10 ways to improve your people skills and raise your emotional intelligence

Business is a team sport — but a rough one like rugby.  Companies and people can get hurt badly because more than ever before it’s a winner-take-all contest. It’s a game played under pressure – losing is not fun and winning solves everything. So, it’s no wonder bosses are looking for real team players.

We look for people who remain calm and effective under pressure, who empathize with clients and team members in pursuit of the best possible results. The gifted individuals we’re looking for act with grace in stressful situations, listen well, communicate well, admit mistakes and learn from them, respond well to criticism and show high self and situational awareness. With these skills, you can be counted on to build productive relationships founded on trust and respect.

These are essentially ‘people skills’, though employers also call them ’emotional intelligence’. When you lack these skills, you have a “personality issue”. But as any parent can tell you, we aren’t born with people skills.

I think I have good people skillsGood people skills are unnatural. If Johnny the two-year-old wants to play with his brother’s toy, he just grabs it away. His four-year-old brother pushes Johnny down on the ground and takes it back. It’s no wonder that personality issues are the number one reason why VP’s don’t become CEOs and why otherwise good employees lose their jobs in a recession.

Little kids don’t like to share and they don’t like to consider anyone’s feelings but their own. Unsurprisingly, many adults still feel that way. Here’s a typical comment from someone advised to network and brush up on his so-called “soft skills”:

“I am a worker and a human being, not a circus act. If you want someone who will get the job done correctly and on time, every time, then I’m your man. If you want someone to read your mind, entertain you, or cater to your every whim, then you need a palm reader, a clown, or a dog. I’m none of those. Sorry.”

Ok, understood. But get used to sitting on the sidelines in bad times and watching your colleagues be promoted above you during good times. Your attitude makes you like a very specific tool, say a snowblower. I only need you when the snow is too heavy for a snow shovel. The rest of the time you sit in the garage rusting away.

Back to Johnny and his “personality issues”. If he’s lucky enough to receive good parenting, has good genes and enjoys the right social and educational opportunities, the little wild animal will be tamed and his resulting “emotional intelligence” will make him a productive member of society and valuable team member.

If his people skills are really top-notch, he will be perpetually in-demand and never need to prepare a formal resume. Until of course the day comes when he rises to the level in an organization where his strengths and weaknesses are at an equilibrium in relationship to his responsibilities… that’s called the Peter principle, and we’ll save that for another lesson.

If the stars did not align for you the way they did for Johnny, you will have a few more rough edges to polish. The good news is that the hiring managers searching for ’emotional intelligence’ are wrong – it’s not an intelligence, they are just skills that you can learn and practice.

If you don’t want your boss to see a snowblower when he looks at you, if you want him to see someone really special in front of him, follow these steps in order:

  1. Connect with people – read How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
  2. Learn good listening skills – read Peaceful Parents, Peaceful Kids; Practical Ways to Create a Calm and Happy Home by Naomi Drew (chapter 6).
  3. Close your e-mails wellhand write them and do it warmly when appropriate.
  4. Learn pacing in conversation – this is a sales and NLP technique for developing rapport.
  5. Study and use body language – body language is almost always more truthful than speech.
  6. Learn to recognize and manage stress – learning your own stress signals and techniques will help you help others.  Read Stop Worrying & Start Living by Dale Carnegie.
  7. Manage your energy – read The Power of Full Engagement; Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz.
  8. Study animal training and use it on people – read Don’t Shoot the Dog; The New Art of Teaching and Training
    by Karen Pryor.
  9. Use humornothing works quite as well. Read Lincoln on Leadership: Executive Strategies for Tough Times
    by Donald Phillips.
  10. Be kind to yourself – it’s hard to empathize and connect with others if you can’t do those things with yourself. First, treat yourself kindly.

When you’ve learned these skills, you’ll be of much greater value to your boss and you’ll enjoy your work and your relationships with coworkers more. Last but not least, your family and personal relationships will benefit immeasurably.

Get the ebook! If you liked what you read here, and think you may want to refer back to this guide later, grab the Kindle version – we’re hoping you’ll thank us with a five-star review on Amazon if you found this material helpful. The ebook also includes our job search guide.

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  • It wasn’t until I started my work-study  job in college in the PR and Media department that I realized just how important it is to have excellent communication and people skills in my current and future jobs. I am naturally a more reserved person, however, I learned that it is crucial to be able to communicate effectively, be able to quickly relate to all sorts of people and have the ability to build good work relationships with all of my co-workers. It was easy to see that great people skills separated the good employees from the great ones and I observed that the people skills that my current boss possessed played a definite role in her success in her job.

  • I am a server in a sea food restaurant. Being a server is not easy. You have to deal with all type of people, from the sweetest to the rudest. People can be so annoying when they are hungry. But I have found a way to treat them. I have to say my people skills had improve a lot. I have learn to relax and show the customer that I understand what they want. Even if someone makes me angry I control that anger and I continue working normally. I have learn to connect with people. You just have to listen what they want and give it to them, you can even use some humor. People like to feel listened, they like to feel that they are an important customer, so that is what I always try to give them. Connecting with people is very important in every business. Effective communication is needed with co-workers and customers.

