Here are 10 reasons you should be improving your people skills and how to go about it.

One of the most important skills to grow your business and thrive successfully in any workplace is definitely people skills.

And NO. This doesn’t only apply to work that involves face to face communication.

How do I know this? For starters, I have personally turned down potential service providers because I was not satisfied with their communication.

I have also had awful experiences via email communication with a few companies.
Interestingly, I noticed that most of the issues I had with the companies bordered around two things:

  1. They did not understand my needs or requirements (and didn’t bother to find a better way to communicate)
  2. They were quick to interrupt because they were more concerned about getting my business than seeking how they can provide a personalised quality service.

So, what does the term ‘people skills’ actually imply? I found and paraphrased a good definition of people skills below.

People skills are patterns of behavioural interactions that enhance your ability to communicate with people in a friendly way, when in professional environments, or in your private life.

People skills also involve a number of other skills. How you listen for verbal and nonverbal cues matter. How you communicate in writing or when speaking is vital. Oh,…..and my favourite is this:

Your focus should be on how you can offer a helpful solution and not just what you can gain, as I wrote about here.

Once people know you care first, you have more or less won their business by at least 50%! I love this way this quote by John Green, highlights the point of making people your focus first.

‘People were created to be loved. Things were made to be used. The reason why the world is in chaos is because things are being loved and people are being used’.

One of the most inspiring stories I came across that drives the point of having people skills home is the success story of Brigette Hyacinth. Her story is quite remarkable. I share her brief quote about her experience below:

‘I quit my job and was down to my last $1000.
I took low paying contracts to get by.
I didn’t care because I was investing in my dreams. I didn’t listen to the naysayers who said “you need to give up.” “You are wasting your time.”
I kept perfecting my craft.
Then, I finally got noticed by someone influential and landed my biggest and most stable contract.
I didn’t meet this person at a business meeting. It was at a supermarket checkout line! I struck up a conversation with his mother and the rest is history.
Sometimes your biggest breakthrough comes from the person or place you least expect it.’

Now, imagine if your workplace or business employs people with this perspective.
People who understand that treating others with care, respect and genuine concern irrespective of where you meet them, can potentially also open the door to a new client.
Such organisations would no doubt thrive successfully!

One of Zig Ziglar’s powerful quotes takes this perspective a bit further. He said,

‘You don’t build a business; you build people and people build the business’.

In other words, when you inspire people, they have the potential to build or promote your business. That said, you cannot inspire people without understanding how to relate with them. This is another instance where having good people skills would be very useful.

group of people watching on laptop
Photo by Fox on Pexels.com

So, to effectively influence others, you need to have and continuously improve your people skills and we would focus on helpful ways to do this later.
First, let us look at 10 reasons you should be improving your people skills.

1. Great communication skills.

As you engage more with people, you become much better at being articulate, which is a prized quality in today’s workplace. You are also in a better position to communicate with different groups of people to get your message across with ease.

2. Better quality of relationships.

Those with good people skills are often referred to as ‘people persons’. They have understood the basic concept of having friends, which is to first show yourself as being friendly. People tend to warm up to warm people. You will have healthier relationships because you have learnt to use the art of communication to understand and relate positively with people you do life with.

3. Increased quality of life/happiness.

Having people skills would most likely guarantee a healthy social life because people would naturally enjoy hanging out with you. But even more, having a healthy social life has been associated with longevity, happiness and quality of life.
Developmental psychologist Susan Pinker in her TED Talk, revealed through the findings of her study, how in-person social interactions are not only necessary for human happiness, but could also be one of the keys to a long and healthy good life.

4. Improved patience.

As you learn to relate better with others, your people skills improve. You also learn to be more patient with others and less easily offended. You become an asset because you have mastered how to keep your cool when everyone else is losing theirs in stressful situations.

5. More trustworthy.

People can easily sense if you really care about them or just want to use them. With good people skills, you don’t have to fake your communication with others and they would easily be able to sense you are genuinely interested and trust you.

