There’s a formula to making a great first impression: Smile, make eye contact, be engaging. But first impressions can also quickly lose their impact, especially when there’s no substance beneath the surface glow.

Being genuinely likable over the long haul is tougher. Building and maintaining great relationships, consistently influencing others in a good way and making people feel better about themselves, those are things relatively few people can do.

But you can, because being the most likable person in the room has nothing to do with your level of success, or your presentation skills, or how you dress, or the image you project. Being genuinely likable is all about what you do.

How can you be more likable, in a sincere and authentic way?

1. Give before you receive, knowing you may never receive.
Never think about what you can get. Focus on what you can provide. Giving is the only way to establish a real connection and relationship.

2. Shift the spotlight to other people.
No one receives enough praise. That means one of the easiest ways to be likable is to tell people what they did well.

3. Listen three times more than you talk.
Ask questions. Maintain eye contact. Smile. Frown. Nod. Respond — not just verbally, but nonverbally. That’s all it takes to show the other person he or she is important.

4. Never practice selective hearing.
Some people — and I guarantee you know people like this — are incapable of hearing anything said by someone they feel is somehow beneath them.

5. Be thoughtful simply because you can.
Instead of turning idle time into “me time,” likable people use their free time to do something nice — not because they’re expected to, but just because they can.

6. Put your stuff away.
Don’t check your phone. Don’t glance at your monitor. Don’t focus on anything else, even for a moment. Give the gift of your full attention.

7. Never act self-important…
The only people who are impressed by your stuffy, pretentious, self-important self are other stuffy, pretentious, self-important people.

8. …Because other people are always more important.
You already know what you know. You know your opinions. You know your perspectives and points of view. That stuff isn’t important, because it’s already yours. You can’t learn anything from yourself.

9. Choose your words wisely.
The words you use impact the attitude of others.

10. Never talk about the failings of other people…
Don’t laugh at other people. When you do, the people around you wonder if you sometimes laugh at them.

11. … But readily admit your own failings.
Be humble. Share your screwups. Admit your mistakes. Be the cautionary tale. And laugh at yourself.

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