The good news is that being likable is fairly simply if you practice the skill of "perspective-taking."
The American philosopher George Herbert Mead called perspective-taking as having "the capacity to take the role of the other and to adopt alternative perspectives vis-à-vis oneself." And the legendary psychologist Carl Rogers defined it as the ability to "perceive the internal frame of reference of another with accuracy, and with the emotional components and meanings which pertain thereto, as if one were the person, but without ever losing the 'as if' condition."
Generally, you can use the perspective-taking approach to being likable when conversing with another person. When talking to a colleague, for example, the goal is to show them that you understand them because you've put yourself in their shoes.
It's important to note what perspective-taking is, and what it isn't.
Here's what it isn't:
- Nodding vigorously
- Mindlessly grunting, "Uh-huh," "sure," "I see" and so on
- Placating by saying, "I know what you mean" (when you really don't)
What it is, instead, is as simple as saying one sentence: "I can really put myself in your shoes."