16 Skills That Can Help You Become More People Smart

Key Takeaways

  • Being people smart is an important addition to your skillset.
  • Research reveals that you may have great business or technical skills, but what will make a difference or help you maximize success, is people-smart skills. It makes it easy for you to build new connections, maintain existing ones, gain access to new business opportunities, navigate office politics, maximize personal success and that of your team at work.
  • Everyone regardless of their social status has a deep-seated need to be valued, form connections, get inspired, or be praised. Your ability to fulfill this need from time to time within healthy boundaries will help you maximize positive outcomes at work and in life.

People Smart Skills

What Does It Mean To Be People Smart?

People smart skills are categorized under soft skills and it means that you are good at interpersonal relationships or have good social/people skills. It’s manifest when a person is influential, a great communicator, carries everyone along as a team leader and/or is a good team player.

If you are someone who has empathy, easily connects with people and is able to provide support for others, then you are most likely people smart.

Why Do You Need To Be More People Smart?

People Smart Skills Helps You To Influence Others

Effectively managing your interactions with people can make all the difference in any area of your life. It also increases your influence, especially in these times of personal brands. Someone mentioned that Steve Harvey, the American Television presenter, is able to build many businesses around his personal brand easily because of his influence.

You Will Always Have To Deal With People

It is crucial to note that there is no aspect of this human endeavour where you wouldn’t need people to succeed, hence the need to be people smart. Regardless of your position in an organization, you will need people to accomplish tasks, climb higher up the career ladder, purchase your products if you are a salesperson etc.

You Need People Smart Skills To Build Lasting Connections

Do you want to connect with people easily, be likeable and build lasting relationships? Learning skills that help you become people smart is the way to go. In the professional world, it is often said that your network is your net worth. People smart skills will help you cultivate relationships that will enhance your network.

Some people may think there are personality types that are extremely natural with being people smart. The truth is that people smart skills can be learned and practiced by anyone.

Ignoring people smart skills will result in loss of business/career opportunities or meaningful connections that can accelerate your professional and personal success.

16 Things That Will Enhance Your Ability To Be More People Smart

1. Active Listening

It will always be tempting to want your voice to dominate conversations but doing so will only repel people away from you.
Everyone has that need to feel heard and valued. And you fulfill that need when you pay close attention to what they are saying.

Active listening involves making eye contact during the conversation and nodding your head from time to time to acknowledge what has been said. It also includes paraphrasing sentences being said to clarify meaning when you are unsure of the message being passed.
Things like pressing your phone while in a conversation or looking away will give the impression that the speaker doesn’t matter to you.

Practice listening to someone talking to you without having to cut in but only speaking when asked to. It will take a great effort from you but it is possible.

2. Accommodating Other Point of Views

You have to come to terms with the truth that your point of view isn’t the only one existing. Other people have one too. Accommodating other people’s point of view or perspective increases your effectiveness at being people smart. It helps you have a myriad of perspectives with which you are better able to make quality decisions especially if you are a team lead.

Be willing to ask for suggestions or contributions. That way, you are showing that your point of view is not only what matters but that others do too. It will make those whom you lead have a sense of belonging and also increase their level of commitment to you as a leader.

3. Being Generous With Compliments

In intimate relationships, we want our significant other to compliment our looks. It makes us feel good about ourselves. Providing those compliments to people outside your personal relationships takes your people smart skills a notch higher. It could be in the form of praising a job well done or acknowledging an input or contribution. It helps the person who is addressed feel appreciated and thus inspires more commitment and makes you more likeable.

4. Being Approachable

Being approachable means your countenance is always welcoming and, you often wear a smile. This makes it easier for people to come to you to seek your help, suggestions and opinions or build rapport with you. Thus, invariably expanding your social network and connections.

5. Cultivating a Likeable Personality

Do you want to come across as having a likeable personality? When you do, people will gravitate towards you without you trying too hard, especially if you are shy or an introvert. To be likeable, don’t be too judgemental, people like those with whom they can feel comfortable and vulnerable.

6. Resolving Conflicts

A single misunderstanding can bring years of a great relationship to an abrupt end. It could be a business partnership, relationship with peers or a senior colleague at work or in personal relationships. Learning conflict resolution is an important skill to hone if it doesn’t come to you naturally. It starts with knowing that everyone has an interest to protect. Helping people see the bigger picture when their personal ambitions are getting in the way requires a great deal of conflict resolution skills.

Managing conflicting interests requires the ability to reach a compromise that will be appealing to the parties concerned. This article will provide you with more insight into conflict resolution.

