There are literally hundreds of little things we can do to make ourselves better people and make a positive impression in our professional and personal lives.These 12 things don't require any formal education or financial investment, just a bit of effort

•Offer a friendly, authentic smile -- It puts people at ease and makes you likable.

•Make comfortable eye contact -- It demonstrates confidence, respect and interest.

•Use people's names -- Everyone likes to hear and see his or her own name.

•Show your appreciation -- Say "thank you" to everyone who does something for you.

•Offer words of encouragement -- Often, it's all someone needs to take a big step.

•Accept responsibility when you're wrong -- It's the sign of a person with character.

•Maintain a positive mental attitude -- It's a choice that's 100% within your control.

•Stand up straight! -- Poor body posture is a sign of low self-esteem.

•Offer a proper handshake -- a good, firm one shows demonstrates confidence.

•Turn off your phone in meetings or business lunches.

•Speak with energy in your voice -- No one likes to be around dull, lifeless people.

•Congratulate your opponent -- Good sportsmanship is a sign of leadership skills.