8 Assets to Boost Your Likeability


“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” ~ John Wooden

This is not some secret sauce, code or insider information and it’s not complicated. Likeability is a powerful, intangible super power to have.

I’ve been stepping up my networking lately to open up new relationships and communities. In observing how people approach networking, I clearly see how powerful likeability is. It opens doors and it doesn’t hurt that you bring a smile to someone’s face when they meet you or talk about you to others.

As a small business branding and social media strategist, people are always asking me how they can generate more connections, leads and make more sales. Likeability is a big key in achieving this.

Truth is likeability, trust, character and the experience we create for people and each other are absolutes. Likeability has won presidential elections, has fueled comebacks and has sold millions of movie tickets.

Likeonomics: The Unexpected Truth Behind Earning Trust, Influencing Behavior, and Inspiring Action by Rohit Bhargava begins and ends with the idea that:

Personal relationships are the only currency that matters.

Remember companies don’t hire or refer you, people do. So likeability is a great way to get things started.

Aside from the obvious things that consultants, experts, authors and psychologists recommend, below are the top assets that I believe make us more likeable and trustworthy to each other.

How to Boost Your Likeability

Be Knowledgeable

Smarts, emotional intelligence and being knowledgeable about what we do can apply to carpentry or engineering. Be a student of your industry and know the most you can about it. Don’t try to fudge your way through things because they are “hot.”  You’ll be exposed for what you don’t know quickly.

Your goal is to be thought of as “the best of” in your field.

Be Credible

Establish your expertise over time and leverage all the results, testimonials and people you touch and help.

Publish a book, blog, speak, write, volunteer or take on a project so people can see you in action.

Be Honest

Stick with the truth and it will always set you free. If you screw up or make a mistake, come forward and come clean as soon as you can in the most appropriate way.

Take a cue from Tiger Woods, Martha Stewart, Robert Downey Jr. or Bill Clinton.

Be Pleasant

Create the most enjoyable experience you can with people, so that they remember you for that.  Deliver it whenever you have an opportunity to.

Be Optimistic

Nothing is worse than negative complainers who always see the glass as half empty. It’s a downer and won’t advance your charisma. Find the silver lining, the ray of light in the clouds and work on your positivity.

Good energy is viral.

Be Consistent

I would say this one quality has more impact on success today than most. Consistency allows people to know what to expect from us and keeps us in front of  them.

Even moderate consistency of good work can yield results and work really well.

Be Engaged

Meet Generation C, the connected culture and customer. Being digitally and socially connected is valuable capital today.

Using  influence, clout and community to educate and inspire is a brand asset that can advance not only you, but colleagues, ideas, issues and yes – sales.

Be Caring

The power of kindness, caring and tolerance never, ever goes out of style, so make it a brand accessory daily.  Especially in the Generation C (connectivity) culture and younger generations, it is indispensable.

So build character and reputation around this.

If you think about people that you like a lot, what are the qualities and assets that you like about them?

Popular Concept Photo via Shutterstock


Deborah Shane Deborah Shane has been recognized as a Top 100 Small Business Champion and Top 50 SMB Influencer (Dunn and Bradstreet 2015). She is a career transition author, personal branding and social media specialist. Deborah's book "Career Transition: Make the Shift" is available through all major book sellers.

29 Reactions
  1. Excellent advice, Deborah. Character is something you should refine and improve, and if that still doesn’t help polishing your reputation then maybe prioritizing what others think of you is a poor trait on itself. Developing character can build reputation in the end.

    • Thanks Ava, people try so hard to get noticed, but in the end it’s about who we are and consistently being who we are.

  2. I have to admit that I often fail in consistency. I guess it is because I usually have too much going on that I tend to shift to the task at hand. The problem with this is that it can confuse other people as to who you really are. I guess I have to work more on that.

    • Aira, that is the biggest challenge of our cluttered, fast paced world. Discipline and wanting to do it helps tremendously. We keep trying and working on it.

  3. Good post Deborah, you would think that all of that would be general common sense to many, but there are still so many people out there in business wondering why nobody really likes them. They can huff about it not being a popularity contest, but it really is and their business may be at stake.