  • I agree.  I believe one should be able to control one’s emotions in the workplace, regardless of where you work.  It is important to understand other co-workers and understand that people will disagree with us, but we should be able to cope with people different from us.  Working in an office or in a restaurant brings great stress.  I work in a restaurant and sometimes I am very close to losing it, luckily I have always been able to work constructively with my problems as they arise

  • Communicating with people can be similar to communicating with horses. I volunteered as a wrangler at a barn several summers ago. When I worked with the horses, I focused on training them by reminding them how to follow my cues. One horse, Pilgrim, did not want to halt when I gave the command. I had to rock back on my seat bones, say “Whoa,” and pull back on the reins. I made sure that I communicated clearly by not giving him mixed cues, like squeezing my legs, which means “Go,” while saying “Whoa.” With practice, he needed progressively lighter cues to stop, like less pressure on the reins. The goal was to use the lightest cues possible to get Pilgrim to respond. It is the same with communicating with people. As a wrangler, I was also in charge of the wranglers-in-training. My goal was to communicate with them effectively but as gently as possible. Their job was to complete chores like cleaning the water trough or scooping grain, so I allocated tasks without sounding bossy or critical. I communicated the tasks clearly so they knew what was expected of them. That way, I did not have to ask them multiple times, and they could confidently complete the chores without feeling micromanaged. I also tried to give them as much freedom as I could in completing the tasks while still making sure they got their chores done. When I needed to give them constructive criticism, I was sensitive to time and place so they did not feel singled out in front of their peers. In many ways, communicating effectively with people is like communicating with horses because gentle and clear communication is more effective than harsh or mixed signals.

  • Everybody will need people skills at some point in their life. That is why it is important to develop these skills as early as possible. Most of us will work with others or for others, so knowing how to interact with these people is important in order to succeed. Even outside of the workplace, you have to deal with other people. I captained a soccer team to a championship and worked at a restaurant, using people skills in both situations. Working at a restaurant requires not only people skills with customers but also with co-workers. Without proper teamwork at a restaurant, it is unlikely to get many customers. Overall, people skills can dictate how successful one will be, so it is best to master these skills as early as one can.

  • Sponge 22

    I believe in the work world you do need to be able to have good communication with your coworkers because how else are you going to get up in the ladder of the work world.  If you are not on the same page as a coworker then things are not going to turn out well.                                                                         

  • I am in complete agreement that well developed “people skills”, or highly developed emotional intelligence is essential to the workplace. One can always work toward bettering their own people skills in the working world as everything revolves around communication and teamwork. As a restaurant employee, I am always working toward improving my people skills. I believe that being as helpful as possible to other employees, being flexable about responsibilities, and constanly seeking feedback on performance is very important to consider when looking to further improve ones people skills in the workplace. Being a restaurant employee and having many diversified co-workers, it has become habit for me to be very polite, using the best of manners, being slow to anger and compromisable in communication. Also playing a large role in being a good employee in the restaurant business is being a very good listener and having attention to detail. When I am assigned a task, it is my responsibility to know exactly what is asked of me as to give the desired result.  Helping to develop these essential skills to the workplace was my family as well as my track through the education system. As a result, I have greatly improved my communication and people skills in many different workplaces and occupations, continuing to hone these skills as I advance further into my chosen career.

  • I definitely agree with this advice article. In the job market now a days, it’s not enough to be “good at the job”. Being a perfect employing requires so much more than being able to do the job well. One must also need to be able to work with others and take on leadership roles. Being able to learn from this advice article will help people get promoted instead of sitting on the sidelines.

  • When it comes to people skills, I can honestly say this is where I struggle the most. I work with a bunch of people, i am the youngest and yet I am the most mature one. I know that the job i have inst anywhere close to a career but i expected my coworkers to act like the grownups they are. (They are much older than I.) But I have been told that maybe my maturity is what is stopping me from being friendly. I plan to definitely work on all of these things, especially the one about the dog. If i can get my dog to listen to me and respect me, I am sure I can get my coworkers to do the same.

  • I was told by a teacher that a smart boss hires people who work well together; they see one another as equals and as a person they can go to if they need help.  It’s really easy to have people skills with customers because it’s minimal face time.  With your coworkers, that is who you spend the majority of time with and if you can’t get along with them, you need to find a new team.  At my job we schedule radiology exams via phone, and we spend about 5 minutes with each patient.  Sometimes there is a great connection with a person, other times you are just getting the job done.  But if you don’t get along with a person next to you, it can disrupt your simple 5 minute conversation and even cause you to make a mistake.  When you connect with the people you spend 40+ hours a week with, life becomes that much easier.

  • Sometimes is very difficult to control your emotions; especially, when you are under stress. However, it is very important to learn how to control your emotions. When I worked in a departmental store, I was under a lot of stress; especially, during christmas time. However, I tried to control myself and help customers because that was my obligation as employee.

  • so many of these lessons will be critical to surviving in a news room, which is where i plan to be when i graduate.  having good listening skills is always important when conducting interviews.  it helps later on when telling their story, and it helps during the interview when it comes to asking the right questions.  connecting with people on a personal level will also get most reporters much further in the field.  i’ve seen kindness kill in so many instances during my internships.  i will say this, it’s not just about being overly nice.  it’s important to be sincere as well.  people can smell fake a mile away, and no one wants to talk to a phony person.  

