active Listening & Notice the Energy of Others
Active listening is a crucial component of intentional communication. It involves not only hearing the words spoken, but also understanding the underlying message and emotions. Avoid interrupting, and give the speaker your full attention. Ask clarifying questions to ensure you understand their perspective and how they're feeling. Notice the energetic state they're in and acknowledge that it makes sense given what they've been experiencing or their past. People want to be validated for their feelings and when you are the person that helps others feel seen, you're way more likable and trusted. Note, acknowledging feelings doesn't have to mean you agree with someone's perspective, but that you can see why they'd think or feel that way given their life experiences or past events.
Tip #3 - Choose Your Words & Tone Wisely
The words we use have the power to shape perceptions and impact relationships because of the energy that is generated. Be mindful of the language you use and choose your words and tone carefully. Don't talk negatively about others, as that generates negative energy and people will begin to perceive you in a negative light. We often don't think of ourselves as negative people, but many of us can easily be tempted to talk negatively about a work situation or someone else's response to a situation if others bring it up. Avoid judgmental language that can create tension or misunderstanding. Instead, use positive and inclusive language that fosters mutual understanding and respect. Words like, we, honor, grateful, and excited all generate positive energy. Be sincere and genuine in your communication because your energy is felt and it is contagious.
Tip #4 - Pay Attention to Non-Verbal Cues
Communication is not just about words. In fact, only about 7% of communication is what you say. Communication also includes non-verbal cues such as facial expressions, gestures, and body language. Be mindful of your non-verbal cues and pay attention to those of others. Maintain eye contact. About 60-70% of the time is the sweet spot. Use open and welcoming body language, and avoid crossing your arms or displaying defensive postures. Also keep in mind what's appropriate for the culture of those you're talking to. Non-verbal cues can greatly impact how likable and approachable you appear to others.
Tip #5 - Show Appreciation and Gratitude
Expressing appreciation and gratitude in your communication can greatly impact how others perceive you. In any interaction, start off with appreciation and gratitude. It sets the tone for a positive interaction. Say something like, "Thank you so much for taking the time to meet," or "I so appreciate that you ______." Get in the habit of recognizing and acknowledging the contributions of others. This shows that you value and appreciate their input, and it promotes a positive and collaborative communication environment. Remember, one of the biggest reasons people leave jobs or relationships is because they don't feel valued or appreciated by others. Be the one who makes people feel seen, heard and valued.
When you're intentional with the energy you generate, you greatly improve your personal and professional life.
If you'd like to learn more intentional living tips or the energy of communication, take a listen to the Intentional Mind Podcast.