How To Improve People Skills?

How To Improve People Skills

Whether it’s our personal lives or working lives, people skills are crucial to achieving success.

By putting conscious effort into improving our people skills, we could improve all areas of our lives.

So how do we do that, how do we improve our people skills?

How To Improve People Skills?

People skills, like any other skills, will take some planning and lots of practice to improve.

There are many proposed methods and ways to improve your people skills but to me, this comes down to a change of attitude.

The second you manage to genuinely care about people, your people skills will improve automatically.

There are specific things that you can practice to achieve that:

Step 1: Listen

“The less you speak, the more you will hear.” – Alexander Solshenitsen

We all assume that we want the same things. And that is probably true at a very high level; we all want to feel happy, fulfilled, valued, etc.

But what differs from one person to another is their ideas of how that can be achieved.

ear, listening to others
The only way for us to understand is to LISTEN.

So the only way for us to understand that is to LISTEN.

This seems simple enough, but it requires time and dedication.

Most of us live very busy lives with a limited amount of time.

To find the time to listen to others is not always easy.

Also, it’s not always as simple as just asking the questions, when it comes to really understanding people it takes time and effort. It takes getting to know them and learning about them.

This seems like a lot of work but in the end, it will be so worth it.

Our relationships will improve and we will develop deeper trust and genuine connection with others.

Step 2: Communication

“The people with whom you work reflect your own attitude.  If you are suspicious, unfriendly and condescending, you will find theses unlovely traits echoed all about you.  But if you are on your best behavior, you will bring out the best in the persons with whom you are going to spend most of your working hours.” – Beatrice Vincent

This step is also very important.

Often we are not aware of how we come across when we communicate with others.

Becoming more conscious of that and paying close attention to the way we communicate and how others respond to it is a crucial first step in improving our communication skills with others.

We all have habits that might be annoying to others.

Maybe we have a habit of interrupting others, maybe we often finish sentences for others, it would be worthwhile discovering those annoying habits and putting stop to them.

Again, this takes time and determination. It’s not easy observing ourselves with a critical intent but if we want to improve our people skills, we need to find the time and determination to do it.

Step 3: Respect Others

“The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood.” – Ralph Nichols

This should be automatic but it deserves a spot here as we all need to be reminded of this from time to time.

If we want respect from others, we must first give it.

respect each other, hands
If we want respect from others, we must first give it.

How easy is it to judge other people in a negative way just because they are doing something that we don’t agree with or are behaving in a way that we don’t understand?

We can still disagree with others’ behaviors and actions but in a respectful way.

When I get triggered by someone’s actions or behaviors, I put myself in their shoes.

By doing that my perspective changes very quickly.

I might still not agree with their actions but doing this allows me to realize that the other person’s intention is not to specifically hurt me but to achieve something else that is important to them.

This seems an overly simplified method but it works.

It diffuses my discomfort and allows me to respect the other person.

Step 4: Take Courses

“Your career success in the workplace of today–independent of technical expertise–depends on the quality of your people skills. ”― Max MessmerManaging Your Career for Dummies

I enjoy this step enormously.

I make sure to take some new courses at least a few times a year to continue with personal and professional development.

And to be honest, it’s not always for the content of the courses but for the interactions with new people.

Of course, the content is usually pretty good. I learn a thing or two that I didn’t know before but the conversations and new and different perspectives of other participants are invaluable.

Over the years I have learned just as much from my fellow students as I did from the content of the courses.

And it’s usually lots of fun too.

Step 5: Treat Others As You Would Like To Be Treated

“You may say you won’t interfere with another person’s soul, but you do—merely by existing. The snag about it is the practical difficulty, so to speak, of not existing.”
― Dorothy L. Sayers, Gaudy Night

There are many more steps that could be listed here, but following this simple rule will always ensure success.

Thank of how you would like to be treated and treat others the same way.

It is true that there are many different personalities, and different communication styles, however, there are some common things that regardless of the personalities and styles will work.

For example, no one likes to be yelled at regardless of their personality.

be kind to each other
Treated everyone with kindness and compassion regardless of the situation.

Everyone will enjoy being treated with kindness and compassion regardless of the situation.

Everyone will like to be heard and valued. You might need to use different techniques to achieve that depending on the individual.

Everyone will like when appreciation is shown to them.

Remembering those basics and learning to practice them daily will ensure that your people skills have improved.

But more than that you will enjoy interacting with people way more and vice versa.

“Communication is an art form that is crafted throughout our lives.”
― Asa Don Brown, Interpersonal Skills in the Workplace, Finding Solutions that Work

I hope you have found this helpful. If you have anything that you would like to share with others, please leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you.

Comments

  1. Johnny says:

    Loved your article about this topic. I´ve always thought that one is born with people skills or not. Didn´t think it was something we can work on. I can totally agree with the 5 steps you provide in order to boost it. In my personal opinion, respecting others is the #1, but I believe that I am saying it because I recently had a situation at work in which that was the biggest mistake from a colleague. Listening is the key, as withouth listening to other, you are not able to create bonds. Thanks again for opening my eyes!

    1. Anna says:

      Hi Johnny,

      Thank you for your comment. I think this is something that we are often told, that we are either born with something or not. But the truth is, we can develop or learn anything that we want. It takes time and effort but if we really want it, it will happen.

      I agree respect is often missing in a professional setting. I really tried to change that in my professional work. As a manager, I gave respect to everyone regardless of their position, views, options, etc. But I was shocked how some people did not agree with my approach. Needles to say, I am no longer there.

      The great thing about life is that we are always learning, that is if that’s what we want and if we are open to it.

  2. William says:

    Hey Anna, I really enjoyed reading your post , How to Improve People Skills. It reminds me of two valuable quotes I learned years ago as a young man. Im sure you have heard them. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, and, LIke Attracts Like. Two universal truths that are stated in your writing here in slightly different ways.

    Like you, I think it is very important for us to always be continually learning, it will keep us stay young. As far as listening goes, it may have become a lost art as so many are far more interested in themselves to take note of someone else. Maybe a part of the generation we are in. Unfortunate for sure..

    1. Anna says:

      Hello William,

      Thank you very much for your wonderful comment. Of course, I agree with everything that you are saying. Listening is a big one these days. I don’t know if it’s me but it appears that more and more people are trying to finish up my sentences. I’m probably guilty of that too, so before I start pointing fingers I better take a good look at myself. As another great saying suggests: be the change you want to see in the world.

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