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11 simple social skills that will make you more likable

Angelina Jolie Brad PittAndreas Rentz/GettyDon’t underestimate the power of smiling.

Being likable is entirely under your control. All it takes is the ability to pick up a few key social skills that build emotional intelligence.

To help you out, we sifted through the Quora thread, “What are useful social skills that can be picked up quickly?” and highlighted our favourite answers.

Here are eleven simple ways to start crafting a “million-dollar personality” and be the most likable person in the room:

1. Make eye contact.

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'It is an idiotically simple thing, but it remains one of the most impactful life hacks around,' writes Quora user Brad Porter. 'The most attractive quality in a person is confidence. But 'be confident' is not very good advice. Instead, find the best proxy for confidence, in terms of interactive behaviour. And that's eye contact.'

Start this habit immediately, says Porter. It requires no practice or special skill -- just the commitment to meet someone's gaze and look them in the eye while conversing.

2. Put your smartphone in your pocket.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

And keep it there until your conversation or meeting is over. Basil Chiasson puts it simply: 'Pay attention. Look at them. Stop what you're doing. No interruptions.'

This is another simple, yet effective, habit that can be executed immediately and does not require any effort or skill.

3. Call people by name.

Chris Hondros/Getty Images

The next time someone greets you by name or uses your name mid-conversation, remember how great that feels.

If you have trouble putting names to faces, try different strategies, such as writing them down or using imagery or rhymes associated with the name. Quora user Howard Lee suggests repeating their name verbally when you're first introduced and then twice more in your head.

4. Smile.

Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Don't underestimate the power of smiling.

Additionally, laugh and tell jokes, recommends Quora user Craig Fraser. People unconsciously mirror the body language of the person they're talking to. If you want to be likable, use positive body language and people will naturally return the favour.

5. Give a firm handshake.

'Not too hard, certainly not limp and soft, and with no dominance play,' writes Tony Vincent.

Research shows that people decide whether or not they like you within seconds of meeting you. A firm handshake contributes largely to that first impression, as do strong posture and positive body language.

6. Listen.

Andrew Redington/ Getty.

Listen more than you speak, says Quora user Mark Bridgeman: 'You have two ears, only one mouth. That's the ratio you should use them with.'

7. Don't just listen -- actively listen.

Simply hearing words doesn't cut it. Likable people truly listen to the person they're talking to.

Active listening requires four steps, writes Chiasson: hearing, interpreting, evaluating, and responding.

Step one requires dropping what you're doing and paying attention. Next, 'paraphrase what you've heard and ask clarifying questions,' she suggests. Evaluating means steering clear of quick judgment and jumping to conclusions: 'Make sure you have all the pertinent information before forming or expressing an opinion.' Finally, 'give feedback to let the speaker know that you heard them,' she writes.

8. Flatter people.


'This grabs people directly by their ego and is therefore extremely effective,' writes Julian Reisinger.

He suggests using conversation openers that make the other person feel like an expert such as, 'You know a lot about social marketing, don't you?' or 'Do you know why I always get this error message?'

This way, you learn something new and the other person gets to feel needed. 'It's as easy as that, it's a win-win, and it works 100% of the time,' Reisinger explains.

9. Know how to accept a compliment.

Via NBA/YouTube

Accepting a compliment can be tricky because you don't want to seem egotistical.

However, you also don't want to mumble a 'Thanks, you too' because that makes you seem self-conscious and socially inept.

So instead of giving phrases like 'You look ten times better than me' or 'It was all thanks to you,' Reisinger suggests accepting the compliment with confidence by using phrases like 'Thanks! Hearing that feels really good' or 'Thank you! What an amazing experience.'

10. If someone is interrupted, ask them to continue.


Everyone has been that person who is telling a story, gets interrupted, and then has to awkwardly stand by, wondering if anyone was even listening to you.

Milena Rangelov
says you can be that person's liberator by saying something like, 'Hey, can you please finish your story about the bicycle ride? The last thing you mentioned is that dogs started following you. Can I hear the rest, please?'

You will instantly put the speaker at ease and make them feel appreciated, she writes.

11. Don't complain.


Being around negative people is draining.

That's why Milena Rangelov calls them 'energetic vampires' -- 'because they suck your energy.'

Being a Negative Nancy is an instant turnoff. If you notice yourself complaining while everyone else starts to look distracted, do yourself a favour and pick a new topic.

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