  • I am young and probably naive, but I have been working since I was 14 and have grown in so many ways from every position I have held. I have learned how to speak with your boss, co-workers, customers and patients. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, beliefs and ways to work, but when it comes down to the final say, your boss or manager is the one who makes the rules. The reason people hold boss and manager positions is because the majority of them can be authoritative, organized, skilled, educated, and more so people hired under them should know they say how the workplace runs. I agree 100% on the skills you need in order to improve your people skills, work skills and intelligence. I am 20 years old and a Junior in college. I currently work at a hospital as a Certified Nursing Assistant. When I applied for this position it was a per diem opening (as needed) and I was applying just to see if I could find a good satisfying CNA job. I was offered the job but the main point to being hired was what my director had told me when she offered me the job. She called me about a week and a half after my interview to offer me the job. She started out by telling me how I originally wasn’t suppose to have had an interview because I am a college student, far away and they weren’t sure if they even needed me. She continued to tell me however that she has never met a more mature, bubbly, outgoing 18 year old (at the time of the interview). I blew her away with my people skills and the ability to talk to her about the seriousness of this position but also about family, friends and most importantly school. My experience in the workplace has made me very mature, intelligent and personable on a professional level. I learned those 10 steps way before I started working from a very strong mother. My mother raised me to be caring, kind, strong willed, and most importantly to go for every single thing I want in life at 100%. And that is exactly what I have been doing and intend to do! Everyone in the workplace needs to have the majority of good people skills, work skills and intelligence. Just like this article said, if you are arrogant and a know it all, you will be the snowblower, obviously way better than the shovel, but only needed when the snow is too heavy for the shovel. 

  • I agree with these statements. Everyone can control how how they act while at work. I work at a fitness center and one of the main focuses is keeping the members happy while working out. I am always trying to be better at communicating with people and trying to get to know each of the members personally. If a member has a complain, even if i dont agree with what they are saying, it takes control to just accept their complain and try to be as helpful as possible. Around the workplace it is also important to have communication between team members and making sure everyone is on the same page and sharing the same information.

  • I agree with this article.  People skills are learned thru practice.  Every area of nursing I have worked in has fostered the idea of team work and getting along.  I learned to get along, how to deal with conflict in constructive manner, and how to effectively manage stress.  I feel that I am that snowblower just sitting around rusting.  I know and believe that I am a valuable team member and someone that has much to contribute.  I feel that it is a very good things to be able to get along with everyone but in the same sentence it can be held against me.  I am seen as everyone’s friend and possibly not able to hold people accountable if I am in management position.

  •  I cannot say enough that this article points to the articulation needed for today’s business environment. Several years ago I was employed with a multinational company that held divisions here in the US as well as locations in the UK. Hired as a change manager I was tasked with creating a cooperative business model between the UK and US divisions. There lack of communications on both sides in previous years were creating several failures across the entire business structure. My personal business style was rather rough as I was used to dealing with “difficult” vendors and the interpretation was that the UK divisions would need a similar hand. After meeting the team in the UK I introduced my no-nonsense style brushed the team in a way that a reaction from the board of directors was prompted in my direction. After a short time and a relationship learning curve I was able to regain the attentions of the team and build the group into a cohesive unit that is now growing at 12 to 15% per year.

  • I agree with all these steps. I have had many compliments about being very personable and that employees enjoy working for me because they trust and feel comfortable with me. At the same time they have much respect for me. I believe that you should treat others the way you would like to be treated and ALWAYS set the example. My biggest pet peave is when a supervisor is constantly on your case about specific situations. Than you see them doing exactly what you are not alloud to do. I also have seen that trends start from the top of the executive chain. For example, if the general manager is acting very stressed all the sudden the field manager starts acting stressed, then the managers and so on.

  • I believe the value of being in a good rapport w the friends from work and the clients. Otherwise the motivation for success is easily broken, no progress can be recorded any longer. I worked as a day care center director which I hate. Anytime I tried to save the assets of the corporation, I offended either teachers or parents. I did put too much pressure to make sure everybody does their job. However, I end up having a handful frustrated teammates. I used to reveal their mistakes right away and tell them directly. One time, I saw one of the teachers not clocking out at lunch whereas she was going out and went after her and told her to go clock out first. She was so embarrassed. Since then she started looking for ways to hurt me such as criticizing every decision told by me and never motivate again, no team work any longer w her as she did not want to initiate things any longer. Now I know it is not all about being honest and busting somebody and embarrassing them but, it is about having the person suck it up and to be more and more motivated to have good habits at work. 

  • I agree and I have learned that people skills is huge in the work place.  I am self employed insurance agent.  I wanted to change paths and work on the corporate side.  Little did I know the person that would be in charge of hiring me and working with me was not fond of me.  I had never done anything to her so I thought.  She was offended and felt disrespected that when I was around her or in her presence that I never acknowledge her, said hello and how are you.  I did apologize in the uncomfortable interview.  I never thought there was a need to speak to her.  She was not my business manager.  Guess what?  I did not get the job.  I was well qualified for it.  People skills are the most important skills you can have because thats who were are and everyone deserves to be treated as a person not a wall or a particle of air.

  • Good listening skills should be an asset in every business.  I know that I have had to learn to listen to customers to hear what they need in their life.  Insurance can be very important when it comes to a person’s home or loved ones.  Listening has made me realize that there each person has an important role in someone else’s life.

