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Good People Skills

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Posted 16 December 2014 by Chris FarmerChris Farmer

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Good People Skills

One of the most valuable skills you could develop is good people skills.

You need good people skills for a very specific reason. If you are to achieve your goals in life, then you'll need to gain other people's cooperation.

If you want to do anything really impressive, then you will need to gain the willing cooperation of others.

  • If you want to make more sales, you will need to gain the willing cooperation of others.
  • If you want to make changes to the way things are done at your place of work, then you will need to gain the willing cooperation of others.

In fact, if you want to achieve any valuable goal at all, the chances are that you will not be able to do that on your own; the chances are that you will need to gain cooperation from the others.

If you cannot gain it, then you won't get very far in life. And if you can gain their willing cooperation, then you can go as far as your imagination will take you.

And here is the important thing:

In order to gain the cooperation of others you need good people skills.

If you developed Good people skills it will be worth more to you than if you developed any other skill.

How can you develop good people skills?

You can best develop Good People Skills by recognising that people skills are not one thing, but many subset skills. You need to know what are the subsets, and think of them as individual skills to be learned and practiced and perfected.

Here are the key elements of good people skills.

  1. A genuine interest in others.
  2. An ability to keep the focus of the conversation on the other person.
  3. An ability to find out what the other person likes and wants.
  4. The ability to put your message in terms that the other person will understand.
  5. The ability to guide the conversation by asking questions.

Let us say something about each one.

1. A genuine interest in others

The most important person in your world is you. And the same is true for almost everyone else. Remember that most people are primarily concerned with their own self-interest and that of their immediate family.

Most people do not have YOU as the centre of THEIR world. So the neat trick of being good with people is to keep the other person in the conversational spotlight.

In other words, if you want to be good with people, learn this rule.

Quit trying to be interest-ING. Instead try to be interest-ED.

Quit trying to be interest-ING.

The moment you quit trying to be an interesting person, by telling other people about yourself, and your ideas or your talents and achievements, and instead, you focus your attention on being GENUINELY INTERESTED in the other person and their interests and goals, then you will always say the right thing.

  • If you keep talking about yourself, you will inevitably say something wrong.
  • If you keep the other person talking about himself-herself, then you cannot say anything wrong.

Being genuinely interested in the other person is the secret of good people skills. Don't try to be interest-ING. Instead, try to be interest-ED.

2. An ability to keep the focus of the conversation on the other person

Once you understand point one: Be interest-ED; NOT interest-ING, then everything else follows on from that.

Focus the conversation 80% on the other person, only 20% on yourself. If the other person asks about you, answer their question honestly but don't linger on yourself. Answer their question and then ask a question in return, and refocus the conversation on them.

3. An ability to find out what the other person wants

You need to know what the other person wants out of the situation and why he-she wants it. You need to know what the other person is interested in and what their needs are. You need to understand what they don't like and why they don't like it. If you know more about the other person, you will know how to approach them.

4. The ability to put your message in terms that the other person will understand

As you learn more about the other person it becomes easier for you to frame any idea or request you want to make, in terms that they will identify with.

If you don't know the likes and dislikes of the other person then you won't know how to frame your message.

Remember, that everyone is interested in their own self-interest, so if you want someone to cooperate with you, then you need to frame your request in terms that will provide the other person with a personal motive. Meaning by acting in accordance with your ideas there should always be a gain for the other person.

If you cannot show that your idea has the seed of a benefit for the other person if they were to act on it, then they won't be very interested to act on it.

But if you can show, that by acting in accordance with your idea, the other person will gain some benefit, then the other person will be more motivated to cooperate with you.

5. The ability to guide the conversation by asking questions

The basis of your conversation should be asking questions. You should be asking more questions and listening more. If you are doing most of the talking, then according to this philosophy, you are doing it wrong.

You need to be mostly asking questions, listening and making suggestions that will induce others to do things that are in your mutual interest.

The following sentence will give you the secret to successful relationships, so memorise the following sentence:

"The mutual exchange of values".

The mutual exchange of values is why humans began to deal with each other in the first place. Trade, in the form of a mutual exchange, is the basic motivation for people to agree to deal with each other. But before you can get into a relationship based on the mutual exchange of values, you NEED TO KNOW what the other person values, and why. If you don't know what the other person values, you cannot create a mutual exchange. And therefore you have no basis for a cooperative relationship.

If you do know what the other person values and why, then you can create a mutual exchange. And you have a terrific basis for a cooperative relationship; and people everywhere will say you have 'great people skills'.


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