This article is part of our cues guide. Click here for more.
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- Learn the Secret to President Obama’s Vocal Charisma
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The verdict is in: Morgan Freeman is the most liked contemporary actor in America, according to a YouGov poll.
In this article, we will break down his cues and exactly what he does to be a little more likable—and how you can learn to be more likable, too!
Let’s dive in.
Cue #1: Comfort Cues
Our emotions are contagious. We like to be around comfortable, confident people because we “catch” their positive emotions.
Morgan Freeman oozes with comfort. He’s relaxed, calm, cool, and collected. Watch how he enters the room and makes everyone feel he’s got everything under control.
Likable people acknowledge. Morgan did a nice, slow, and solid handshake with Jimmy—not a rushed, sloppy one. He then acknowledged the audience using not only eye contact, but also waved twice to welcome them. And did you notice how he sat down on his chair like it’s his own living room?
Morgan Freeman’s calm, comfortable attitude is the key to being likable.
In fact, the more comfort cues we send, the better. When you show comfort cues, it signals to someone you feel comfortable with them—and it also makes them more comfortable, too!
Cue #2: Be Honest & Humble
One thing’s for sure…
Being likable does not equal being impressive.
In the following clip, Morgan shows vulnerability by saying he’s under duress while trying to fiddle with his jacket button instead of trying to impress people or play things off. Some people might think that impressing people is the fastest way to being likable, but it can actually be the wrong way to approach likability.
Richard Wiseman actually did a fascinating social experiment about testing the idea of perfection and vulnerability—or in other words, do we like people who are perfect or show vulnerability. Here’s what happened:
- Richard hired an actress to demo a blender in a mall. Her task was to throw in some fruit and make smoothies.
- The first time, she made a perfect smoothie that tasted fabulous.
- The second time, however, she was asked to make a purposeful “mistake” by spilling the smoothie.
The result? It turned out that people liked her more the second time when she showed vulnerability.
You don’t have to be perfect to be likable.
In fact, many of us would rather spend time with someone who’s relatable and not always showing their perfect side.
If you’re still having doubts, let’s watch this clip when Morgan actually fell asleep while being interviewed together with his co-star! Talk about relatability.
This little clip took the internet by storm. And guess what? People liked him even more!
Why? We’ve all had our tiring days, and falling asleep once in a while is a normal thing for us. And Morgan’s admission of that vulnerability made us like him more because it is real. Plus, he used this experience to tease himself in his following interviews instead of taking it personally.
Cue #3: Thumb Pinch
A thumb pinch is when you form a fist with your hand and place your thumb prominently on top. This is a favorite of power move players like Barack Obama, who did it 93 times during his inauguration.
I talk about the thumb pinch a lot in my book Cues: Master the Secret Language of Charismatic Communication.
It is one of my power cues. Let’s see this Morgan speech when he’s giving a toast to his buddy Denzel Washington and how he used the thumb pinch to be more likable.
The thumb pitch is an easy emphasis gesture that you can add to your words to look more engaging. It’s also purposeful. Generally, it is better for you to be more purposeful with your gestures because you’re more in control. Highly likable people might use their hands a lot, since it can be used for acknowledging and engaging with others (aka providing positive feedback).
Cue #4: Mirror and Match
Highly likable people tend to be super attuned to others. They may be more aware of others’ needs and constantly reading verbal, non-verbal, vocal, and emotional cues.
Check out this clip from Morgan Freeman’s documentary, where he spots a difference in non-verbal cues between him and the other person:
See the accommodating gesture? Instead of forcing a handshake, he immediately mirrored the way the monk greeted him.
This is just one way to be the most likable person in the room. If you want more in-depth tips and free training, check out our guide:
Be The Most Likable Person In The Room
Learn the skills we’ve taught 500k+ students to become more charismatic and successful — including:
- 💝 5 phrases that will make you instantly more likable
- 🤯 Our secret likability strategy for introverts
- 💬 The #1 trick to never running out of things to say
Cue #5: Be Playful
Most people love being around others who don’t take themselves too seriously. Let’s see how Morgan played with his answer when asked about how he got his freckles:
If you disagree with someone or want to give them opposite information, you don’t have to do it negatively. Instead, try being playful. Be lighthearted. Don’t make people feel bad or ashamed—nobody likes that.
Cue #6: Nod
Nodding is a great non-verbal cue because it shows agreement, engagement, and encouragement. This can be used both in signaling someone to keep going during a conversation and to encourage listening when you’re the one speaking.
Nodding is a powerful cue of likability because it shows openness and positivity.
Let’s take a look in this interview when Morgan made a total of 13 nods to encourage Jimmy Kimmel to keep going when he seemed to be lost for words:
Cue #7: Sexy Vocal Power
When you think of Morgan Freeman, the first thing you might think of is his amazing and sexy vocal power. Now, let us watch this clip where he gives tips on how to adopt a great vocal power just like what he does!
The more tension we have on our body, vocal cords, and mouth, the worse we sound. We usually don’t like hearing people who are physically tense because we “feel” that tension—just imagine watching someone about to go bungee jumping and how your body might feel! So try a yawn and change your voice to sound a little more like Morgan Freeman!
If you want to learn more about cues of likability, check out my book, Cues: Master the Secret Language of Charismatic Communication.
And for more awesome body language articles, head on over to Body Language Examples and Their Meanings.