There’s a post up on TIME.com about how to get people to like you better. A collection of tips from Robin Dreeke, the former head of the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Program range from the obvious (ask questions!) to the less obvious and more useful (best question to ask: what is challenging you?).
I always have my antennae up for skills that make up what is often attributed to charming individuals as a “reality distortion field.” At the end of the day, it’s a learned set of techniques for making the most out of your interactions with other people.
Here’s one of my favorite non-obvious tips from the TIME article, on making strangers feel at-ease:
First thing: tell them you only have a minute because you’re headed out the door.
When people think you’re leaving soon, they relax. If you sit down next to someone at a bar and say, “Hey, can I buy you a drink?” their shields go way up. It’s “Who are you, what do you want, and when are you leaving?” That “when are you leaving” is what you’ve got to answer in the first couple of seconds.
Research shows just asking people if now is a good time makes them more likely to comply with requests:
The results showed that compliance rates were higher when the requester inquired about respondents’ availability and waited for a response than when he pursued his set speech without waiting and inquiring about respondents’ availability.
Nobody wants to feel trapped talking to some weirdo. People are more likely to help you than you think, but they need to feel safe and in control.
The article closes with a good reminder: it’s not about tricks, but about trust and genuine interest. These are some ways you can show it better.