6. Effective listening skills.

Those with good people skills know that hearing and active listening are two different things. They have learnt to show genuine care by listening to understand first, before seeking to be understood. The outcome here is that such people end up getting better results from their communication and get further satisfaction from seeing the positive reaction of their listeners.

7. Good judgement of people.

As you improve in your people skills, you are more likely to be a better judge of character. This is highly beneficial as you will be more equipped to wisely select associates and friends. Being a good judge of character would also enable you to make sound decisions, reactions and responses when dealing with people.

8. A better awareness and understanding of body language.

Our bodies have a way of speaking a thousand more words than we are actually saying with our mouths. The more skilled you get at engaging with people, the more you will be able to pick up familiar body language with ease and of course, respond appropriately.

9. Improved leadership skills.

You cannot effectively lead people you don’t know how to engage with. Having great people skills will definitively enhance your leadership style and potential. It will help you gain the trust of your followers and motivate them to produce some of their best results.

10. Good negotiation and persuasive skills.

Having good people skills will surely come in handy when it’s time to negotiate job contracts, trade deals or when dealing with customers. You will be more equipped to persuade others when pitching a sale or making a convincing argument about your viewpoints.

adult beard beverage blur
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

To improve your people skills, the three areas you should focus on are empathy, active listening and effective communication.

Work on your active listening skills.

Try to think about the last meaningful conversation you had with another person where you felt heard and got the response you needed from them.
That feeling is something worth cherishing because the common culture these days is to abruptly cut people off when they are trying to make a point.
Such rude behaviour occurs when instead of actually listening, you are just passively hearing words.

Even worse, you are busy mentally formulating your response and when it is ready, you throw it in without so much as a thought to how the other person feels. This behaviour would only lead to unhealthy communication and poor results.
While you might have pertinent information that needs to be passed across, the truth is that people do not tend to care how much or what you know, until they know how much you care.

They tend to recognise the heart of those who really care and respond well to them.
If you truly want to effectively communicate with others, learn to listen actively.
You can do this by fixing your eyes on the speaker, thinking about what they are saying and not how to respond, then keeping quiet and still, while listening.
Another good practice is to acknowledge their points and concerns first after they are done speaking, before giving your response.

Develop and use empathy often.

The ability to show empathy in an honest way will improve your people skills. Empathy is the ability to understand how another person feels by being able to see things from their perspective.
A vital part of showing empathy which is often missed, is that you don’t need to have the same viewpoints of the other person. You just have to be able to acknowledge and validate their concerns to show understanding.

A good quote by Maya Angelou to remember is that ‘people might forget your words, but they will always remember how you made them feel.’

To use empathy effectively when communicating with people, try to practise active listening, examine your attitude when speaking and listening, and learn to ask more about their experiences and opinions.
You will begin to notice trust, honesty and better cooperation from your listener.

Learn to convey information in a useful way.

The main point of speaking is to communicate information. If you cannot achieve this, then you have wasted your speaking time. A useful tool for communicating I learnt is the mnemonic THINK.
T- is it True?
H — is it Helpful?
I — is it Inspiring?
N — is it Necessary?
K — is it Kind?

This guide will help you meet your audience where they are and engage with them.
Also, try to take breaks when talking to others to ensure they are still with you and to check they understand the information you are giving.

Take home points

Your people skills will improve as you learn to relate and engage with people in a genuine and caring way.

The people you inspire could potentially open the door for a massive business breakthrough or promotion at your workplace.

Having great people skills will help you improve your communication skills, grow as a person, be a great leader and be a powerful negotiator, among other benefits.
You can grow your people skills by using empathy more, practising active listening and learning to give others information in a way they can understand and respond to you.

Before you leave….

Do you feel like you are always out of time daily and want to make a change? Take the TIME CHALLENGE….Use this FREE 10-point checklist to unmake time from things that don’t add value to you and create more time for things you love!

Thank you for reading this post! If you have been inspired, please leave a comment and share on social media too!

What you have is not as important as what you do with it.

The solution you need will come when you learn to use what you have.