7. Being Trustworthy

Trust is one of the backbones of any healthy relationship, whether personal or professional. If people find that you are reliable and are able to count on you, you are already halfway successful at being people smart. But if people see you as someone they can’t trust, it will limit your success on many levels. If you are in business, for example, it will limit how many referrals you can get from business services previously rendered. In the corporate setting, it can hinder you from being promoted or being sponsored by a senior colleague.

8. Nurturing Relationships

One of the essences of learning people smart skills is to equip with the knowledge to nurture your relationships. It is easier to make a request from someone you regularly keep in touch with. Fleeing your relationships and only remembering them when you need something doesn’t portray you in a positive light. While you build new connections now and then, go the extra mile to nurture them so that you can easily leverage them when you need to. You need people to advance higher up the career ladder and gain new clients.

9. Being Caring

Oftentimes, we want to be absorbed in our own jobs or businesses that we care less about others. But caring for others helps us earn intangible rewards that come back when we need them.

For example, if you need votes to attain a position in the workplace or for a community project, people will likely gravitate towards candidates that have touched their lives directly or indirectly. The benefits of caring for others do not only result in gaining votes but also impact other areas of our lives too.

10. Always Showing Appreciation

When you thank a customer for a purchase made, a business partner for a successful collaboration or a colleague for an assignment or task completed, they feel more valued. If you are a team leader, showing appreciation will invariably elicit team members’ commitment to your leadership or business. A customer who feels valued from being appreciated will likely develop brand loyalty by making repeated purchases.

11. Having a Good Sense of Humor

If you regularly engage in any form of public speaking, adding humour to your speeches or talks has a way of endearing people to you. It makes people feel relaxed while they listen to you speak. You can add humour by telling stories from personal experiences or current or past events. Humour puts people in a lighter mood and a mental position to take the information being shared.

Adding a little humour gives a good impression of your personality in the minds of others. Having a good sense of humour is not limited to public conversations, but also extends to one on one interactions. People love it when they are able to have a good talk and laugh in their conversations.

12. Adding value

There is hardly anyone who isn’t a member of a group or association at work. No one will think much of you when you don’t add value to any of the groups you belong to. You may be relegated to the background because your impact is not being felt.

To increase likeability and become more people smart in business and career settings, add value by making contributions or solving problems. By doing so, people will keep coming back to you and asking for your help or inputs.
Adding value means you are investing time in helping others. Someone coined it as opening an “emotional bank account”. This will make people remember your contribution and the thought of you will be impressed in their minds. When an opportunity opens up, they would go out of their way to connect you to it because you have impacted their lives.

Seek out ways to make contributions to any group or community you belong to. This will help you become a valuable member of any group and keep you at the top of the mind of decision-makers at work.

13. Providing Helpful Feedback

Being people smart compels you to give feedback in a way that is not destructive. A media entrepreneur shared one of the biggest lessons he learned as a leader having found that he is harsh, blunt and would always want to give the truth straight up. He says he has learned to provide ‘loving feedback’ in the workplace. ‘You must always give feedback to people in a way that affirms them and validates them. You must not give them in a way that makes them feel less than themselves or feel like am not worthy or am not too good or am not good enough or am a bad person.’

‘The minute your candidness, your honesty, your truth and transparency are making people feel like they are less human, you have begun to cross the line from effectiveness to destruction’. He concludes.

14. Encouraging Than Criticizing

When people do something that you don’t agree with, it is better to encourage them than to criticize. People will be willing to receive advice or counsel from you if you do not always offer it in a condescending manner.
Providing encouragement inspires positivity and the willingness to turn a new leaf. This attitude commands loyalty from people whom you have inspired change in their behaviour.

15. Respectfulness

You may think that only higher-ups deserve to be respected. But it is not so. Being treated with respect is a universal need. Everyone craves it. Extending respect to people below you will go a long way in improving your relationship with them. The result will be loyalty and lasting connections that help you advance in your career when you need it most.

16. Empathy

Being empathetic is essentially crucial if you want to increase your effectiveness at being people smart. It helps you be more humane in your dealings with others. The result will be earning the friendship of people because you are relatable. A customer service executive shared her experience of showing empathy at the workplace. “This virtue endeared me to a lot of people and won me the admiration of many customers”, she said.

We can’t work with others without experiencing some form of friction but being people smart sets you up for success. People smart skills enable you to navigate your relationships in a way that will benefit you and others that you meet along the way.

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