Kerry C. O’Hallaron
There you are, walking into a room – any room – cocktail hour, a social gathering, a business meeting, or even a virtual “room.”
Heads turn your way because everyone recognizes you. They stop their conversations to smile at you. The mood in the room lightens, as you feel a wave of excitement caused by your presence. You’re in the room now, and you own that room. Everyone’s happy, and life is good.
Has this ever actually happened to you? It can and it should, and it’s easy to learn how. The key is to learn how to magnetize people towards you one at a time, so that when you do walk into that room they all will be automatically attracted to you.
It’s a basic “people skill,” and if you continue reading I’ll share more of them. These are five things you can use today to improve your people skills. Just between us – my belief is that you only need to master any three of them to start making more friends, minimizing conflicts, and improving every one of your business and personal relationships.
- There’s still hope if you’re an Introvert.
I’m a lifelong business executive who has a very successful track record. I tell people I was born shy. I’m also the founder and president of the American Society of Introverts. (OK, that last part isn’t true but it would be true if such a society existed.)
I became successful in business after I got over being shy. Being shy is not the same as being an introvert. It was actually not hard to learn the skills to overcome shyness. In fact, I’m still pretty quiet, but people call me a brilliant conversationalist. Why? I’ve learned how to manage the conversation but let others do all the talking – about their own interests! That causes people to think of me as a brilliant conversationalist. I just ask, with genuine interest, questions such as who, what, when, where, why, and how – and then I let them talk. It works perfectly.
I’m still an introvert, though. If I played golf, I could go out in a foursome, talk all day, have a couple of drinks afterwards, and make new friends of the people in my foursome. But being an introvert, I would then go home totally exhausted and drained. The extroverts in my foursome would go home energized and ready for more. That’s the major difference between extroverts and introverts. Understand and master that difference and it will help you interact better with people from both groups.
- How Critical is a Smile?
We all love babies, don’t we? Some talk to them in funny tones; some try to get them to play with their fingers, some tickle them gently – and maybe, just maybe, the baby will flash a big, beautiful baby smile.
It seems babies and politicians intuitively know the power of a smile. Everyone else has to learn that power, and many never do learn it. I hope you do. Keep your eyes open for the next five people who smile at you. Pay attention to the powerful impact their smiles have on you. Then try practicing your most genuine smile with friends and strangers, at least five times a day. Once again – observe the powerful impact your smile has on them. Politicians think – probably accurately – that their insincere smile is vastly more valuable than blank stare. Can you imagine the positive influence your genuine smile will have?
- How to Always Win an Argument
May I assume you want to be more influential, more likeable, more “nice?” If so, you just can’t afford to do anything that will result in anyone disliking you. Just assume that you don’t have enough friends to lose even one!
One of the easiest ways make an enemy is to “win” an argument. To “win” an argument is an oxymoron – nobody can win an argument.
A person can win a debate, because it has rules and with a set methodology for grading the participants. The person with the most points wins.
An argument, however, has no fixed grading system. You can wear your opponent down through persistence or even through sound logic). But even then, he/she won’t think you have won but will think less of you when the argument is over.
You can “win” an argument through shouting, anger, or physical violence, but then the damage could be even worse. If you think you “won,” you actually lost; if you think you “lost,” you are also right. In an argument, an agreed “tie” or “draw” can be a mutual win. If you agree to disagree, and give each other a handshake, a hug, or whatever is appropriate, you both can be winners. This is a powerful tool that will make you more of a “people magnet.”
- How to Handle Your 15 Minutes of Fame
It’s inevitable. Something will happen to win you your “fifteen minutes of fame.” You’ll win a prize, get a promotion, get elected to something – it will happen at some point.
When it does happen, it’s likely that one or more people will have helped you (financially or otherwise) on your way “up.” It’s critical that you keep those people in your network while you’re “famous.” Only one of two things can happen next. Your good fortune and fame may continue, in which case that group will help keep you grounded and not let you get a fat head. OR, your fame may actually only last a short time and then suddenly end. If that happens, if you’ve taken care to maintain those old friendships during your “fame time,” hopefully those folks will still be there for you after your time ends.
Either way, what we’re talking about here is to craft a new, more influential, more likeable YOU. Be careful to hang on to relationships that helped you rise. You need them!
- Empathy – The Most Important “People Skill”
Have you heard of the Golden Rule? It’s quoted various ways, but the most common is “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Does that mean, simply, “Treat others the way you want to be treated.”
I think it means more. I think it means, “You probably want to be treated your preferred way, and they want to be treated their preferred way. So meet them more than half way – treat them their preferred way, without expecting anything in return.
Hmm – it seems I’ve just modified the Golden Rule, a little, but hopefully for the better.
It’s a simple principle, really. You have got to play by other people’s rules if you want them to like you more; if you want to have more influence over them; if you want to have better relationships.
Early in this post we discussed the value of a smile. Your smile sends an important message. Give them your smile and they will receive the message.
We discussed how an introvert can thrive among extroverts, and vice versa. People like people who are like themselves (or are like how they wish they were). If you act more like them, they will like you more.
We discussed the value of avoiding arguments, because nobody wants to think they’ve lost an argument. Avoid arguments, “agree to disagree,” and people will think more highly of you.
Those are all examples of using empathy to create a “new you.” It’s a simple and critical process.
You see, the concept of “people skills” is not rocket science. However, it is, a science; a science that I have had the privilege of teaching many people and that you can easily learn and apply.
Kerry O’Hallaron is an author, speaker, trainer, and successful business executive. His latest book is People Skills 101-tm: How to Have More Friends, Fewer Conflicts and Better Relationships. In its recent launch, it catapulted to #1 in the Self Development category. It’s been called a life-changing twist on Dale Carnegie’s timeless classic. You can buy it today in Kindle and paperback versions on Amazon, https://www.amazon.com/People-Skills-101-Conflicts-Relationships-ebook/dp/B07KXDBMX8