Have you ever wondered how some people manage to mesmerize with such ease? They can bend any tricky situation in their favor, and their immaculate people skills facilitate an effortless yet effective dialogue? I recently finished reading a book called Powerful People Skills by Heather Hansen that had some great insights on the small things that go into developing great people skills and building lasting relationships, both personal and professional. That book got me thinking about how important such skills are for professionals to succeed in their careers.
In a professional environment, a person’s knowledge and skill set are not the only factors employers look at. People skills or softer attributes of your personality that help you to interact and work well with others are also an equally, if not more, important factor. Whether you work as part of a big or a small organization, or as an entrepreneur, these are essential to make you become an effective professional.
Let’s take a look at a few of these skills that will help you become one.
This is probably one of the most underrated tools which actually can go a long way in building rapport with others. How often have you seen people change their perception about another, simply because of a friendly smile? There is, however, a fine line between friendly and creepy and needless to say, it is important to identify the difference. Smiling periodically while talking to someone can definitely make that conversation a lot more pleasant and productive.
Let me give you an example. Jack and Jill are having a conversation. Jack is basically telling Jill about his plan to go up the hill to fetch a pale of water. Now Jack gives Jill specific instructions to not walk behind him lest he should fall on the way. But Jill is only pretending to listen to Jack, all the while thinking about something else. We all know how that story ends now, don’t we?
Ask yourselves this question – Are you really listening or just waiting to speak? It is absolutely paramount that you give others the absolute gift of your attention when they are speaking to you. Listen without interrupting, think through what has been said, formulate a response, and then reply. Many a times, vital information is lost when we do not actually listen to what the other person is saying. A lack of complete information can lead to tasks not being executed properly or even grave misunderstanding.
It is very important for you to be able to place yourself in someone else’s shoes and understand their perspective. Empathising is one of the best and most proven way to build relationships with others. It allows you an insight into what and how others think and work. Showing empathy also has an impact on how others perceive you. When you are empathetic towards another person, it makes them trust you and hold you in good regard. All in all, it brings about a sense of positivity around the workplace.
A little obvious, isn’t it? Well, good manners do go a long way in helping you grow professionally. Simple things like greeting people with a “Hello” or “Good Morning”, saying “please” and “thank you”, apologizing when you’ve made a mistake, being respectful towards others, will win you brownie points and make you a likeable person that people want to associate with. Being likeable and having a good personality is a sure-shot way of people seeing you in a positive light.
These are things that all of us know we must do, but we often forget to incorporate these action points in our daily interactions. I do my best to keep all the above points in mind while interacting with others and it seems to be working for me. Try it and it should work for you too.