There are many interpretations of what good people skills are and why they are useful. If you have the technical skills needed for your career, do you also need these soft skills to be successful? The short answer is yes, to be successful in any career, it is important to understand how to work well with others.
These skills apply to career and leadership success in almost all industries, regardless of the line of work. The skills necessary to be a leader such as understanding people and what makes them tick is of the utmost importance.
Developing People Skills
To develop good people skills, we first have to understand what they are. Here are four important skills to get you started:
- Awareness – You are in tune with other's feelings and behaviors. You understand how to put yourself in someone else's shoes, and you practice this when necessary. Along these same lines, you're able to take your past experiences and use these to relate to what the other person is saying.
- Communication - You speak with clarity and directness while paying attention to others non-verbal cues such as tone of voice, body language, and eye contact. You pay attention to what others say, how they say it, what they don't say and are in return flexible with your communication style.
- Listening - You practice active listening and don't interrupt others before they are finished speaking. You listen to what other people are saying and aren't just waiting to speak.
- Approachable –You treat your classmates and/or co-workers with respect, and in return they are comfortable coming to you with questions and problems that need to be solved. You keep an open mind, regardless of how you are personally feeling each day, and you keep your emotional intelligence in check.
Mastering People Skills
How do you obtain people skills if they don't naturally come to you? Once you understand what people skills are, it takes effort to implement them daily. Take time each day to be aware, communicate, listen, and be approachable to your co-workers. Put it on your to-do list next to the deadlines you need to meet.
Some careers require more interaction with people than others. It’s important to understand the level of skill needed for success in your current or desired career. There are many careers in which you’ll need to develop these soft skills, especially if you’ll interact with many people on a daily basis. Those studying Public Relations or Business should be just as aware of these soft skills as a nurse is of Anatomy and Physiology.
To learn more about developing your people skills, try taking a class on communications such as South University's COM2006 – Interpersonal Communication. You can also research free tutorials through YouTube or Lynda.com, or even read a book in improving your interpersonal skills. Whichever route of learning you choose, practice developing your skills daily until they become a natural part of your interactions with those around you.
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