It’s hard to say exactly what makes some personalities more likable than others. We know sarcastic, cynical talent has a hard time making friends on the air. And we know there are specific things that can be done to improve the chances of being considered a more likable personality. But there are many other things all personalities can do to be more likable.

This article explains how to develop more likable traits in your on-air personality. Including:

  • 14 proven tips and tricks to be more likable.
  • How to showcase a positive aura that attracts others. 
  • Why mastering these tips is the foundation for a successful personality brand.

How To Be More Likable

There are no shortcuts to success, but there are shortcuts to becoming more likable radio performers.

The best predictive trait of successful radio shows is simply whether or not I enjoy being around them. You probably feel that, too. Spend 10 minutes with the cast of  Free Beer & Hot Wings and you can’t wait to hear them on the air.

But scientists generally aren’t satisfied with answers like that and have spent years trying to identify specific factors that attract others. So let’s go with science and explore the most intriguing discoveries.

Apply these ideas to speed the process of advancing on the Personality Success Path.

Be Just Like Me

Behavioral scientists have found that reflecting on another person is a great way to cause others to like you. This technique is called mirroring, and it’s an effective method for getting better responses in interviews.

In 1999, New York University researchers documented the “chameleon effect”, which occurs when people copy each other’s behavior.

Researchers had 72 men and women work on a task with a partner. Partners either mimicked the other participant’s behavior or didn’t, while researchers videotaped the interactions. At the end of the experiment, participants indicated how much they liked their partners.

Sure enough, respondents were far more likely to say that they liked partners that had mirrored their behavior.

A radio show doesn’t have the luxury of interacting with each individual listener, of course. And no show will succeed by literally repeating what others say. But it’s important to reflect the attitudes and behaviors of a target listener.

Spend Time With Them

According to the Mere Exposure Effect, people tend to like those they are most familiar with.

Familiarity is Stage 2 in the Personality Success Path. It precedes Stage 3 (Growth), which is the gateway to success.

Psychologists at the University of Pittsburgh had four women pose as students in a class. Each woman showed up in class a different number of times.

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When experimenters showed male students pictures of the women, the men demonstrated a greater affinity for those they saw more often. They didn’t know them and hadn’t interacted with any of them. They didn’t even know their names. But they were more inclined to like them.

Radio stations have reduced the emphasis on personalities shaking hands with listeners. Stations are busier than ever at events and appearances, but it’s rare to see talent working the crowd. This is a missed opportunity.

In a Focus Group, a listener said:

I see the station all the time, but it’s always the staff at their tent. I have never gotten to meet any of the announcers.

Don’t underestimate the power of making personal contact. Elections are often decided by campaigns that get a politician out to meet the public. Voters and listeners support those they like! And they like people they’ve met personally.

Hand Out Compliments

Your mom said:

If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

She was onto something. Studies show that people associate compliments you hand out with your personality. It’s called spontaneous trait transference.

The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found this effect occurred even when people knew certain traits didn’t describe the person handing out the compliment.

Wow. Think about that.

What a powerful way to establish a character brand. This is a trick to become more likable and anyone can do it.

According to Gretchen Rubin, author of the book The Happiness Project,

Whatever you say about other people influences how people see you.

Studies also prove that the opposite is true: Personalities that make fun of callers or speak poorly of the audience will inherit those negative qualities.

Display A Positive Attitude

Simply being positive helps personalities become more likable. Emotions are contagious. People are strongly influenced by the mood of those around them, and they typically seek those that make them feel good. It’s much more fun to be around positive attitudes than Debbie Downer.

Ohio University and the University of Hawaii found that people sense emotion because it’s human nature to mimic the mood of those around us. This in turn makes us feel something similar to what they’re feeling.

To make others feel good, make a conscious decision to be in a good mood. That’s hard on some days, but it’s possible.

Be Warm and Inviting

There’s a popular theory that people judge others based on warmth, as long as it is sincere. It produces a personal bond and trust forms.