Think about the last few times you experienced a challenge. What was your first reaction?

If you are being honest, you would probably realise that you first tend to look outward.

Your thoughts might go along the lines of ‘how can this person or that person help me out of this?’ or even worse, find someone or others to blame for your troubles. I call it the blame culture, and it is eating through society today.

This mindset would only cause you to keep going round and round the same mountain without ever going forward.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Why? You are a unique person. DNA discovery has already shown us that.

So what does this mean for you and I?

You have something or better still, you can do something in a way that no one else can. But, the power to use it lies with you alone.

You have to first believe in yourself to be able to take on your world.

 

This level of self awareness can be a gamechanger if used for the right purpose.
Quit always looking outward for something or someone else to solve your problems. Quit the blame culture.

Develop yourself by choosing to learn something new often. Exercise your uniqueness by taking on and solving the ‘small problems’ you encounter daily by using what you know and have. Eventually, you will be able to boldly approach the big issues with the same gusto!

You can use what you already have on your inside to do whatever you set your mind to do.

 

For instance, you can learn about good financial stewardship and devise a personal plan to come out of that bad debt. You can even take on an online course if you have to!

You can read books on how to win friends, develop people skills and network. Add your personal touch and use the knowledge to grow your network and improve your relationships.

If you want to be a success, you need to use what you have to offer solutions to people’s needs.

Find a purpose that ties in with what you are passionate about and start growing your skills and abilities in that area. Then use it to solve a problem in your circle of influence.

 

Whatever challenges you face, learn to first look inside you for a solution or at least a workable plan before involving others.

 

You have so much in you that can change your world for the better, BUT it only becomes useful when you actually take your uniqueness and do something positive with it.

So, grow yourself. Be you. Do you and own it.

Before you leave….

Thank you for reading this post!

Do you feel like you are always out of time daily and want to make a change? Take the TIME CHALLENGE….Use this FREE 10-point checklist to unmake time from things that don’t add value to you and create more time for things you love!

If you have been inspired by this post, please leave a comment and share on social media too!

If it is something important to you, you will get rid of excuses.

There are things you need to stop staying to make progress in life.

The future doesn’t belong to the comfort seekers, but to the risk takers.

Comfort seekers look for excuses to avoid the next or necessary step they need to succeed in life because of fear of mostly, the unknown.

Well, the only way to find out what is on the other side of the river is to cross it!

Risk takers are not callous as many people presume. At least the ones that apply wisdom to their decisions. Smart risk takers are next level thinkers. They don’t have time to dwell on the past. They definitely know to stop saying:

1. I can’t. Because this is just an excuse not to learn something new most times

2. I won’t. Because the truth is you are letting fear and doubt guide your decisions

3. I might. Because you want to trick others into believing that you are considering an option but you already know you are not going to lift a finger!

4. Maybe later or tomorrow. Because this is the most common replacement phrase for procrastination.

Your vocabulary should have a lot of ‘I can and I will’…………..

Give up excuses. Get informed and learn about current trends. Learn from those who have gone where you want to go.

Get inspired and motivated. You only have one chance at living your current life so make the most of it. Live fully and truly.

Before you leave….

Do you feel like you are always out of time daily and want to make a change? Take the TIME CHALLENGE….Use this FREE 10-point checklist to unmake time from things that don’t add value to you and create more time for things you love!

Thank you for reading this post! If you have been inspired, please leave a comment and share on social media too!

 

5 things you should be doing postgrad to successfully thrive in your 20s, 30s, and onwards.

Take a moment to reflect on your path so far as an adult and what you really want out of life.

I love learning.

In fact, this is one of my favourite quotes on gaining knowledge by Albeit Einstein.

‘The day you stop learning is the day you truly start dying’.

I have embraced every form of learning that can help me become bolder, better and stronger, ready to take on life’s challenges.

There is no reason to put in the time and energy involved in learning if it cannot better your life in any way or the life of someone else.

Whether it’s through experiences, what you have been taught or your personal independent studying, you can put a demand on everything you have learnt to produce results that will put you in the direction of success.