  • Upon working many different jobs, I’ve realized that people skills are essential.  If you do not know how to control your temper or emotions, there is not going to be a safe and comfortable working environment.  Being able to control your emotions under high stress is extremely important.  Showing a customer that you are angry will not bring business to your company.

  •  I agree success is measured in the skills a
    person uses to accomplish the goals, which are obtain in their professional and
    educational career. As a property manager my main goals and objectives are to
    work in a positive and productive manner offering my clients full support in
    any way that I can. Often times people tend to let their job responsibilities
    hinder their work performance; however, this is not the case with me. My goals
    are to handle each situation in a pleasant, respectable and tactful manner. I
    feel that my job is not complete if I am not able to offer full support in a
    positive and productive manner, which offers outstanding results to my clients.


  • I agree success is measured in the skills a person uses to accomplish the goals, which are obtain in their professional and educational career. As a property manager my main goals and objectives are to work in a positive and productive manner offering my clients full support in any way that I can. Often times people tend to let their job responsibilities hinder their work performance; however, this is not the case with me. My goals are to handle each situation in a pleasant, respectable and tactful manner. I feel that my job is not complete if I am not able to offer full support in a positive and productive manner, which offers outstanding results to my clients.

    • you are employed in a company, your junior have been with the company for over five years, but they are not producing any results due to lack skills which makes the company incur more expensive than revenue. the junior are bread winners at home. what would you do to this guys?

  • I have always had trouble with my people skills and I always kept everything inside until I found that music and writing in journals was my outlet.

  • I agree the measurement of success is the skills an individual uses to accomplish the goals and objectives of the cmployer. I recently had an experience with a utility provider. The customer service representative was so rude that I finally tired of trying to communicate with her and told her to have a nice day. I spoke with my manager about the experience and the effect the encounter had on me. It made me remembe that everytime I encounter someone regardless of why, always treat the person with dignity and respect.

  • It is incredibly important to learn to be able to work with anyone and everyone. There will be times when the people you are working with are not your favorite people but knowing how to still relate to them with respect and common courtesy is vital. No matter how good you are technically at a job it would be difficult to succeed at any task if you cannot help create a community of respect among those your work with. To be competitive in today’s job market you have to be extremely well rounded, and positive people skills that represent you and your company well are a must-have.  

  • The information contained in this lesson is great. I have found that one of my biggest obstacles is my people skills. Connecting with people is a challenge for me as it takes me a while to establish a comfort zone. Currently, I am pursuing a degree through an on-line university. I have found that the utilization of people skills in this forum is even more challenging for me as there is no opportunity to observe the individual that I am communicating with. This lesson and some of the resources have given me additional tools to use to strengthen my skills.

  • Developing good people skills is a must! Being able to communicate well and own up to your mistakes as well as many other characteristics can result in long lasting relationships with customers. The information from this lesson was great because as a business student I’m still learning all about excellent people skills, but at the same time I take what I learn and apply to the real world such as my job. I work in retail and so everyday I work on practicing good listening skills and observing body language so that I can assist the customer with the specific item that they are looking for.

  • My experience with this issue came up about a year ago at my current job.  I am very particular about how I personally want the work that people do for me to be done and if it is not done in a manner that I beleive is acceptable I feel I have the right to ask them to do the job again.  I work in the oil and gas field and I operate natural gas wells.  We have companies that come out and service our equipment on a daily basis and these services are extremely critical to how we operate.  I had a company that came out and performed a maintenance on a piece of equipment on one of my locations.  After they completed the maintenance the equipment did not run for more than an hour before going down on a fault/kill.  I asked the company to come back and check the equipment for something they may have missed because the run time of the equipment was only and hour after they left.  After the third time of sending them back to the wellsite equipment and the job still not being completed to the proper specs I chose to send another company.  I had told the previous company that the work they did was not up to standards and I would not be using them again.  This caused a problem at work becuase they said I was not sensitive enough when I talked to them about the problems I had with thier work.  I learned that I need to be politically correct and speak to people with a sence of sensitivity so I do not come accross a mean and insensitive.  When working with others I believe it is very important to remember this becuase if you show them you care they are more willing to work harder for you and do the job the way you want it done.

  • This is a valuable personality trait to posess or to learn.  In my job this trait has been taught to me by some terrific supervisors.  In 2 years I was promoted to be one of those supervisors.  Someone who can deal with multiple personalities at once, under the pressure of production deadlines.  You have to be able to wear many hats and keep your cool first and foremost.  Unfortunately, my success cannot go any farther without a college degree.  This is why I am returning to school..  Thank you.

  • The lesson mentions some very useful tips that have helped me to be successful throughout my life, career, education, and parenting.  People skills tend to be underrated at times and I often see people miss really amazing opportunities for growth because they do not know how, or choose not, to treat people properly.  Treating people with respect and actually listening to what they have to say has carried me far in life.  Sometimes people just want to smile and feel at ease and they need you to do it.  It never hurts to brighten a mood or lighten someone’s load.  How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie is a MUST read!

  • Learn to better get along with younger co-workers in the work place in a retail enviornment who have poor work ethics. Who may not be used to going above and beyond their general job description and who are just slackers in the work place especially in retail.

