People Skills Truths: Use These Fifteen Less Obvious Ones #PeopleSkills
by Kate Nasser |
People Skills Truths: Use These 15 Less Obvious Ones
Non-intuitives and many technical professionals tell me that mastering the not-so-obvious aspects of people skills (aka, soft skills or interpersonal skills) is a big challenge — a real head scratcher. Where is the list of people skills truths to learn and use?
Well, scratch your head no more. If you have the desire to connect well with others, you can master and use this list of fifteen not-so-obvious people skills truths so that everything stacks up.
If you’re not sure why people skills matter, consider that people skills impact trust at work and in life. And trust impacts the results you will have with others.
15 Not-So-Obvious People Skills Truths
People cannot observe your intentions so they infer them from your words and tone of voice. State your intention to minimize confusion.
Everything you say impacts others emotionally. Even if you stick to the facts, your message leaves a human mark. Consider a doctor telling a patient “You have cancer” and then leaving the room. The lack of empathy inflicts extra pain. Many scientists live by the motto “more science produces less fear.” They mislabel human needs as fear. They also mistakenly believe that everyone believes their motto. You can do great science and address human needs.
Basic etiquette is a starting point for connection with others. Rules of etiquette are more relaxed today than years ago yet they are still a powerful base to rely on when meeting new people.
Ask people how they feel and/or what they think; don’t tell them “I’m sure you feel”. The latter comes across as arrogant and presumptuous.
Addressing someone by name (or at least surname or title), eases tension and helps communication. In some situations, use sir or ma’am.
A handshake is your silent resume. Make it great. If someone extends their hand to you, give them more than your finger tips. A “finger tip” shake tells the other person no, I don’t like you, I don’t trust you. Shake the hand all the way to the thumb joint, up and down once, with eye contact.
Words can woo or wound. To succeed, create bonds with your words and tone of voice — not scars. Speak the truth with tact and caring. Remember that bluntness burns you and others forever.
Sarcasm is often misunderstood especially in tough times. With those you don’t know well, skip the sarcasm. Leave it to the late night comics. With those you know well, don’t direct it at them. It can be seen as an attack.
Good questions unearth possibilities for connection, results, and success. Ask open-ended questions to learn; closed-ended to confirm. People who do well with others, ask more open-ended questions and are thus seen as more open-minded.
Use focused words instead of minimizing words. For example, primarily is a focused word whereas just and only are minimizing words. “Are you just concerned about the deadline?” can seem patronizing, minimizing, and dismissive. “Are you primarily concerned about the deadline?” can fuel a valuable discussion. “What are your primary concerns?” is even better because it is open-ended and allows for open discussion.
Great listening is about balance. Too much silence or too much talking can be annoying. The former is also seen as manipulative, the latter as self-absorbed.
Ask permission to give help before offering advice. Else you may come across as intrusive and patronizing.
If someone thinks you have flattered them with your words or actions, don’t tell them you didn’t mean to! This is not the time to give literal details. It’s the time to simply say, you’re welcome.
One “I told you so” sticks forever. Even if you don’t use those words, the message becomes a mark against you. People will avoid interacting with you to spare themselves the emotional pain of your know-it-all way. Celebrate your foresight silently. Use the people skills truths.
Authenticity and adaptation are not contradictory behaviors. Today’s trend is to be your authentic self. Sure — as long as you adapt to others when interacting. Being yourself without adapting comes across as boorish and earns you the label of selfish and self-absorbed.
More People Skills Truths
And Still More …
What will keep you from using these fifteen people skills truths? Desire, pure and simple. Lack of desire will inhibit your progress.
As I was teaching technical support customer service skills, a technical professional in the room was very resistant. At break, I asked him privately if he wanted me to explain anything again or differently. He said no. He understood what I was teaching. He doesn’t use the people skills truths because “it’s just too much trouble! If people want his help, they will adapt to him.” Quite a decision. Not using the people skills truths will hold him back.
If you want to be in a leadership position, improving your people skills will be essential. Here’s a related post — Leaders, Develop Your Intuition — to take you even further.
From my experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™
Featured image licensed from Istock.
©2016-2023 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to republish any content of this post, please email email@example.com for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.
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