That is how you stand out from every other person who just decides to go through the motions of life’s experiences without learning from them.

 

Comfort seekers VS Next level thinkers

There will come a time in your life when you have to choose one of two paths (subconsciously or consciously);

You can either become a comfort seeker or a next level thinker.

Comfort seekers would shy away from any risks or changes that would disrupt their lives (even if it is a positive disruption). They would settle for mediocrity at home, work and even with the company they keep.

Next level thinkers know how to live in the moment but keep the future in perspective.

They don’t make permanent decisions over temporary situations.

They know the long term plan and devise short term goals that are in line with the main plan. They work and live with integrity and excellence, while taking informed risks, because they keep the future in perspective.

Take a moment to reflect on your path so far as an adult and what you really want out of life.

The prime time to choose the path of a next level thinker is in your youth. Most people in their early twenties are either just postgrad or about to move away from family support to do their own thing and discover themselves.

This is the time to be active about your choices if you want to thrive successfully as you approach your thirties and forties.

That said, I am also a believer in ‘it’s never too late to begin when you finally get the right opportunity’. Age should never be a barrier. Starting early just gives you more time to reap the fruits of your efforts.

What my experiences and accomplishments taught me

As I began my third decade on earth, within the space of just over a year, I had an influx of accomplishments which thankfully, I handled well and smoothly.

  • I completed my third degree with no single loan in my name – years of good financial stewardship
  • Got a higher paying key job in a big city – I was the top candidate out of 150 applicants!
  • Got engaged and married – everything went so smoothly and I realised that having the right friendships over the years will be most valuable during key events in your life
  • Started working on writing my first book – something that had been on my goal list for some time.

Everything was happening so fast and yet so smoothly. A new season in my success journey had begun.

As I entered this new phase of my journey, I realised that these accomplishments were not by chance, but happened because I have consciously been a next level thinker from an early age. I have always believed that anything worth doing with your life is worth preparing for.

The same opportunities were open to others but my preparation over the years made me stand out and ready for them.

Being passive with success is not an option. If you are consistent with preparing and improving yourself, you will be in the right position when the right opportunity comes your way.

As author and motivational speaker Terri Savelle Foy finely puts it,

‘success occurs when opportunity meets preparation’.

My journey didn’t stop there.

New seasons tend to come with new growth and learning opportunities to help you envision your purpose in a new light. You start to see how much more you can be and do.

This clarity and vision set me up for my current season of success. A few years later and I am now training to become a doctor, have published my book, and founded a platform that provides quality and actionable content in areas that I am passionate about and have gathered years of learning and experience in – health, self-improvement, success and productivity.

So, with experiences from my journey so far, I can truly say that if you want to be a next level thinker and thrive successfully, focus on these five key things postgrad.

1. Discover your purpose and grow in that direction.

The same advice I gave to a group of students during a seminar delivery is what I would suggest here;

Make a list of what you love and another one on what skills you have acquired so far. Your niche or life purpose would most likely be within the common denominators of both lists.

Don’t believe that you must do just one thing with your life. This is what confuses a lot of people today. More than ever, we have the resources to pursue more than one interest and excel at them in our generation.

I have met doctors who DJ at night, lawyers who work in the military or police force, entrepreneurs in more than one niche business type, writers who are also software developers, and so on.

So, make your list!

If you have more than one interest and have the means and GRIT, pursue both simultaneously or focus on building one at a time. Don’t delay what you can do today for tomorrow.

Get going NOW!

2. Take time to reflect and don’t be afraid to test the waters.

As with most life journeys, most of us have gone through the phase of trying things that did not work out. Reflect on it. Take what you can learn from the experience and move on to the next thing. You would improve your self-awareness through such experiences. See it as part of your learning and prepping journey.

Be informed and then take the right kind of risks. Don’t be afraid to test the waters because this is how you cross over to the other side to see what awaits you. There is no growth without change.

Remember, nobody might see or notice you in your building or preparation season, but this is vital to your success.

