There is a lot of talk over the last many years about the importance of a college education, and I will be addressing this topic in more detail in future blogs. Yes, I think it is good to have a college education. However, I feel young men and women are very mislead when it comes to the subject. I learned this on my first day of my sophomore psychology class. My professor began the semester with one simple statement, “don’t let school get in the way of a good education.” Getting a college degree is no guarantee of employment, success, or a fulfilling life. There are many skill sets that one must develop to excel at the game of life, and they may come with or without a college degree. Jim Rohn said it best, “formal education will make you a living, self-education will make you a fortune.”
To that end, good people skills are perhaps one of the most important traits to develop in order to help you succeed in the “real world.”
Here are 5 ways to sharpen your people skills immediately.
1.) Speak Clearly- There is nothing more frustrating than talking to someone that mumbles their words and rambles about nothing. Speak up, stay on point, and maintain eye contact. Make sure that people understand what you are saying, and keep the content relative to the current interaction.
2.) Relate to people- Find common ground between you and the person you are talking to. Ask questions; “where are you from?” or, “did you grow up around here?” Asking questions helps you relate to one another. The best-selling book, How To Win Friends And Influence People teaches us that people love to talk about themselves. So, let them talk! Having a genuine interest in the person you are talking to will make for good conversation, and you will be surprised to see what you learn!
3.) Have A Firm Handshake- There is nothing more impressive than a good, firm, handshake. I cringe anytime I shake someone’s limp, weak hand. It sends a signal of weakness, and a lack of confidence. When you shake a hand, be firm, and look them in the eye. Ladies, this means you too, especially in a business environment.
4.) Be a Good Listener- Think about it, when you are speaking to someone, how do you feel when it is obvious they are not listening to what you are saying? Have you ever had someone ask you a question, and then interrupt you when you’re in the middle of answering? How does that make you feel? When you are engaging in conversation, be a great listener. People appreciate it, and it makes them like you more. Also, keep the smart phones, ipads, and all other electronic devices we are so addicted to out of reach during real, old fashioned, human interaction.
5.) Use The Name Of The Person You Are Speaking To- How To Win Friends And Influence People also teaches us there is no other word people would rather hear than their own name. So, use their name throughout the conversation. To do this, you must actually remember their name. Pay attention when meeting new people, and remember their name! NOTE: In future blogs I will be introducing you to my good friend, Matt DiMaio, and his strategy on remembering names.
So, with or without a college degree, work on your people skills.
Wishing you all the success you will allow yourself to have!