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What is warmth? It’s the ability to sound friendly and non-threatening.

Harvard psychologist Amy Cuddy says it’s more important to demonstrate warmth than competence. Her recommendation is to make it your top goal to establish a warm connection.

Worry about credibility after the other person starts liking you. Personalities genuinely interested in the audience excel in this area. It’s further proof that how you sound is at least as important as what you say.

Be Vulnerable

People like others even more after they make a mistake. Psychologists call this the Pratfall Effect. But only if that person is also competent and not just a bumbling fool.

Being vulnerable and revealing flaws or quirks makes a personality more relatable.

Researcher Elliot Aronson at the University of Texas, Austin first discovered this phenomenon when he studied how simple mistakes affect attraction. He asked male students from the University of Minnesota to listen to tape recordings of people taking a quiz.

When people did well on the quiz but spilled coffee at the end of the interview, the students rated them higher on likability than when they did well on the quiz and didn’t spill coffee or do poorly on the quiz and spilled coffee.

Showing quirks and flaws in a self-deprecating, honest way shows the audience you are just like them.

Emphasize Shared Values

People are more attracted to those who are similar to them. That’s common sense, but of course, there was a study that proved it.

It became known as the Similarity-Attraction Effect.

A researcher measured attitudes on controversial topics such as sex and politics. The respondents were placed in a house to live together.

By the end of their stay, the subjects liked their housemates more when they had similar attitudes about the topics measured. The research proved that, even though we may claim to be tolerant and unbiased, people interact more with those who share values.

Another study from the University of Virginia and Washington University in St. Louis proves that Air Force recruits liked others more even when they shared negative personality traits than when they shared positive characteristics.

Tell a Secret

Sharing something private is a great relationship-building tip. It can further establish an intimate bond.

In a study led by researchers at the State University of New York, college students were paired to spend 45 minutes getting to know one another.

Some of the student pairs were provided with a series of questions. Each got increasingly deep and personal. Other pairs were given questions best described as small talk.

At the end of the experiment, the students who shared personal questions reported feeling much closer to each other than students engaged in small talk.

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Personalities wishing to grow deeper relationships with listeners and build loyal fans will find more success when they share intimate details. Listeners want to feel close to air personalities, as long as the secrets shared are interesting and entertaining.

Have a Sense of Humor

The most important attribute of a radio personality is being funny. Make listeners laugh and they’ll love you. Research backs this up.

Studies from Illinois State University and California State University at Los Angeles found that a sense of humor is crucial.

In fact, the study suggested that participating in a humorous task (like having someone wear a blindfold while the other person teaches them a dance) can increase romantic attraction.

How’s that for a ringing endorsement of self-deprecating stunts?

Focus Attention On Them

Harvard researchers discovered that talking about yourself feels good, the same way that food, money, and sex feel good.

But it is deadly when imposing a self-absorbed conversation on others.

Those who shine a spotlight on others come off as much more likable than those who talk about themselves. Inviting someone to share a story about their life instead of blabbing about their own produces positive impressions.

That doesn’t mean all breaks should include listener phone calls. But there’s an art to telling personal stories in a relatable way.

Show That You Like Them

When we think someone likes us, we tend to like them as well. Psychologists call it ‘reciprocity of liking’.

In a 1959 study, participants were told that certain members of a group discussion would probably like them. These group members were chosen randomly by the experimenter.

After the discussion, participants indicated that the people they liked best were the ones who supposedly liked them.

More recently, researchers at the University of Waterloo found that when we expect people to accept us, we act warmer toward them – thereby increasing the chances that they really will like us.

All personalities demonstrate what they think of the audience, particularly through how callers and social media contacts are treated. When an individual listener is disrespected or treated rudely, the audience collectively takes on the feeling as if it were happening to them.

Be nice! Be respectful. It matters.


Creating a likable personality is an important step in building a 5 Star Personality Brand.

It’s not hard to be likable, though it is more difficult for some than others. Study these tips and practice likable skills. It’ll give you a much better chance of building a fan base.