The Number One People Skill

Put your attention on the person. That's it. That's the whole technique. It doesn't take any skill at all. It only takes the will.

It's like a meditation, and it is the most important people-skill you can develop.

Put your interest in others. Be curious about them, interested in them. Not faking it. But have a goal of genuinely learning about this person. What makes them tick? How do they feel about things? What do they do? Hobbies? Interests? What do they think about world events? How do they feel about something (anything you are curious about)?

And even beyond the conversational things, simply keeping your attention on people makes them feel good, makes them feel important, and has a connecting effect.

And it makes you stand out. You become interesting, so this simple first-stage people-skill is the beginning of relating to others. It's fundamental. It comes first.

We are all somewhat self-centered. Those who are good at dealing with people have learned to take their attention off what it naturally sticks on (their own goals and problems) and put it out on the other. It is a great gift for the person you're talking with. And it is like a meditation for you.

Even when you're doing this, your mind will naturally wander back to you — it will wander to how can you impress this person, how can you jump in and show you know something, how you can share what you feel about it, and how you can bring up something you want to talk about.

Your mind wanders back to you. And when you notice this, you gently bring your attention back to the other person. Again and again, like a meditation.

Eventually, you will be able keep your attention on the other relatively easily, and when you can do this, you will have gained the first skill in dealing with people successfully.

Adam Khan is the author of Principles For Personal Growth, Direct Your Mind, and co-author with Klassy Evans of How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English). Follow his podcast, The Adam Bomb.

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