  •  I have not yet had a professional job before as I am still in my first year of college, but my father has probably taught me everything I need to know about mastering people skills. As many people probably do, I occasionally wake up in the morning in a bad mood, and every time this happens, my father tells me this: “I don’t care if you’re cranky, hide it and pretend to be happy. You’re gonna cause everyone else to be cranky if you don’t change your attitude.” He is absolutely right. Your attitude can spread to others, and if you have a bad attitude, you’re going to cause everyone to be moody as well. Happiness is a disease, and being happy and positive is one of the most important people skills you need to master so you can spread this happiness to others. Although it may seem easier to just be cranky the whole day, believe me, you will appreciate your positive change of attitude because it will lead to a better and more successful day.

  •          The interpersonal
    skills discussed in the article prove to be crucial in virtually every employment
    setting.  Through experience at varying work situations, I
    discovered communication is essential to proficiently preform and succeed at
    work. I try to live by the saying, “Do
    unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
    Every time you make a decision that is questionable, think of the way it would
    cause you to feel if another was treating you that way. Trying to look at
    situations from a different perspective can help you act fairly and
    appropriately. The tone you use with people, affects the outcome of
    conversations. If you enter a situation with a positive tone, others will be
    more willing to listen. Using a negative or condescending tone may cause others
    to quickly become frustrated and dismiss the conversation. Holding a genuinely
    positive attitude can get you quite far in life. It empowers you to choose
    happiness, or understanding, over negativity. Being able to communicate,
    listen and relate to others helps you to get along with coworkers, managers,
    and the customers in every setting. As you listen, you are able to respond more
    accurately and thoroughly. These people skills help prove someone to be a well-rounded
    and important asset in the workforce. 

  • The interpersonal skills discussed in the article prove to be
    crucial in virtually every employment setting.  Through
    experience at varying work situations, I discovered communication is essential
    to proficiently preform and succeed at work. I try to live by the saying,
    “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Every time you make a
    decision that is questionable, think of the way it would cause you to feel if
    another was treating you that way. Trying to look at situations from a
    different perspective can help you act fairly and appropriately. The tone you use
    with people, affects the outcome of conversations. If you enter a situation
    with a positive tone, others will be more willing to listen. Using a negative
    or condescending tone may cause others to quickly become frustrated and dismiss
    the conversation. Holding a genuinely positive attitude can get you quite far
    in life. It empowers you to choose happiness, or understanding, over
    negativity. Being able to communicate, listen and relate to others helps
    you to get along with coworkers, managers, and the customers in every setting. As
    you listen, you are able to respond more accurately and thoroughly. These
    people skills help prove someone to be a well-rounded and important asset in
    the workforce.

  • I have learned that it is important to be able to effectively communicate on a professional level. It was important to remember that you do not have to become friends with coworkers; however you must be able to build effective professional relationships. Keeping an open mind as well as being open to communication and suggestions from others help with effective communication skills. When you take a complaint to the table, do not just complain, but have a suggestion to improve processes; this will help to gain respect from coworkers as well as show your dedication to the job. Be mindful that others may have differences of opinions, but that is important in having a diverse work place that brings forth creativity from others and builds a strong organization for members.

  • In my line of work, empathy is a crucial element towards the benefit of our clients and staff. People from all walks of life come in daily with unimaginable issues therefore; employing someone to the team whom lacks emotional intelligence, people skills, or empathy can be disastrous to the client or themselves – being that I work in a public office that defends “accused criminals” and assist their very stressed loved one’s throughout this process. I am grateful that I do not lack this skill because it is truly an essential one and I know that it will ultimately take me a long way in my prospective career as a social worker.

  • People skills is a number one must have trait on pretty much any employer’s list today.  If you aren’t memorable, what is to keep them from firing you?  I find that I’m still on the shy side and could brush up on my manners, especially in stressful situations.  The good news is I am learning everyday.  Everyday presents new chances to improve on myself.  It will always be an ongoing process.

  • The longer I live, the more I have discovered the importance of have good people skills. From the section titled: We look for people who remain calm and effective under pressure, I am reminded of a poem I read during a program when I was in high school. The poem is entitled “Attitude” and it is written by Charles Swindoll. The poem is as follows:
    “The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than success, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearances, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how we reach to it. And so it is with you…. We are in charge of our attitudes.”

    If we first understand that we must adjust our attitudes, then we will be able to digest the truth that building people skills will be a journey. Early in my career as a staffing consultant, I would communicate with my coworkers in very short responses because I did not want to appear to be socializing rather than working. I actually began to damage some of the office relationships because I did not have a clear understanding of people skills and emotional intelligence. In the end, I can see why I ended up not being a good fit for that agency. Since enrolling in college, I have been encouraged to welcome a team dynamic into every course and to every situation, if possible. This has helped me gained an appreciation for the art of having good people skills. I realize now that having good people skills does not mean that there will never be a conflict, because the conflicts will come, but I have also learned opening the channels for healthy communication is the first step in solving the problem and increasing my people skills.

