Do you remember your first job interview? And how much your parents stressed that you absolutely needed to ask questions. Well, even though that might have been for a minimum-wage job scooping ice cream, turns out your parents, like usual, were right.
As Mark Cuban states, being nice is one of the most underrated business skills.
While we all can’t be as loved as Beyoncé, there is an easy way to be liked at least a little bit more. In a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Harvard researchers found a simple fix for becoming more likable: asking questions.
People who ask more questions during a conversation are perceived as more likable than those who talk more about themselves. The researchers theorized that asking questions shows a genuine interest in the other person, which in turn fosters a connection and increases likability.
It makes sense - people love to talk about themselves.
Think about it… 80% of posts on social media sites are just simply announcements about one’s own immediate experiences. And “in the real world”, 30–40% of everyday speech is used to relay information to others about one’s private experiences or personal relationships (who doesn’t love some juicy gossip).
Asking questions can also help build trust, foster understanding, and lead to better relationships. In a business setting, asking questions can help build rapport with clients or colleagues, leading to increased success in sales or negotiations.
While the findings of the Harvard study may not be groundbreaking, they serve as a reminder that often the most effective communication strategies are the simplest. People flock to “social psychologists'' and “people thinkers” such as Adam Grant, Liz Fosslien, Amy Cuddy, and Liz Ryan among others for advice on connection with others and improving workplace relationships. However, the solution is simpler than you may have thought. By showing genuine interest in others through asking questions, we can build stronger relationships and increase our success in both personal and professional settings.
How can you ask more relevant questions (especially to someone you’ve just met)?
Try utilizing a personal user manual. These manuals differ from a resume or a LinkedIn profile because they truly embody both the professional and personal aspects of a person. Connect with someone over their favorite album being Lemonade or the fact that they’re dream job is to be a backup dancer rather than just “so, how long have you been in marketing?” Pro tip: be sure to exchange personal user manuals before a meeting or interview to gain a better understanding of how to connect.
Ready to increase your likeability? Create your free, shareable personal user manual here.
Cover Photo Source: BeyZ / Splash News