How to Get People to Like You in 90 Seconds or Less

Three Parts:Using ConversationUsing Body LanguageUsing Your Demeanor

You only have 90 seconds, so you gotta nail that first impression. Once you make it, it'll probably never change. Luckily, people all work pretty much the same way -- if you're enthusiastic and interested in them, they'll be likely to be enthusiastic and interested in you. But there's a bit more to it than that! See Step 1 below to learn how to make the most of that minute and a half.

Part 1
Using Conversation

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    Express that you're genuinely interested and enthusiastic. Point blank, people like people who like them. If you can show that you're genuinely interested in the person you're talking to and you're enthusiastic about what they have to say and just meeting them in general, you'll be set. You could practically start speaking gibberish and they wouldn't notice.
    • How do you do this? Well, smile, make eye contact, and focus on them. Ask questions. Engage. None of it's rocket science and almost all of it is common sense (we'll get to the counter-intuitive stuff shortly). If you go in with positive, good intentions, you'll be set up for success.
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    Ask questions. Because how else will you keep the conversation kicking? When engaged in a conversation with someone, be sure to ask them questions about themselves. People generally like to talk about themselves, so it is fairly easy to get people to like you by being a good listener and taking interest in what they are saying. They'll never notice they did most of the talking until it's too late!
    • On the other hand, make sure you bring up some interesting things about yourself as well, to keep the conversation open and reciprocal. You want to ask open-ended questions (that can't be answer with a "yes" or "no") and show your commonalities and personality, too. So instead of, "I went to London, too!" You say, "You were just in London? Awesome! I was there last spring with my travel group. What all did you have the chance to see?"
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    Compliment them. The easiest, quickest way to get someone to like you almost instantly is by complimenting them. We have all experienced that even the smallest of compliments can make our day. Just make sure you're genuine about it! Saying, "I, uh, like the shade of your teeth," isn't going to win you any fans.
    • Compliment them on what they are wearing ("What a beautiful dress you have; it really suits you.") or something that they've done ("Hey, that's a really clever way to tie your shoelaces, I'll have to try that next time!"). This works because naturally, it is hard to dislike someone who is saying nice things about you.
    • This is a tactic that needs to be combined with other tactics if you plan on being around this person for longer than 90 seconds. Imagine if you had a friend who just complimented you all the time. You wouldn't believe a word they said! So use this move, if you're thinking long-term, as icing on the rest of your personality cake.
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    Know their name. If you are meeting someone for the first time, it is assumed that within the first 90 seconds you will get their name -- and then you have 89 left to work the rest of your magic. Remember it and use it. At the end of the meeting, say your goodbyes but make sure to use their name, as it makes it more personal -- "It was lovely to meet you, Grace, hope to see you again soon".
    • Dale Carnegie stipulated that a person's name is to that person the sweetest sound in any language.[1] So use it and use it and use it. It's as close to casting a magic spell as you'll probably get.
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    Overflow with positive vibes. When in conversation, try to talk only about good or positive things. These are a lot more pleasant to hear than negative things. Talk about what you like or enjoy doing, your hobbies and special interests. Try not to badmouth anything or talk about your dislikes, because if you only have 90 seconds and are going on first impressions, you don't want the other person to think you have a pessimistic view of life.
    • True, commiserating is a highly-powerful bonding tool, but it shouldn't be utilized in the first minute and a half. Save that gem of a socializing tool for when you're a bit more acquainted with your counterparts. You want to be positive before you're negative.
    • To be sure that you stay positive, avoid peacocking yourself. So when that person you're making conversation with says, "Yeah, I just got back from London," you don't retort with, "Oh, is that right? Huh, I just got back from Paris and Madrid!" This isn't a contest. You're honored by their presence -- not trying to get them honored by yours.
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    Speak their language. In the book, "How to Get People to Like You in 90 Seconds or Less," Nicholas Boothman talks about "speaking the other person's language." He argues that most people are either visual, kinesthetic, or auditory -- and matching them will make you deemed more similar and more effective and thus more likeable. If you focus on whatever aspect they are, you'll make an immediate connection.
    • All sounds kinda abstract, doesn't it? The simplest example is to look at how they say, "I understand." If they say, "I see what you're saying," they're probably visual. "I hear what you're saying" is aural. And if they're using their hands, they're probably kinesthetic.
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    Ask for a favor. And yes, you read that right. This is known as the Benjamin Franklin effect -- ask someone a favor and they'll like you more. You'd think it'd be the other way around, but it's very, very not. It's all about cognitive dissonance and getting in their heads. Who knew it was so easy?
    • The idea here is that if they do something for you (which they probably will, if the favor you ask is small), their subconscious will be all, "Hmm...I just did something for this person I don't know very well...why did I do that?! Oh...right -- I must like them!" Sounds a little sketchy until you realize that sometimes our behaviors determine our thoughts -- and this is definitely one of those moments!
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    Know about the world and stand behind your beliefs. No one likes a person who just takes up space and is about as exciting as a wet blanket. Take the time to learn about the world you're in -- if not for you, but to make yourself more valuable to conversations. You'll be able to make input that people value and appreciate, making yourself interesting and memorable.
    • And if your opinions get sifted into the mix, make sure to stand behind them. If you flip flop and don't stay strong, you risk losing respect. Humans are attracted to people who are confident in themselves and their beliefs. So don't shy away! If you love Miley Cyrus, say it. If you hate puppies, well, just, explain your reasoning and move on. Honesty is always the best policy.