  • This article is a good reminder of 10 important aspects of emotional intelligence. These are important to consider as you want to be productive and you need to do so by working with and through people. You won’t be able to accomplish much with some of these fundamental skills. I would also like to add that it is important to have some awareness and understanding of cross-cultural relationships and communication styles. I do international business and marketing, and I had to learn how to use emotional intelligence with people of other cultures. Body language is different, styles of communication are different, sense of personal space and types of humor are also different. Part of Emotional intelligence is being self-aware, but you must also be aware of your own cultural background and how to interact with people of different cultures and ethnicities.

  • This article does a great job pointing out 10 ways to improve your people skills. When finding a job I belive that your people skills is number one. Every job no matter what is it will have you internact with poeple one way or the another. It is very important to understand that interacting with poeple can impact your buisness greatly. In today’s economy it is hard enough to find a job, you need to have outstanding costumer service and skills.

  • I have worked in the hospitality business as a server for 30 years and enjoy the ability to meet new people every day. For this particular career field, it is vital to handle stress and maintain a positive attitude at the same time. As with any job that involves customer relations, you have to express yourself with a positive energy, which in return, will draw your customers and coworkers to want to be around you. Being respectful, considerate and pleasant shows a quality of intelligence that creates a healthy workplace. A happy place is a good place. In my own personal experiences, attitude is everything and smiling is contagious. I often get told by customers that I always have a happy smile on my face and this is how I am aware of the effects it has on them because they are expressing happiness back. Showing good attitude emits a radiance that others can feel. Nobody wants to feel tension or negative vibes in the air. In the restaurant business, the customers not only indulge in the food, but they have expectations of having an experience that leaves them with emotional satisfaction, so it is crucial that employees display an good attitude. When a worker displays a bad mood it shows and it affects everyone around. Everyone should think about how they are expressing themselves amongst each other and interact respectfully. This makes a better atmosphere for anyone in it and things run a whole lot smoother.

    The fact is, that possessing good communication skills are essential to making a career successful and enjoyable. Interactions between coworkers and bosses should be expressed politely. People are more apt to listen and react to what you have to say if it is said in a respectful tone. You will get more success at anything if you handle it with proper skills and the communication within a workplace is vital in the success in a career. These skills apply for any and all professions there are to be sought.

  • Emotional Intelligence is a huge part of working with other people as well as working in today’s market. I have worked for three separate communications companies since I was 16 years old. When you are on the phone, it makes it harder for clients to understand what you are trying to tell them if you do not learn how to communicate in a calm manner. Staying calm has also helped me help others I have worked for understand me on a personal level. I have epilepsy and it is very difficult for others’ to understand that as long as patience is involved, I am a hard worker and a very valuable asset to the company. It is one thing to show people your understanding through body language, but when you add in a correct tone of voice and an understanding of what your job skills are; there are many goals that can be achieved. I think out of all of the lessons within today’s job market, emotional intelligence is the key to the markets survival. It also plays a lot into your worth to the company, fellow employees, and the clients that you serve.

  • In the past couple of years that I’ve spent in college, “people skills” have been among the most important lessons. Meeting new people day to day, can become overwhelming especially being an introvert. During my freshman year, I realized that I would have to learn how to relate and connect well with other people to succeed in life. All I knew was to “do unto others as I would have them do unto me”. I knew that if I could at least accomplish this, other people would feel comfortable communicating with me. This has definitely worked but I think these strategic tips are great and can take my people skills to the next level.

  • Every bit of this article is the reality of what you need to know to be capable of social success in the work environment when it comes down to your emotional intelligence. I have been through an array of many different jobs since I started working when I was 18 and have acquired a great deal of these people skills over time and lessons learned. Now I am 26 and have taken all that experience and apply it to all situations needed, especially in the work environment.

    A little over 2 years ago I graduated from Everest College and started my externship at McKesson Corp. doing Medical Billing as an A/R Specialist. I had to put in 80 hours total to complete my externship. While other students were coming and going as they pleased, working the hours that best suited them, and not caring about the people they worked around, I was there 5 days a week working the full hours each day they allowed (we could only work 5 hours a day as an extern) while acknowledging others and getting along with them.

    The manager I was working for, along with the other supervisors and employee’s there, always complimented me on numerous things. They would tell me what a hard worker I was, how I got along with everyone, was very kind, respectful, comical, energetic, and always worked very hard, especially for working for free 🙂 (externs don’t get paid).

    They were so impressed with my skills that they wanted to hire me! However, there wasn’t an open position through their company. My manager wanted me to work there so bad, he pulled strings and took the most action he could. They ended up hiring me through a staffing agency and kept me on until they had an opening and instantly hired me into the position for their company, no interview needed.

    2 years and 5 months later, I still work for this company and am their most productive and universal employee at our office. I avoid altercations with my co-workers and am so well rounded that I get along with everyone. I have even been known to improve the social skills of others I work with. Most of the women I work with (and women are hard to work around) are quite older than me and have very different mentalities but respect me for the person I am.

    Overall, this article holds key elements to a huge part of your success in the career world, speaking from experience! 🙂

  • I work at a hospital and using
    emotional intelligence is a must. I work in the business office and often must
    deal with less than happy patients and their family members. I think that each
    of us are born a personality that is unique and incredible in its own right.
    The key is developing and honing your personality skills and making them work
    for you. The article is spot on when it said that you will sit neatly tucked
    away in the garage and only brought out for the heavy work if you do not
    develop you skills. People are naturally drawn to those that put themselves out
    there and want to not only do the work, but seemingly enjoy life. If you keep
    yourself closed up and shut out from the world, how can you truly grow?

