People skills encompass a large group of abilities that help us interact with others in an effective way.
These skills are often hard to learn and master, because dealing with others effectively also means being able to adapt yourself to different situations and personalities.
However, our motivation to grow and improve can help us learn and develop the soft skills that are not already part of our personality.
If we observe the most charming people we know, we can see they tend to have in common some fundamental skills, that make it easier for them to connect with others and be well-liked.
What follows are the skills they usually have in common and that you can easily learn and apply to your everyday interactions.
1. One of the Most Important People Skills: The Ability to Put Yourself in Other People’s Shoes
Do you know what is one of the most important people skills?
One of the most fundamental skills is being able to put yourself in others’ shoes.
It makes your life easier, because when you see things from someone else’s point of view, it’s more difficult you’ll take things personally.
And it makes other people’s life easier too — when they interact with you — because they feel understood.
When you make someone feel understood, you open a communication channel that was probably closed or where your voice somehow didn’t fit.
And putting yourself in someone else’s shoes is all about this: understanding others and making them feel understood, so that they can understand you too.
This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to agree on everything with someone.
As Jacquelyn Smith explains in an article published in Forbes, “Sometimes being able to relate to others simply means that you’re willing to agree to disagree with mutual respect; letting them know you understand their position.”
Recommended read: Be Unforgettable: 10 Qualities That Make You Memorable to Anyone
2. The Ability to Admit Your Mistakes
One of my first jobs in Rome was in a Visa Application Center.
We received applications from people who needed a visa to travel to a country outside of Europe, and one of our tasks was to collect each applicant’s fingerprints.
One day, one of my colleagues, Helena, collected the fingerprints of one customer, but registered the data of her sister into the system.
That type of mistake was difficult to fix, as we had to speak directly with the local embassy.
However, Helena immediately apologized to the entire team for her mistake and took care of contacting the embassy to fix the issue. I admired her for how she handled the situation.
Few people have the ability to admit their mistakes — without getting defensive — probably because, as Mel Schwartz L.C.S.W. explains, “One of the most prevalent and damaging themes in our culture is the need to be right.”
There is something these people do differently, that makes it easier for them to admit when they’re wrong. They let go of this need to be right.
And this makes their relationships easier and healthier.
When they know they screwed up, and someone calls them out on it, they admit their mistake and look for a way to fix it. And they prevent unnecessary conflict.
This goes hand in hand with the previous point, as admitting a mistake is one of the things we can do to be honest with others. And being honest helps build trust.
If you think about it, when someone is consistently honest with us, we tend to trust them more. Because we know they mean what they say.
Charming people learned the importance of putting honesty first in any kind of relationship, and they prefer to be authentic and telling you the truth instead of telling you what you want to hear.
4. Sense of Humor
A sense of humor is an essential people skill.
In particular, when you don’t take yourself too seriously and you find humor even in your flaws, people tend to find you more likable.
This happens because laughing at yourself is a way to make yourself more accessible to others by showing to them that you have imperfections too, and that you don’t care too much about those defects.
Not to mention, when you let go of the need to be approved by others, life gets easier and even your relationships do.
As Frank T. McAndrew Ph.D. explains, “a sense of humor is a socially valued trait that almost all of us would prefer to have more of.
And a person with an undeveloped sense of humor lacks a social skill that puts them at a disadvantage in the their everyday social life.”
5. The Ability to Show a Genuine Interest in Others
As I mentioned in other articles, most people love to talk about themselves, so they tend to redirect every conversation to themselves. Instead, few people are able to show a truly genuine interest in others.
People who usually better connect with others are the ones who have the habit of asking quality questions; so they can learn more about what you’re telling them.
They let go of the need to talk about themselves and let their curiosity guide their interactions.
Instead of saying, “Oh yes, that happened to me to; in fact, I have a better story,” they say, “Wow, that’s interesting. Please, tell me more.”
Recommended read: 12 Quality Conversation Starters That Make You Instantly Charming
6. Good Manners
Good manners are essential when it comes to successfully interact with others. It may sound obvious, yet, as Jacquelyn Smith explains in Forbes, some people need little reminders.
Also, in an interesting article published in Psychology Today, professor Paul J. Zak explains that “when someone is nice towards another person, the recipient’s brain releases oxytocin and this causes him or her to respond with kindness.”
I don’t know about you, but it truly amazes me how some small behaviors can trigger chemical reactions in someone else’s brain.
And how we can make someone’s day by just being kind.
7. The Most Important of All People Skills: Empathic Listening
In his masterpiece “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” Stephen R. Covey explained that one of the habits successful people have in common — and that we should all learn — is listen with the intent to understand.
As Covey said, most of us typically seek first to be understood. What only few people do, instead, is listen to others with the intent to understand them and make them feel understood.
This is also called empathic listening, and it’s one of the most important people skills.
People Skills: Final Thoughts
Like I said, people skills can be hard to learn and master.
However, simple things like putting yourself in others’ shoes, being honest, showing a genuine interest in others, and admitting your mistakes, can definitely help you better connect with others and transform your relationships.
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