Originally Posted on Elite Daily
This past weekend I went to a wedding in Dallas, TX. It was a great time. The wedding was at the beautiful W Hotel, the drinks were flowing, and everybody was looking good, feeling good.
I often (sorta) joke that I am going to offer services to be a “professional plus one” at weddings for my career. I’ll have a website where people can rent me as their date for the weekend for three easy payments of $19.95.
I’ve been to a lot of weddings over the past few years and I feel like I work the crowd pretty good. I chat up the mother of the bride, teach the young nephew how to do the wobble dance, shake hands, crack jokes, hug a lot of random people, you know, all that good wedding stuff.
One of the things on my bucket list is to be like Vince Vaughn in Wedding Crashers. I want to be at a wedding where I don’t know anybody, give a speech, and just kill it. I want people to laugh and then cry and then laugh again, and when I sit down they lean over to the person next to them and ask “who was that?”
This wasn’t just a regular wedding though; it was for my girlfriend’s brother. I really wanted to make a good impression, so all weekend I used the one social skill that many of us suck at.
And it worked!
At the end of the weekend I had an older gentleman walk up to me on the way out the door and say how impressed he was with me. He said “you know, I’ve been to a lot of these weddings and there is always somebody that stands out, and you were that person this weekend. It was a pleasure to meet you.”
I lit up. It’s always nice to receive compliments, of course, but it was also really cool to see how easy it is to become likable. What is this one skill that’s easy to use, works like a charm, and yet most of us never do?
The social skill that makes you more likable:
Yep, actually listening to people makes you instantly more likeable. I know, I know, it’s not sexy, and sometimes it’s not that fun to do, but it’s a game changer.
We love to talk about ourselves. That’s why people post that they’re #hashtag #blessed about their college graduation on Twitter. It’s why I launched the #DCSummerTour on Instagram. It’s why when you scroll through Facebook it seems like all of your friends are millionaires, professional chefs, and world travelers even though you know your friends really aren’t that cool in real life.
We love to share and talk about cool things we have going on.
When we talk about ourselves and share our opinions it activates the same brain circuits as rewards like food or money do. So when somebody is talking to you, they have all thee feel good chemicals in their brain, and are associating those good feelings with talking to you. Even though you just sat there, they leave feeling positive vibes towards you.
Let’s take it back to second grade, and I’ll teach you a simple formula for listening:
- Stop talking about yourself
- Ask others questions about themselves
- Become a professional plus one at weddings
Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart, was known to constantly ask questions and take trips to competitors stores to check out their tactics and strategies. Once, he was even arrested in Brazil for crawling around the floor with a tape measure trying to figure out how far apart the aisles were spaced.
His management team would ask him why he doesn’t spend more time in his own store figuring out how to improve things, and he would respond that he already knows everything that his stores do. He wants to learn new things that make his stores better.
And that’s how I view listening. You already know everything about yourself. You know your story, your strengths, your interests, how you like your burger cooked, so spend time listening and learning about others.
I wrote about being likable before, and there are certainly other factors, but this is something that is so easy to start doing, and really does work. Try it, and do me a favor and share this with somebody who might find this article interesting or is about to be a plus one at a wedding.