What makes you successful in applying people skills?

successfully applying people skillsSuppose for a minute everyone you meet reacts favourably to you and your proposals.

What would this imply for your self-confidence, your communication, your interactions and your manner of approaching others?

Precisely the certainty of this favourable acceptance by other people is what the application of people skills can bring about. The sole precondition is that you apply your people skills with the awareness of what people need.

What do people need?

Successful application of people skills rests on realising that people essentially need a form of safety. They need the certainty that they can trust you not to hurt their interests.

By taking this into account you are able to give what the people you meet need in order for them to react favourably to you and your proposals.

People need to know you’re WITH them

People skills work because of the practical reality that people prefer a smooth encounter above an unclear confrontation-like meeting. They allow you to assure other people that you are working WITH them towards a common goal.

It doesn’t matter where people come from, in all social classes, all levels of education, across all genders – the vast majority of people choose to be on the defensive when faced with the possibility of a confrontation-like meeting.

You are able break through the defences that people unconsciously use and have a productive encounter by being open and taking into account what the other person needs. That is what the right application of people skills allows you to do.

People need to feel comfortable with you

Openness and taking the other person’s needs into account allow for a social space in which you can both feel comfortable. The vast majority of people requires this kind of safe space. Here lies an opportunity to learn to relate to the vast majority of people. Chances are you belong to this vast majority as well, so you can start with what you would like to experience yourself.

Abstractly formulated, people skills are those behaviours that show a natural sympathy for someone you meet. The effect of this sympathy shows itself in the behaviour the other person is exhibiting towards you. When done right, people skills applied lead to an affinity between you and the other person.

Affinity means a willingness to come closer (figuratively speaking). It makes it possible to examine what is mutual, can be shared and explored together. These are the essential requirements for the seeds of a relationship. When your communication in a broad sense proves you are sincere, more transparency and straightforwardness will follow.

People skills elicit the best from people

Essentially people skills are about eliciting the best from people, that is: the other person(s) and you. By approaching someone and showing you are not offensive there will be no reason or real occasion for the other person to be on the defensive. In these circumstances people are able and willing to bring out the best of themselves and explore the situation for its potential.

Perhaps it reflects an optimistic view of man that people are willing to bring out the best of themselves when you show them they can trust you. But why not give it a try? It is without risk, no loss and only potential gain.

How do you know what other people need?

People really do respond very well to professional decency and an openness they are offered to share. Of course this requires a professional attitude and a little bit of experience. But essentially it is as simple as the application of what you unconsciously already do when you are with people you know and trust.

By exploring your own needs you will get an idea about what you need in preparation for interaction with others. But this is just the beginning. Soon you’ll become adept at meeting other people’s needs even when they exhibit themselves in another form than your own. That is what you need to be successful in applying people skills: to respond to what people need from you to make a relationship possible.

The result will be an open social space where you both feel comfortable and where you are able to put forward your goals and what you need from each other.

By Iris Dorreboom and Rudi de Graaf

People skills is a name for an array of competences that make it possible to get things done together with others. They range from listening to dealing with difficult people to giving feedback to handling conflicts. We coach people in the preconditions for the successful application of people skills. Please look at our coaching offer for more details.

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