  • Beyond skill and talent in your field, every boss is looking for basic
    skill and talent as a human being, AKA not sucking at basic things and
    having respect for your work and the people around you. I once had a
    boss tell me that she loved me working for her, not because I was great
    at my job (which I’m proud to say I was:)) but because I was kind,
    courteous, respectful, and not ‘above’ things that weren’t necessarily
    in my job description. You could have all the necessary qualifications
    to be good at counseling, or office work, or accounting, but still
    vastly suck at interacting with people on any level besides that. Before I took my current job, as a part time secretary at a counseling center while I finish school, my boss made me take a personality test (the Myers Briggs, if youre familiar with it). Before I could even ask her why she explained that it’s much easier to work in a work environment if you know how you function and you understand that basically, other people function differently. This facilitates work relationships that will be much more productive and understanding. If you understand yourself, you will be more likely to work well with others. People skills and emotional intelligence are definitely the two most important factors in any work experience.

  • I have found throughout my working career that there is sometimes a fine line between being a “people person” and being a door mat. I am consistantly told that I am an amazing speaker and have superb people skills, that I am calm, a good listener, etc, yet I also find myself getting taken advantage of time and time again. Up until recently, I did not practice the 10th step of achieving emotional intelligence: Be kind to yourself. One must truly know their own self-worth in order to remain strong and erase vulnerability. One must learn that being a people person is different than being a “yes” man; that it is ok to say “no.”

  • I completely agree with this article on the importance of people skills and emotional intelligence. To be able to work well with others and apply a positive work environment is a well earned skill every employee should obtain. In every workplace there will always be people who are a little more difficult to sustain, but to still continue on and give them the same respect and courtesy as anyone else is significant. The job market is competitive and the use of people skills and emotional intelligence are valuable characteristics that are greatly appreciated. To learn and actually comprehend how to treat others and then later utilize these skills will eventually open doors to such great opportunities in any field anyone is trying to succeed in.

    As a child I learned how important it was for me to be able to communicate well in order for me to obtain the respect and appreciation I craved from my adult family members and as well from other adults around me. As I grew older, I also learned that not only my words would suffice, but as well as my actions in order to continue this ongoing quest for respect and acceptance. In high school I learned to appreciate myself before I can appreciate others and become the independent young woman I have worked so hard to become.

    I carried everything I have learned through my successions in college and now apply it to my work environment in the medical field. I use my skills to be the best employee I can be to not only my patients, but as well my fellow co-workers. Everyday is a new day to practice people skills and emotional intelligence by showing respect towards others, smiling at everyone, listening with compassion and even making others laugh from time to time. By having these skills and knowing how important they are can give anyone the confidence in pursuing any type of accomplishment and succeeding in their future endeavors.

  • I completely agree with this. Acquiring a job is mainly based off of your interview and how you portray yourself. Being a secretary myself I have learned that your employers actually admire and commend you when you manage well under pressure. I have received compliments because of the way I handled the several patients that came in at one time. The main thing is to always keep a polite tone and smile all the time. It makes them feel comfortable and leaves a good impression on their opinion of the work facility.

    I have seen many people get frustrated with bad news that I have had to share with them, but keeping your composure with them keeps the patient calm. Having these social and communication skills forms a better working environment for both the costumers as well as your coworkers. I don’t know of anyone who enjoys working with someone who i disgruntled or unpleasant.

  • I never realized how many employees at my previous job didn’t have good listening skills until one day my manager told me. ” You’re my favorite person to work with. You actually do what I tell you to do without complaining.” I was flattered, but a little surprised. Who knew it was so rare to actually listen to your boss!

  • Having not been one of the fortunate
    few blessed with “emotionally intelligent” role models in my formative years,
    and being of somewhat fiery nature in general, learning effective interpersonal
    skills has been essential to my professional—and personal—development.

    My first jobs, as for many, were in
    customer service. Initially, I did not
    know how to counter and effectively manage the attitudes and behaviors people
    like to project onto “the person behind the counter”, nor was I much of a saleswoman. I was often reprimanded and on one occasion
    let go because I did not always interact with customers appropriately; I did not know how to resolve
    conflict peacefully, and had little control over my body language or emotional expression, and simply did not know how to conduct myself in a way that led to being the sort of employee, or person, I wanted to be. But with
    practice and supportive mentors, I have learned to handle stress, manage
    relationships to my advantage, and in general be a positive and productive part
    of a team. My career as a teacher depends on these skills. I am living testament that this CAN be done…it
    just takes work. This article is
    excellent, take the tips to heart!

