Sometimes, when I come across someone who has low likeability, it is because they have flat affect. In other words, they are not visually expressive.
Expressiveness is a personality trait.
High expressives enjoy showing their emotions: happiness, disgust, anger, excitement, sadness… They don’t mind using their emotions to influence others, either.
Low expressives experience the same emotions that high expressives do, but low expressives like to control the demonstration of the emotion. They often subsume the emotion under logic or procedure and do not use it as one of the ways they influence others.
A low expressive finds it uncomfortable or even fraudulent to offer smiles, jokes, or laughter to warm up an audience. The result? They are not perceived as likeable as someone who is expressive.
What can a low expressive person do?
- Offer self-effacing or humanizing stories
- Use richer emotional language (“This meant a lot to me.”)
- Use warm gestures – they can touch their chest when they say things like, “This meant a lot to me.”
- Add humor through visuals
- Ask someone to introduce them who can build up their reputation as a warm, feeling person
- And, if they can’t manage a smile while presenting, perhaps they can manage pleasant face… a face that is slightly more positive than neutral