We can always study more, obtain one more degree or certification, become a specialist in a new discipline, and make other attempts to increase our competency. Being skilled in whatever endeavor we pursue is a basic requirement if we want to succeed. However, practical knowledge may get you in the door, but good people skills are essential in moving you forward. And, they often determine the extent of your financial rewards.
Whether you are a teacher, a brain surgeon, an independent consultant, a law enforcement officer, or a homemaker, solid people skills will be one of the most empowering tools in your financial arsenal. Operating from a platform of poor people skills is an unprofitable path. It’s no secret that everyone prefers to do business and socialize with people they know, like, and trust. Let’s look at some practical ways you can become more likable. As you review this list, consider which skills you need to hone and which ones you can be grateful that the grace of God has prevailed in that area of your life.
- Smile. A smile will brighten your day as well as that of those you encounter. Smiling is a universal language that never requires an interpreter. Of course, it’s no effort to smile when things are going well, but sometimes we need to smile even when things are not going well. Don’t wait for joy to generate your smile; let your smile generate your joy. Never forget that feelings follow behavior; you will feel better when you smile. So just do it! Why not start right now?
- Remember common courtesies. Say “Thank you,” “Please,” and “I’m sorry” to people in your personal and professional environments. Request rather than command or demand what you desire.
- Listen: Be intentionally silent for periods of times during a conversation and make eye contact, nod, and listen. Ask clarifying questions as appropriate without accusing or prying. Show genuine interest in other people. Be conscious of the number of times you say “I” during your conversations. Don’t allow the conversation to be all about you.
- Respect other people’s right to believe, act or dress differently. No need to be adamant about non-eternal matters or those that do not affect the quality of your life. Keep your disdain and critical judgments to yourself. Do you really think that expressing them will change someone?
- Don’t interrupt. Even if the person is long-winded. If you feel you need to interject a point, raise your index finger slightly as if to ask for permission to speak. If that doesn’t work, just try to jump into the conversation at the end of a thought.
- Be quick to serve others. Jesus cautioned His disciples, “The greatest among you must be a servant” (Matthew 23:11 NLT). Extend yourself to others as if you were serving God Himself—because you are! You will surely reap a positive reward.
- Be humble. Humility is not an affected demeanor; it is a mind-set. Don’t brag about your position, possessions, people you know, or places you’ve traveled. Doing so is a glaring indication of where you derive your self-worth from. Humility tops the chart as the most admired character trait; pride and arrogance are the most detestable.
- Resist envy. If a family member, friend, co-worker, or acquaintance makes a notable achievement or acquires something of value, just congratulate her; don’t compete or “hate.” And for goodness’ sake, don’t mention another person who has exceeded her achievement. It will surely be perceived as your subtle attempt to level the playing field. You may as well plaster a sign on your forehead that reads, “Envy Alert!”
- Make every effort to remember people’s names. A person’s name can be the sweetest and most important sound in any language. Recently I saw someone from our former church. By the grace of God, I remembered his name. He beamed as if I’d given him something valuable. Indeed, I had: significance.
- Always make the other person feel valued and appreciated. Do it sincerely and without hidden motives. Phoniness is more discernable than you think. Simply acknowledge or praise people’s small and large acts of service and accomplishments—especially your employees and family members.
We will look at additional ways to be more likable and to win with people in the next post… Stay tuned!
(This is an excerpt from my book, THE ONE-MINUTE MONEY MENTOR FOR WOMEN.)