    • Ed, I know what you mean about common sense, but sadly it’s true. Wrong motives and quick gratification just doesn’t bode well for sustainability. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Hi Deborah,
    People often talk about consistency, but I think some small business owners still don’t know what exactly that means. Letting people know up front what to expect from your products or services is an aspect of your brand too. And yes, even being consistently bad, unfortunately, gives customers what they need to make a decision…even though that decision is generally to buy from someone else.

    • Shawn, spot on. Consistency for sure works both ways, but consistently good is the only way to build the loyalty and long term. The consistently bad pretty much assures you will be gone pretty fast.

  5. Consistency allows people to know what to expect from us and keeps us in front of them. Even moderate consistency of good work can yield results and work really well.

    • Diana, I couldn’t have said it better myself. (smile)Consistency of good work is also the best way to get referred. People are always asking people they know and trust to refer good people.

  6. When I was reading your article, I was thinking that I would add one more thing to the list, dedication. But then I realised that if you do all of the things you recommend, dedication to your customers is the result. A very insightful post, really enjoyed it.

    • Ashley thank you! I really tried to think of the assets of people I know who I like a lot. There are many others but many are wrapped in these. Come back!

  7. Although these tips aren’t very new, sometimes it is good to be reminded about the importance of accepting your mistake, taking criticism, and maintaining positive attitude. And of course, one of the main goals of all social media experts and content marketers – being as helpful as possible to your audience.

    • Viktoriya, that was one of the points I wanted to make. It’s not some insider, or secret thing. These are timeless professional fundamentals and personal values, that work.

  8. Enjoyed your post, Deborah. I am currently reading a little book, “The Go-Giver” by Bob Burg and John David Mann, which is right in line with your thoughts. Thanks for sharing!

    • Bob Burg is awesome and well known for his ideas on this. Thanks for coming by and “go-give”.

  9. I like this and you are right. To be Honest I really think is very important. Do not fake anything but show the truth. For example do not fake your business is bigger than you are of longer in business.

    • Stefan, people are smarter and more savvy. We need to respect that.
      Thanks and please come back!

  10. Just showing that you care goes a long way!

  11. Deborah,

    If I may, I want to add one more to your list: Be ethical.

    Especially in business or any endeavors involving money in the equation, ethic is a major issue.

    For example, promoting your business is a must-do, but doing so while spreading negative rumors about your competitors is not ethical, really.

    • Ivan, that’s an important one, and I would say that somewhere inside of Be Honest and Be Credible lies “Ethical”! Thanks you for your thoughts on this.

  12. Great advice – but not surprising. All of this applies to everything in life which goes to show there is no magic formula for being liked online. Just be nice and helpful.

    • Emily, like I started the post, it’s not a secret or insider info. Indeed it simply is about being nice and helpful. Love the simplicity of that. Thanks!

  13. This is a great list, Deborah. Thanks for posting. I think for me being honest also means being authentic. Everyone wants to feel like they are getting to know the real you. Especially when business partnerships are involved. You can build much more meaningful relationships when being honest + truthful. And being engaged is critical in our world of connectedness, especially when face-to-face in conversation or meetings. Just tonight I read that 1 in 3 families are regularly using smart phones + tablets to talk to each other when they are in the same house. Oddly the study found that using the multiple devices is bringing families together. Fascinating how the likeability outcome can sometimes differ between home and office.

    • Wendy, thank you for your thoughtful, smart comments. In the social content world authenticity is one of your greatest assets. If it carries over to in person, then you seal the deal with people. Dishonesty in business is tempting, but it’s so short term. Respecting the public’s intelligence will be rewarded. Customers are way more savvy then they used to be. I am not surprised about that study. Connecting on technology is a touch be it across the pond or upstairs. Please come back.

  14. 8 excellent ways to increase likability. Some seem simple, but I think some are forgotten. The golden rule is so important in life, both business and personal.

    Great post, Deborah!

  15. Thanks Adam! They are simple, fundamental and they do sometimes get forgotten and buried in massive messaging that comes at us. But, they are timeless, and work perfectly when used and applied. Come back!