Do This to Instantly Make People Like You, According to an Expert on Reading People

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It will make you more memorable, too.

When you meet someone–a potential customer, investor, employee, or just someone you’d like as a friend–wouldn’t it be great if you could make them like you right away? And even better, if they also remembered you more than other people? There’s a simple way to make both things happen: Pay them uncommon attention.

That advice comes from Wendy L. Patrick, a lawyer and expert on reading people and author of Red Flags: How to Spot Frenemies, Underminers, and Ruthless People. In a post at the Psychology Today website, she explains the power of this approach. “For most of us, certain people stand out,” she writes. These are the people that we go out of our way to greet or talk to, the bare acquaintances who somehow stand out in our our memory. Why do we favor these particular people? “Apparently, our unique attraction to them stems from the uncommon attention they bestow upon us.”

Research backs up her claim. Some years ago, researchers at Ohio’s Bowling Green State University set out to discover just which behaviors create the kind of personal relationships that matter most to customers. They learned that uncommonly attentive behavior, along with forming a personal connection and behaving courteously and with respect made up a formula that helped others enjoy the interactions they had with service people, and it often caused them to remember their interactions and talk about them later on. “This finding is consistent with common experience in public interactions where we often remember individuals, in settings both personal and professional, by the way they made us feel,” Patrick writes.

What does uncommon attention consist of, and how do you pay someone that attention in a way they’ll appreciate and remember? Patrick has several suggestions, all of which involve showing the other person that you both know them and “get” them, in the sense of understanding what’s important to them. Here are a few examples.

1. Remember details and ask about them.

Patrick writes, “Asking how 7-year-old Suzie performed in her first dance recital last week is better than asking, ‘How is your daughter?'”

In my experience, that’s exactly right. I’m bad at remembering names but good at remembering the things people tell me about themselves, and that ability has helped me many times create a stronger connection with someone when they realized that I was listening to what they told me and remembered it afterward.

What if you’re bad at remembering those details? There’s no shame in writing down a few details after you’ve talked with someone so you can check your notes before speaking with them again. Particularly if that person is a potential customer or investor.

2. Share information you know they can use.

If you know your acquaintance loves Japanese food, let them know about the great sushi place you just discovered. If you happen to know they’re looking for a new virtual assistant, and you happen to know someone who’d be perfect for them, make an introduction. Showing the other person that you know their needs and interests is a great way to forge a connection that they will remember for a long time.

3. Quote things they’ve said.

If your new acquaintance has said anything insightful about a topic you’re both interested in, make note of that and, if the opportunity arises naturally, quote them to themselves. That will show them that you listen to what they say and respect their opinion. This goes double for articles they’ve written, speeches they’ve made, or things they’ve blogged or posted on social media. If you want someone to like you and remember you, it’s well worth your time to search out and read some of what they’ve posted or published. This is also a great way of learning about their interests and the details of their lives.

There’s a growing audience of readers who receive a daily text from me with a self-care or motivational micro-challenge or tip. (Want to learn more? Here’s some information about the texts and a special invitation to an extended free trial.) Often, they text me back about their own thoughts and experiences. Many are entrepreneurs or business leaders and they tell me how important it is to their success to have people both like them and remember them. The truth is, it’s an important skill for most of us. Learning to pay uncommon attention to others can give you a big head start.