The way I see it is this – the best success examples are the ones that can tell the story behind their glory. The ones with stories that give you insight into their season of preparation so you can take learning cues.

When you start gaining accomplishments, you can also share your learning journey to help others thrive.

brown wooden dock in the middle of forest

Photo by Matt Whitacre on Unsplash

3. Network and build the right relationships.

Keep company with people that are ahead of you in growth and self-improvement. As billionaire investor Warren Buffet said,

‘it’s better to hang out with people ahead of you. Pick out associates whose behaviour is better than yours and you will drift in that direction’

This is one of the reasons I have kept close friends who are older and wiser. They keep growing and I keep learning from their growth.

 

It is a fact that not everyone in your life would add value to you. But, you will do well to apply wisdom by ensuring most of your time is spent with company that challenges you and adds value to you.

Whatever work environment you find yourself, try to network with the key people. This doesn’t mean you suck up, but you can make yourself invaluable by partaking in projects, going the extra mile, and taking initiative. The same applies with clients you provide a service for.

Sometimes, a word of mouth advert to the right client could be the push that takes your business to the next level of success.

4. Continuously improve yourself.

This is the foundation of all success. If you don’t increase in knowledge, your success would either stagnate or decline. Author and leadership expert John Maxwell explains this well in his book Talent is Never Enough.

You need to keep improving if you want to stay relevant and ahead in your niche.
Learning doesn’t have to be a chore or boring. Today, you can discover what works best for you and stick with it.

Maybe reading might not be your thing. Try Podcasts or audio books. Look for videos on similar topics. Resources are in so many formats now that no one should have an excuse for not learning and improving, apart from sheer mediocrity.

I can promise you this from experience, if you learn something new every day (even 5 minutes is enough), your life will change within months!

5. Upgrade your thinking from ‘what can I get’ to ‘what I can offer’.

The people that constantly achieve success in whatever they choose to do are those that have something to offer their world.

If you look up the current top 5 richest people in the world, you will find they are all billionaires, self-made and provide a service.

Look more closely and you will realise that 3 of the 5 actually provided a solution that people bought into.

Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft became wealth giants by simply discovering and providing solutions that appealed to people.

There are probably thousands of people doing the same and succeeding. It’s a no brainer. As you discover your life purpose, move your thinking from ‘how can I gain?’ to ‘what solutions can I offer?’

The most successful people will always be the ones that provide solutions.

Take home points.

As a general guide, your 20s and 30s should be the trial and building seasons of your life. But, age should never be a barrier to starting again, as long as you are starting the right way.

You should aim to stay ahead in your self-improvement and self-awareness.

So, be a next level thinker. Keep improving yourself. If you want to stay relevant and be indispensable wherever you work or in your business, you have to go the extra mile.

Learn while others are sleeping or bingeing on entertainment.

Get constructive criticism and work on it.

Aim to provide solutions, as opposed to just gaining wealth. The most successful people today are solution providers.

Build a solid foundation for your life’s direction NOW.

The sooner you get the right foundation, the earlier you can start building solid investments and focus more on enjoying the fruits of your labour.

Before you leave….

Do you feel like you are always out of time daily and want to make a change? Take the TIME CHALLENGE….Use this FREE 10-point checklist to unmake time from things that don’t add value to you and create more time for things you love!

Thank you for reading this post! If you have been inspired, please leave a comment and share on social media too!

Challenging the status quo: Choosing between money and success

Do not just settle for riches or wealth, striving to make an impact in your world is THE true marker of success.

The world is plagued today with employees and entrepreneurs who are supposedly public successes but private failures.

Do you find yourself constantly frustrated, stressed and dissatisfied with your job?

Do you feel stuck in business or a career path mainly for the financial benefits?

Does success mean having a top career status, wealth accumulation or fame with or without a healthy private life?

Is it possible to redefine success to embody fulfilment in both our public and private lives?

I intend to address these issues by inviting us to challenge the status quo through reconditioning the mind to redefine what success means for us personally.

What does success mean to you?

