Getting better at working with people is one of the keys to chasing success.
Recently I’ve been reading the book How to Make Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie. In this rather simple book, you get an overview of the skills you need to work with people. These are skills they don’t teach in school and they really should.
To make it easy, I’m going to start with the two biggest lessons of my study so far. To make it a bit more manageable I have given them my own little twist.
How to be better at working with people?
People with charm win out. People with charisma and confidence seem to just be able to walk in the room and light the place up. They just show up, big smile, clever chat and after a few moments everyone is dying to be their friend and help them do their thing.
This often seems like a lucky inherited trait; like some people are just born with charm. And that may be true. However, I’m not giving up. I’m sure I can improve my charm factor, even if it’s just a little. So what kind of charm schooling does Mr Carnegie offer?
He suggests the following:
- You need positive energy
- If you’re not a natural charmer, try the listener approach
- And if you’re not getting the interest of people, try sharing their interests
Simple advice, but let’s take a deeper look.
First, and I would hope it’s obvious, we need to have energy. Just try to picture the kind of charismatic person you want to be near, to get to know and get to work with. Is it a grumpy, slow, mumbling, sad type person. No! Of course not. And I can answer with confidence because I know no one wants to work with that kind of person. That might be the kind of person we have to work with; however, that’s not the kind of person we want to be around. What we all really want is the up-and-about go getter. We want someone with great positive energy to come and lift us up.
This is why a lot of us love people like Tony Robbins, or Oprah, or Ellen. We always see these people in a peak state. We see them positive and energetic, ready to take on the world. We like that. That kind of energy is infectious. We want to be around it and feel good.
I think the message is clear, we are charmed by bright, positive and enthusiastic people.
So start by getting yourself into a peak state and interact with people positively. Give them a few minutes of high charged excitement for life, give them energy, enthusiasm and humour and they’ll want to be around you. Give them enthusiasm for what you have and they’ll want it too.
For tips on living in a peak state read:
That said, no matter how positive you are, the basic truth is that every person sees themselves as the hero of their story. Generally, they don’t want to hear why you are so awesome and why you are so happy, or what you want. If you want to charm people and make them happy to work with you, you need to try and let them be the hero.
How do we do that?
We listen to them.
Carnagie’s message is that the true charmers are charming because they get people to feel important. They get them talking about themselves and they really listen. And boy do people want to be heard. So many people go through their days never really being heard at all. So, it’s like a moment of heavenly grace when someone stops to totally absorb what they are saying. Then, on the off chance that some really cares and they ask for more, well that just lights them up.
I know this with a few people in my personal life, but for one big example, I see that’s kind of Tony Robbins’ secret. He will listen to what people want to say. But more than that, he’ll look them straight in the eye and push them to tell their truth. And he absolutely listens and wants to know the core of that person.
No wonder he can charge a fortune. Who else in the whole world ever wants to listen to people that much? Even my doctor doesn’t listen to what’s wrong with me … So listen!
C) Show interest.
Further to this, you need to become interested in people. If you are going to work with people, you can’t just see them as units to interact with or to sell to. People are so used to that now. And no one wants to feel like they are a dollar sign, or a shoulder to just cry on. No, you need to actually care about people and want to interact with them on the level of human emotion.
We just covered listening with interest. But more than that, you should look to show a genuine interest. When you hear a person’s name, you repeat it in your head until you remember it. When someone tells you what they are interested in, you take a note and you remember for future conversations. You want to know their lives, their problems and their desires.
This is absolutely the key to success with my students. I learn their names quick and I learn who they are, and that’s the first step that must be taken if I want them to take me seriously and learn anything from me. They need to know I care.
But we can take it further, which I don’t do, and not many do.
Carnagie says, the golden approach is to research and find out what the people you’re working with find interesting. The big example that springs to mind is when he talks of President Roosevelt – Apparently, when meeting someone, he would read up the night before on the topics his guest were interested in. Then on the day he’d be a big hit asking all the right questions and interacting; making the other person feel very interesting and most of all important.
I guess that makes perfect sense. There’s nothing more interesting than talking about the things we’re interested in. However, so often people are just interested in themselves. They fall short in conversation because they have little else to talk about. So, a good tip, learn about other people’s interests and charm them by listening and knowing what they’re interested in.
2. Appreciation is the Key to Working with People
This brings us nicely to the second big lesson about dealing with people. The big secret is that most people are completely absorbed with themselves. We don’t like to admit it, but I feel like it’s true. We are tied up in our own worlds and we don’t tend to care about the well meaning influencer or salesperson who knocks on the door.
This is basically Carnagie’s big point: People don’t want to be sold to.
That’s definitely me. If I want something, then I’ll go out and get it. And if I want to ‘chit chat’, then I’ll call a true friend. I’m really not interested in the sales person or the influencer, and in many cases well meaning strangers.
Most of the time anyway. But then there are some that I do listen to. And why is that?
Because they make me feel like I’m buying. They’re not selling me or chasing me down. They are there offering something that I want. And why am I buying? I’m buying because they make me feel good. Isn’t that the reason we buy things and care about people? We go get them because the make us feel better about themselves. Be it the product, or us in person, we don’t want to be sold, we want to buy.
How do we get to that point?
How do we get to the point where people are wanting to work with us. (Buy us?) Well, we need to build relationships. That’s a whole long blog right there, but for now, let’s look at the simple hack version.
The hack: We show them true and honest appreciation.
This maybe seems obvious. I think the best example Carnagie gives is of the wife who is appreciated. The wife who is daily given genuine appreciation for all the wonderful things she does, will continue to do wonderful things. The appreciation is the thing that tells her she is special.
We tend to know this. If we take this example – the wife: How did she become a wife? Most likely a man went out of his way to make her feel special. How? By paying her compliments and doing things to show her how special she is. Now, how often do we do that for the people we work with, we work for, or our customers and clients?
How often do we compliment strangers? Or the workers we see everyday?
I don’t know, but I know I’m no good at this one. I have to start working on it.
Make people feel special and they will want to work with you.
So, here we are: How do we get better at working with people?
These are the first steps.
- You need to develop some charm. Get some good energy, start listening to people and learn to talk about their interests.
- You have to show appreciation and make people feel important.
- And, you must start now on building relationships and making people love you enough to want to work with you.
Working with people I believe is one of the keys to success. Great success does not happen in a bottle. If you want greater than the average, you need to be good, but more than that, you need to be good at working with people.
So team, let’s start today and let’s see where the path to success leads next.
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All the best, and remember to keep striving for success.