Alright, so what’s the trick? To make people like you, you have to become a good listener… but what exactly makes someone a good listener? It’s kind of counterintuitive.
Listening is not the same as “hearing” — it’s not about just giving the other person a chance to speak while you remain silent.
A good listener often interrupts the person who’s talking (wuttt?!).
Why does interrupting people make them like you more?
People like you when you actively try to understand them. They like you when you ask inquisitive questions that help you make sense of what they’re telling you. But it doesn’t end there.
By asking questions, you’re also helping the other person understand themselves.
You’re giving them the opportunity to pause and process their thoughts, and that is a rare gift to give someone. Most people just smile and nod.
That’s why interrupting people (in a particular way) makes the conversation feel meaningful for them.
They feel like you care more than other people, and that creates a unique connection between you.
But… there are certain questions that are better to ask than others.
What types of questions make people like you?
If you ask fact-based questions, people already have pre-cooked responses for them… so answering those questions feels less meaningful.
These are questions like:
- Where did you go?
- What did you do?
- Who were you with?
But if you ask inquisitive questions, they’ll make the other person think and reflect.
These are questions like:
- How did you come to that decision?
- What do you mean when you say __?
- Do you think that’s always the case, or just in this situation?
Feel the difference? It’s called active listening. It makes people like you. Check this out.
Good Listener Example #1:
Understanding Your Girlfriend Better
My girlfriend once told me, “I don’t like it when you tell me how to do things. I feel like you’re judging me.”
“I’m not judging you.” I said. “It was just a suggestion.”
I was not listening.
Regardless of how I experienced it, her experience was that I was judging her.
A bad listener focuses on responding to explain his own experience. Whereas a good listener asks inquisitive questions to understand the other person’s experience…
- “Which part makes you feel like I’m judging you?”
- “Was it what I said, or how I said it?”
- “How would you like me to make suggestions in future? Or would you prefer it if I didn’t make suggestions?”
A good listener improves the way he relates to people by understanding how they think. By understanding what’s important to them.
A bad listener learns nothing and leaves the other person feeling like s/he doesn’t care.
Good Listener Example #2:
Active Listening In A Job Interview
In an interview for a sales job I was asked, “How will you bring us new clients?”
I didn’t have an answer prepared so I panicked and responded with something generic that any blog post about sales would tell you.
I was not listening. Here’s what I mean.
I should have asked inquisitive questions to understand what the interviewer was looking for first, then used that understanding to craft a better response. Like this:
“Good question. I’d love to ask a few things about your current strategy before I answer if that’s alright?”
- “What’s your biggest bottleneck right now in getting new clients on board?”
- “What strategies have worked best so far?”
- “Is there anything you definitely wouldn’t try?”
Now, many of you will think you can’t do this in a job interview… but I’ve pulled this tactic quite a few times and here’s what happens.
It becomes more like a conversation than an interview and they often forget that you didn’t answer the original question.
The conversation moves on and you can feel them liking you more.
You stand out because you ask good questions, which is rare, so you get the job offer more often than not.
(Note: this will only work in a conversation-style interview. If it’s script-based, you’ll probably have to answer the questions directly… but you can still ask them to clarify.)
A Good Listener Also Knows When To Shut Up
If you feel like you often ask too many questions, you’re most likely asking shallow, fact-based questions.
- “How long are you going to be overseas for?”
- “What countries are you visiting?”
- “What are you going to do now?”
Because if you make the other person think deeply with inquisitive questions, they’re less likely to feel like they’re being “interviewed.”
- “What are you going to miss most while you’re overseas?”
- “What are you hoping to get out of the trip?”
- “Is there anything you’re worried about?”
Inquisitive questions naturally lead to longer responses which space out your questions.
But you should still share something relevant from your own experience so it’s not like you’re firing questions at them endlessly.
A good listener still gives the other person space to talk… BUT just remember that you can guide them with insightful questions.
So there you go. That’s one way to make people like you.Want more tips for improving your people skills?
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