If success is meant to be associated with positive outcomes, then whatever I choose to do in life should have a positive impact on my personal life, my relationships and the lives of other people who may not necessarily be able to return the favour.

With this in mind, I have coined an encompassing definition of success below.

Success is the daily experience of fulfilment in one’s public and private life through;

1. Taking daily, weekly or monthly steps towards the accomplishment of a goal that will impact the lives of others positively and;

2. Taking daily, weekly or monthly steps towards achieving and maintaining a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being.

A vital part of my success definition is that it doesn’t look at success as something to attain in a future time, but an experience that can be lived daily. The reasoning behind this can be explained by a popular adage, ‘Rome was not built in a day, but they were laying bricks every hour’.

Success should be about the journey and not just the destination. When you define and personalise what success means for you and always keep it in front of you, taking those daily steps on the journey, that is achieving success.

Subconsciously or consciously, childhood and adulthood conditioning has influenced our understanding of success and drive to succeed. The process of reconditioning begins with acceptance of the facts, then mapping out a change plan to unpick why we do what we do in various areas of our lives.

This path usually leads to self-awareness and discovering your authenticity. Once you arrive at this point in life, your creativity becomes limitless. It becomes easier to discover your passion and match it with your skills and abilities to meet a need or solve a problem in your world. You become value-driven as opposed to being money-driven. If you gather wealth in the process, it becomes a bonus!

A good point to remember is that when people and things control you, they get the best out of you; when you are in control of you and your choices, you get the best out of you.

The hardest part of reconditioning is the unpicking process. It involves challenging the status quo but if you stick it out, you are already on a value-driven success journey.

Here are a few suggestions.
1. We need to have the right attitude to life
It is imperative to evaluate the choices we make and our attitude towards them. In essence, what you choose to do in any given situation and how you feel about those choices.

This is how you grow into self-awareness and authenticity. Both require you to establish your values and principles in life free from coercion and interference of family, friends, the media or other distractions.

You need to take time to rediscover who you are and why you do the things you do. In the words of Michael Jackson ‘if you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make a change’.

By making subtle changes to your daily routine, in line with what success means for you, positive mind-sets and attitudes can be developed to make you and people you do life with happier.

2. We need to discover the right career path that reflects our life purpose
The two major areas to reflect on here are how you manage your finances and why you are in your current career path. The reason money has become a drive for success for most people is because of their relationship with money.

There is the ‘need for money’ to obtain vital necessities for daily living. Then, there is the ‘love of money’ brought about by an unhealthy view of what success should look like — fame, social status, wealth, designer possessions. This is when money controls a person as opposed to being in control of money.

Like drugs, and alcohol, it is possible to be addicted to making more money. This unhealthy drive could also be the reason for choosing a career path. The question to ask here is, can money really buy you everything you need to live successfully?

Can money buy unconditional love, healthy relationships, forgiveness, true happiness, kindness, integrity, and a sense of purpose? Remember, looking successful and being successful are two different things.

3. We need to have and maintain the right relationships in our lives
Healthy fulfilling relationships are important for our emotional and physical well-being. They are also important in shaping the path of our purpose in life. There is a popular saying to this effect, ‘show me your friends and I will tell you who you are and what your future will be’.

As part of reconditioning your life, you need to unpick your relationships to determine who stays close, and who to keep at a distance. Sometimes, this might have to involve family members as well.

The justification is simple. If you are constantly stressed, angry and anxious due to unhealthy relationships, your health will eventually take a toll and you will be unable to function at optimum capacity to live a successful life. in plain terms, you will eventually be useless to others and to yourself.

If we view success has something we aspire to achieve later in life, then what if you don’t live till ‘later in life’? Hence, my definition of success takes into account the daily, weekly or monthly, small steps towards a long-term life purpose, as a mark of living successfully.

Before you leave….

Do you feel like you are always out of time daily and want to make a change? Take the TIME CHALLENGE….Use this FREE 10-point checklist to unmake time from things that don’t add value to you and create more time for things you love!

Thank you for reading this post! If you have been inspired, please leave a comment and share on social media too!