Are you likeable? If you’re having trouble getting prospects to like you, you may want to try not talking. (This was a hard lesson for someone like me who speaks for a living.) Research, however, clearly suggests that the best way to engage with people is to get them to talk.

Who does the person you’re having a conversation with care about more: himself or you? Did you know that the average attention span in the United States is nine seconds? This means that no one is really listening to anyone. But you can stand apart from the crowd by being the one who actually listens. And by so doing, you can show someone who you really are: someone who cares.

The quickest way to get people to like you is to pay attention to something that is of importance to them. The quickest way to turn them off is to tell them all about you — even if they ask.

The reality is that the more you talk, the less people will like you. And in business today who doesn’t need more people who like them, support them and tell others about them? I know I do!

Sign up for The Lead and get a new tip in your inbox every day! More tips:

Maribeth Kuzmeski is the founder of Red Zone Marketing, LLC, which consults to Fortune 500 firms on strategic marketing planning and business growth. For more information, go to www.redzonemarketing.com.