How to Improve Your People Skills as a Professional

Updated: May 11, 2020

What helps you build a strong network and forge meaningful relationships with people? That’s right; it’s people skills.

People skills is an essential element for growth and success; professionally, as well as in personal life.

Your people skills can help you grow as a person and live a happier life. They can help you build a better career, constantly delivering excellent results, and establishing fulfilling relationships in your social life.

Just as people skills are vital for your personal life, they are also essential for your work.

You could be outstanding on the job, but lacking people skills may make it a bit challenging to fit in. It may even be why others who are not as qualified as you keep getting promoted.

On the other hand, you may be quite communicative, yet freeze every time you need to speak publicly in front of a large group of people. That doesn't bode well for your presentations, conferences, and networking events.

Where you could potentially serve more people, have greater influence, and professional increase your network.

Wherever you are on the people skills spectrum, there is always room for improvement.

Fortunately, it's not rocket science. Improving your people skills is possible and within reach.

Even if you’re an introvert, you can overcome the barriers that stand in the way of you enhancing your social power.

Without further ado, let’s dive into the crucial people skills rituals you could start practicing for immediate positive results.

Rituals to Include in Your Daily Dealings

What you’re about to learn here are authentic, tried-and-true, golden rules that if you implement into your every day life. I trust will serve you well, as they have served me.

Let’s get to it.

Regular Interactions with Contacts and Colleagues

Image: Sharma Harsish Pixabay

How much time do you spend with people at your workplace? Forty hours a week? Maybe more?

That’s quite a lot of time, which means it’s imperative to have great relationships with them. After all, you’re all working towards the same goals and likely collaborate regularly.

Forming strong work relationships will even help you do your job better.

That’s because getting along with people makes you happier. Working in a friendly atmosphere filled with positive vibes improves your mood, builds your confidence, helps you grow, and makes you more productive.

The same goes for all your professional contacts. Staying in touch with them can be a huge professional advantage. It could be that one of them is trying to fill a position for which you would be ideal.

Regularly mingling with people may just help you get that dream job.

Perhaps someone starts searching for a business partner, and your friendly face comes to mind. See how powerful people skills can be?

Share Values, Goals and Passion Openly

Passively living your life isn’t the way to go. If you have passive communication with colleagues, managers, and contacts, you may be losing a lot of opportunities for personal and professional growth.

Instead of being passive, you need to be more assertive.

Sitting silently in a corner won’t help you improve your social skills and build good relationships. Remember, effective communication is a two-way street.

Openly and honestly sharing your goals and values with people around you will paint a picture of a confident person who works hard to achieve those goals.

It may also spark some interesting conversations. Perhaps someone shares the same values and goals, so they bring you closer together.

Show Credible Interest in the Dealings of Your Contacts

A conversation is not a monologue.

This is a very simple rule that many people easily forget.

You have a person in front of you, who is listening to what you have to say to try and get to know you better.

But are you doing the same?

Sharing your thoughts is important for good networking, but you also need to show interest in other people.

You need to be an active listener. It can’t be all about you. It's all about them, and what they're concerned about, and/or interested in. You don’t want to come across a self-centered person, because no one wants to hang out with such a person, let alone do business with them.

Oh, remember to avoid all distractions. Put your phone and electronic devices away.

Showing genuine interest in your contacts’ dealings will make them feel more comfortable sharing their own goals and ideas. Your relationship will start blossoming before you know it.

Learn Non-Verbal Cues and Watch out for Them

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Maya Angelou once said: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

This is absolutely true. What you say is important, but how you say it often carries more weight.

So, you need to make sure your body language gives off positive vibes. It needs to show that you are confident, relaxed, friendly, open for communication, and enthusiastic about working with people.

If you want to make a good first impression (which may be a lasting impression) and avoid appearing closed off, you need to practice good non-verbal communication.

Picking up non-verbal cues in others is also vital, as it will help you approach them properly and at the right time.

Here are some simple dos and don’ts to keep in mind

Body Language Dos

  1. Have an open and relaxed posture.

  2. Stand up tall or sit up straight with arms by your side.

  3. Maintain good eye contact with the person you’re talking to.

  4. Turn your body towards your interlocutor.

  5. Nod when agreeing to something.

  6. Always remember to smile. Smiling is the most important body language cue when networking.

  7. No matter who you’re talking to, approach them as a friend you’ve known for a long time. That way, they will feel comfortable in your presence, so they too will relax and focus on forming a good relationship.

Body Language Don'ts

  1. Don’t cross your arms, because you would seem closed off or shy.

  2. Don’t hide your hands in pockets.