I have been enjoying a new blog lately, Penelope Trunk's Brazen Careerist. Flipping around her site is entriguing and intimidating. She is like, she-women, a super dupper risk taker, fearless of the odds. Completely witty, pointed and self-assured. I don't agree with everything she says (or does) but her intrigue and ingenuity cannot be ignored.
One post struck me today, titled in short, Social Skills Matter. As her blog focuses on work, as does most of her advice on this topic. As my blog focuses on boys, I decided to steal the topic and give it the little20slife twist.
Social skills are definitely the key to success in this world, and by success I mean, getting what you want. Just think, what stands in your way of most goals? Gatekeepers. Decision makers. Bosses. Parents. Teachers. People. The power of persuasion is now simply called good personal relations.
But how do you relate to people in a good personal way? Here's how I do it.
1. Talk to them. Make an effort to take interest in their individual, special, unique lives. I just love it when I find a talker, the questions start to roll off my lips. What can you ask them you may wonder. Well, how about do they have kids? What are their dreams and passions? Where did they come from? Have they been out of the country? And each question's answer leads to about 5-500 more. Just go for it.
2. Remember what they tell you. And follow up. Nothing says they are important to you other than your genuine interest and following questions regarding your initial questions. It means what they told you was not taken lightly. You took it to heart and care about what is going on in their life. Details count. Stash them away. (But only if they told you. Don't share tidbits they did not tell you unless you can explain it without looking like a stalker.)
3. Give off the open vibe. I can shut a guy in a bar down within .01 seconds. They smile at me (or make eye contact), I hold my lips tight, shoot a couple daggers out my eyes and turn away asap. Want to invite them over to talk? Want to win over the boyfriend's friends? Mother? Roommate? Smile. Laugh. Keep your eyes and body language friendly. Make eye contact and hold it. They will warm to you. (And guys are stupid. Sometimes the inviting body language doesn't work, you just have to approach them. Sorry.)
4. Ask a question. People like to feel knowledgeable and unintimidated. If you ask a question (in a non-quizzical manner), they will feel empowered, important and respected. Ask them about something they like (is raising children rewarding?), or something happening in front of you (why is that girl crazy?). It will stimulate conversation and compliment them.
5. Compliment them. Something that you mean. Being fake just turns them the other way.
6. Persist. If they are not buying you for some reason and are not being hostile or mean, just keep it friendly if it is important to get to know them. Some people are naturally untrusting. The walls will come down with people that are worth getting to know.
So, there are some of the things I use, in work and in life. Its fun seeing what happens just because people like you. Besides the typical free drink at the bar, I get directions, song requests played, behind the scenes tours, discounts and most importantly, friends.