Part 2
Using Body Language

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    Smile. Smiling makes you look friendly, approachable and cheerful. These are qualities that people generally like to associate themselves with, in case you didn't already know! Turns out no one likes approaching strangers and putting themselves out there, so smiling is the first thing you can do to show them you're not scary. Even the most confident of people find it reassuring. And it doesn't cost a thing.
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    Mirror them. That's when you do just that -- you adopt their body positioning and/or facial expression like their reflection in a mirror. It unconsciously tells the other person that you're like them or that you feel the same way.[2] Ever been to a rock concert and you leave feeling that rush of being with 1,000 others all feeding off each other? It's because you're all swaying, moshing, and rocking out together. The same goes in a normal, everyday conversation! Very few words (or none) can be exchanged and you can still feel a bond.
    • If you purposefully go out of your way to do this 24/7, you'll probably be caught. But for 90 seconds, you're good to go. So mirror the angle of their body, put your arms in a similar position, and mirror their face, too. You'll probably feel the exchange of energy, too.
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    Make eye contact. Imagine meeting someone who is constantly looking three feet over your right shoulder. You'd practically have to trick yourself into not waving your hand over their face and screaming, "Buddy! I'm over here!" Save them the temptation and make good eye contact. It tells them that you're listening, you're interested, and you're engaged with them and the words they're saying. Not making eye contact is usually mistaken as just being rude.
    • If this is an issue for you, try tricking yourself by staring at the top of their nose, or only looking at them when they're talking and taking breaks while you're talking. You don't need to be looking at them 100% of the time. That'd be intense!
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    Open up your body language. This is important to show that you are polite and respectful -- if you don't, you risk looking rude and unapproachable. To paint the right picture in your head, imagine seeing someone with their arms and legs crossed, sitting in a corner, with their eyes glued to their iPhone. Would you approach that person? Would you classify them as "likeable?" Probably not. So make yourself open and available -- even when you think no one is looking!
    • A good portion of this -- besides just uncrossing your arms and keeping your head up -- is just staying engaged with the world and people around you. When your phone rings, ignore it. Show the person your time is being spent on them. Don't glance at your watch, or revert your gaze to your computer. Live in the moment with the people around you. Your phone will be there when they're gone, believe it or not.
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    Use the power of touch. Imagine Joe Schmo, your coworker says hi to you as he walks past your cubicle. You'll forget about that in about 5 seconds. Now imagine that Joe walks past your cubicle and quickly touches your shoulder as he greets you. Which feels more genuine and which makes you like him more? That's the power of touch!
    • Now imagine that Joe says, "Hey, [your name here]! How's your day going?" as he touches your shoulder. He's combined touch with your name and a genuine, interested greeting. And now? We like Joe Schmo. We like him a lot.
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    Make sure your tone, gestures, and words match. This is especially important when you're in a position of power or seeking a position of power -- namely, in the workplace. But it's also important when you're trying to persuade people or even just get a point across. If you want to be trustworthy and seem genuine, everything about you will be consistent. Think of your honey saying, "I love you" between gritted teeth and fist pump. Wait, what?
    • This is seen most often with politicians. Failed ones, that is. It's not uncommon to see an old white guy saying, "I'm in touch with the youngest generation. I know what matters to them," as he's shaking his fist, pointing his finger, and furrowing his brow. Nah. That just seems fishy and we can just sense it. It's a simple mistake that makes all the difference.

