The #1 Skill For Getting Ahead in Business and In Life
Do you lack the skills for working with people? I was going through some of my old books the other day and I found a dusty old book by Les Giblin titled “Skill With People.” I started reading it again just to refresh my memory and I was amazed at how Mr. Giblin was able to capture the essence of dealing with people in just 33 pages! He provided several nuggets of wisdom that are just as relevant today as they were 48 years ago when the book was written!
There is nothing more important in business than having the skill of “working with people.” Regardless of whether you are a top CEO or whether you are the custodian of the building, your job and your success is directly correlated to your skill with people. If you want to be truly successful in whatever you do, you must know the “art of dealing with people.”
We’ve all heard of the boss from hell who berates his employees for not making enough sales. Many of us have experienced the super bright computer technician who can solve the most complicated tech problem but is disliked by most of his colleagues because of his attitude or lack of social skills. Mr. Giblin’s tips seem like common sense, but in reality many people lack these skills. As they say, sometimes common sense is not so common. This little book should be in everyone’s library. Here are a few of the nuggets:
1) Understand Human Nature– You must understand people and their nature- when you know why people do the things that they do, it is only then that you will become a skillful manager of people. People are primarily interested in THEMSELVES, NOT IN YOU! They are motivated by the pleasure that THEY will gain. People are mostly driven by self-interest, in other words, “what’s in it for ME.”
2) Talk About Them- When you are talking to people, pick the most interesting subject to talk about. What is that? THEMSELVES! Take the words “I, me, my, mine” out of your vocabulary. Your influence and power will greatly increase if instead you use the word “YOU.” For example, “This is for YOU”, “YOU will benefit if YOU do this”,” this will please YOUR family”. When talking to others, talk about them, and get them talking about themselves.
3) Make People Feel Important- People desire to be important and to be recognized. Nobody wants to be treated as a nobody. We don’t like to be ignored, or talked down to. We make people feel important by: a) listening to them b) applauding and complimenting them c) using their names and pictures as often as possible d) pausing before you answer them e) use their words “you” and “your” f) acknowledge people who are waiting to see you g) pay attention to everyone in a group.
4) Agree with People- Nothing will help you so much in your lifetime as the technique of being agreeable particularly when the other person is wrong. You can demonstrate that you are agreeable by: a) developing an agreeable nature b) tell people when you agree with them- nod your head “yes” c) don’t tell people you disagree with them unless it is absolutely necessary d) admit it when you are wrong e) refrain from arguing even if you are right f) handle people who want to fight by refusing to fight with them.
5) Listen to People- The more you listen to people, the smarter you will become, the better you will be liked, and the better conversationalist you will be. A good listener always allows people to hear their favorite speakers- themselves. Show you are a good listener by a) looking at the person who is talking b) lean towards the speaker and listen intently c) ask questions d) stick to the speaker’s subject and don’t interrupt e) use the speaker’s words- “you” and “your”.
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6) Influence People- The most important step in getting people to do what you want them to do is to find out what will make them do it. When you know what will move them, you will then know how to motivate them. You simply show them how they can get what THEY want by doing what you want them to do.
7) Skillfully Convince People- People are skeptical by nature and will not immediately agree with you. It is most effective to have a third party do the selling for you. For example, if you sell a product and the client asks if it really works you might say, “My neighbor used it for years and swore by it.” Speak through third persons. Quote people, relate success stories, or cite facts or statistics.
8) Praise People- People like to be acknowledged. Be generous with your praise. Look for somebody or something to praise. Your praise must be sincere. Praise the act, not the person. For example, “John, the report you wrote was excellent.” (Rather than, “John, you are a great employee.”)
9) Be Skillful When You Critique People- You must know how to critique people so as not to cause resentment and to compel corrective action. You do so as follows: a) criticism must be done in absolute privacy b) preface criticism with a kind word or compliment c) make the criticism impersonal- criticize the act, not the person d) in addition to telling the person what they did wrong, tell them also how to do it right e) ask for cooperation- don’t demand it f) give one criticism to one offense g) finish the criticism on a friendly note.
10) Be Skillful at Thanking People- Show your gratitude and appreciation to people who deserve it. People will give you more if you do this. When you say “Thank you”: a) mean it- be sincere b) say it clearly and distinctly c) look at the people you thank d) thank people by name e) work at thanking people- look for opportunities to thank people.
There is nothing more powerful than the skill of working with people! The above skills are valuable for business, a happier family life, or a better social life. As simple as they seem to be, don’t take them for granted. They take practice and implementation on a regular basis in order to yield the results that you want. They were effective 50 years ago, and they are effective now! Thank you, Les Giblin!
The skill of working with people is absolutely essential if you are trying to climb the corporate ladder, or build or manage a business. You are, going to encounter people of all types, and from all cultures. You must master this skill if you want your business to thrive. The tips that I provided above will help you to succeed with people in all situations.
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To your success,
David C Figueroa- Success Coach
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