Whichever path you choose to walk in life, having good “people” skills is critical to realising your personal or career goals.Let’s face it, we live in a world with 7 billion people, it’s almost impossible to get by without interacting with other humans. Very few people find themselves in such a position; even the so-called “greats” relied heavily on other people to help them on their journeys. For instance, without being able to convince other scientists to verify his theories, Einstein would have never become the man who’s name is synonymous with genius; without being able to galvanise a large Indian populous, Ghandhi would not have risen to become one of India’s greatest leaders and renowned as one of the greatest peace leaders in world history; even the now deceased billionaire hippy Steve Jobs, would likely have just tickled the surface of the universe rather than dent it without his unorthodox abilities to motivate. All world changers, among their many talents, leveraged people skills to fulfil their ambitions. Each one of us will sooner or later require the emotional or literal support of other humans to achieve our goals. Therefore it’s critical to begin developing people skills as soon as possible, of which I believe persuasion and active engagement are two of the most important.
Central to achieving most objectives is the ability to influence others. Have you ever suggested an idea only for it to be shot down or completely ignored? You know it’s brilliant idea, you’ve thought about it for a while and concluded it could generate wonderful results. If only you could convince others of its merits they too would realise this. I faced this time and time again and would get deeply frustrated, many times trying to raise the idea again but usually to no avail. I soon determined that what the idea sounded like in my head was not how it was being heard. There was a clear dissonance. So I began to study others, paying close attention to how they communicated ideas so convincingly. I noticed that carefully selected words, varying tone of delivery, effective use of body language and timing were all factors critical to the art of persuasion. To put simply, all I needed to do was to understand what resonates with other people. Developing this intuition helped me greatly. For example, I managed to inspire my local council to plant more cherry blossom trees in my local park having witnessed their beauty whilst travelling through the mystical land of Japan. I believe therefore working on this people skill will significantly increase the chances your voice is heard and move you one step closer to achieving your ambitions.
The second people skill helpful in achieving goals is an active engagement. By active engagement I mean the act of carefully observing and listening to others. In a world of distractions, many of us struggle to do these simple things effectively. Often we find ourselves distracted when interacting with others whether that’s putting our blinkers on as we frenziedly try to reach the next level in Candy Crush or daydreaming about how to make our millions, we can’t seem to focus on one thing at a time. This negative manifestation of multi-tasking makes us appear unhelpful and we often fail to notice small things in tone and body language that for example may be signs of stress, anxiety, a desire to talk further etc. Knowing this now, I aim to devote all my powers of concentration to the person I’m speaking to. Subsequently I’m asking more perceptive questions which has led to a better relationships with friends, family and colleagues. This is all a result of active engagement.
To reiterate what was said at the start, to reach any goal requires the emotional or literal support of others, and if we want to succeed in winning this support we’ll require a solid command of people skills. These skills are difficult to develop well especially when so much attention is drawn to the self in this ’selfie’ era we live in, however, through my experiences I’ve noticed that it’s usually paying attention to the small things that count. Doing this will take you one step closer towards your ambitions and therefore I encourage you all to work hard on developing your people skills.
Below is a link to Activia Training’s website who are kindly offering scholarships for undergraduate and postgraduate students. https://www.activia.co.uk/scholarship-uk.
Author: John Lingi