Part 3
Using Your Demeanor

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    Be confident. Weak personalities are somehow repellent. Pompous personalities are obnoxious and repellent in obvious ways. It's confidence that's attractive and draws us in like moths to flames. So in that 90 seconds you have, hold your head up high, throw your shoulders back, and smile. You got this. You're cool, calm, and collected. You're someone people would want to be around, you know?
    • And if you're in a situation that calls for it, make your handshake firm. A weak handshake is a turn off for most people, especially in professional settings. You want a handshake that says, "I'm here! Here I am!" and not, "I'm here, I guess. Here I am?" No thank you.
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    Dress appropriately. People judge on first impressions (and this includes your clothes) so make sure you dress appropriately for where you are. Nobody likes to see someone in home clothes at a fancy restaurant or someone with make up caked on their face at the gym. As much as we hate to admit it, clothes make up so much of what we think about people -- it's just so easy, we can't help but automatically judge. So dress for the occasion, whatever it is.
    • Think of the small things, too. Men might forget what their flashy, shiny watch says about them and women about their long, dangly, feather-y earrings. Everything down to your shoes, your make-up, your hair-style, and your jewelry adds a data point others can collect about you. So pick out your outfits carefully if you're looking to nail that first impression!
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    Adopt their attitude. This is a lot of the "seem similar" you've been hearing. Since people like people that they think are like them and have a certain amount of things in common (especially in the first 90 seconds of meeting), it's a pretty safe bet to adopt the attitude they show the world. So whether they're prim and proper or anti-establishment, if it's something you can pick up on easily, it's something you can adopt easily, too.
    • In other words, if they're hands-on, roll up your sleeves. If their tie is undone and their shirttails coming out, feel free to kick off your shoes. If they have a large latte from Starbucks in their hand, hold back the anti-capitalist remarks. Take what visual cues you can and embody them yourself, in your own little ways.
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    Don't be afraid to get goofy. Jennifer Lawrence was awesome in Hunger Games, but then she tripped up those stairs accepting that award and she became even more awesome. So when you spit your latte all over yourself at your new friend's new joke, relax. It might actually win you points, if you don't freak yourself out. They'll care just about as much as you care, so rock that stain! It brings the hazel out in your eyes, probably.
    • Everyone loves knowing that they're dealing with real people. On the inside, we're all dorky 7th graders scared of getting caught with our fingers in our noses. Embarrassing yourself (and being able to laugh about it) shows that you're real (and you're cool with it). What a relief!


  • When you make eye contact with them, don't stare at them like a weirdo. Just make eye contact with them when what they're saying is important, or at least important to them!
  • When in conversation, speak about general things that don't require much of a strong personal opinion. This is because if you choose to talk about highly contentious issues, you run the risk that the other person may have a very differing opinion to yours and your personalities may clash instantly. Then it will take a lot longer than 90 seconds to get them to like you again.
  • If you're having a bad day, stay at home. Bad moods are hard to shake and people pick up on them, mistaking them for negativity if they've never met you before. Wait till you're more positive!

Article Info

Categories: Conversation Skills