  • I noticed that these skills help ones emotional intelligence because each one on
    its own are leading factors to success not only personally but also in a
    working or any team-based environment.
    Starting with “Connecting with people” I have
    experienced that the performance of every individual becomes much more
    efficient when people are connected with each other in some way personal. But
    one thing leads to the other, and thus connecting with people leads to being
    able to listen to what they have to say.
    Then, “Learning good listening skills,” not only implicates to be able to hear
    what other are saying but in fact paying attention to them in a way that the
    “listening” becomes a matter of understanding.
    Furthermore, “Closing your e-mails well” is
    another skill that goes back to the efficiency and productivity that relies
    behind effective communication and personal interaction. Indeed, by “warmly” or
    personally closing e-mails, the receiver will perceive a much more personal
    interaction and thus the communication will run smoothly and nicely.
    Additionally, “Learning pacing in
    conversation” results in the idea of achieving goals by the simple act of
    chatting. Thus, practicing this skill can become crucial when a simple
    conversation could determine the future of a project.
    Besides, “Studying body language” during the
    past, I learned that if a person is arm crossed when speaking it might seem
    just like a comfortable position, yet in reality the person is blocking,
    closing, or simply not-opening to what the other is saying. So, a simple clue
    of body language may reveal the attitude of a person.
    Similarly, “Learning to recognize and manage
    stress,” can become very beneficial not only because communication runs
    smoothly and lacking confrontation; but also because every task and duty becomes
    more approachable. In the same way, a person’s energy could be redirected positively.
    Then, “managing ones energy” and directing
    it towards positive outcomes would result in success instead of provoking
    conflicts. But not only one can redirect one’s way of acting.
    “Studying animal training and using it on
    people” is as effective when willing positive outcomes in the work field and
    communication. In fact, is not a matter of treating others as animals but trying
    to work together in a beneficial way to obtain great outcomes for both parts.
    Moreover, “Using humor” is a great skill to
    make everyone’s life a bit happier. However, is not only all about the others
    but also about yourself.
    Therefore, it is as important to “Be kind to
    yourself” as it is to be kind with others, because at the end of the day the
    only thing that will keep is yourself. In if you are lost, everything else is

  • I think one of the most important points raised in this article is that of nonverbal communication, here called “body language.” It’s a fantastic thing to point out, but there’s so much more than just body language involved! Nonverbal communication includes everything about your interaction with others that isn’t words themselves. That includes your dress, your posture, your use of space and touch, any scents you wear, the way you organize your office – and it changes based on culture. I definitely recommend doing research into the wide world of nonverbal communication – the things we say with words get thought about, but the things we say without words go directly into the other person’s mental image of us – and can be VERY difficult to change!

  • On many occasions I have been faced with situations that I am unsure how to handle emotionally. The stress of those jobs ultimately drove me to looking for a new job. It’s sad that I felt the need to search for a new job, due to the emotional stress and issues that were brought upon me. I hope to take the advice from this and use it in my new job. I love people, but I don’t deal with confrontation and criticism very well.

  • This article is exactly what I needed to read at this moment. I’ve had many, many jobs and while I’ve never been fired, I know that my emotioanl intelligence was always one reason why I never got along well with my co-workers. It has taken me a long time and many hard looks in the mirror to understand that it’s not “them”, but rather, it’s me! Yikes, who wants to admit that they are emotionally immature, especially at my age. And I won’t list that here.

    I will share one experience that I still remember vividly from years ago. One of my first jobs was as a hostess at a very well known New York restaurant, where many actors, musicians, models, etc. hung out. There was a lot of attitude thrown around on a fairly regular basis, and me being just a hostess..well, let’s just say I didn’t get treated very well. One day a man came in for lunch and sat waiting at a table for some friends. He was extremely rude and arrogant (really, not making this part up) and treated me as if I were kind of a lowly peasant. I was not in the best mood and eventually he got to me and I started yelling at him at the top of my lungs, in the middle of the lunch rush. You’re probably wondering if I got fired. No, believe it or not. I was lucky that the owners were not around and my manager was extremely understanding of my point of view. Thanks, Chris!

    My point is that I lost it in a situation that I should have handled completely differently. I have come a long way from that experience, but after reading this article I know that I still have quite a lot to learn. I appreciate the books listed, especially the one’s on parenting. As a mother of two-year old twins, I want to make better choices for them so that they have all the same advantages as little Johnny might have. Having kids really wakes you up to your own emotional discrepancies, and this article only solidifed it for me. Thank you! Just what I needed.

  • Interesting read – I have never before pondered the thought of using animal training on people, as it sounds a bit demeaning. Stepping back though, I can see how some of the body language might relate, and give subtle cues that would allow for us to better gauge our circumstance/environment.

  • I totally agree with the steps the author listed. Me, I’m pretty much personality/emotion blind. I’m not saying that I am a mean person; in fact, many people confide their secrets in me, but I’m not the best at guessing someone is hiding something, hates the girl she just acted really friendly to etc. I think what encompasses all of those steps — the underlying philosophy — is that other people are just as important as you are.

  • Being a team player is of up most importance. Simply remembering the saying, “There’s no “I” in the word “team”, can go a long way in creating respect among one’s peers. One having the skills of being a “jack of all trades and master of none” ability can also aid in successful outcomes. A key to success is not knowing that no one is or was born perfect, but acknowledging and learning from mistakes, thus creating a rapport among peers. Having these attributes can create a competitive edge in today’s job market.

  • What I really liked about this was number 8, “Study animal training and use it on people.”
    I am a huge animal lover and one thing I have noticed is sometimes animals can be smarter than humans.

  • I can definitely relate to 6. Learn to recognize and manage stress. At my job, I am the equivalent of an office manager. I work directly for the big bosses. For the first year of my position, I continually had problems with stress. I always felt like I had to do everything immediately; it could not wait for the next day. This caused me undue stress. I eventually learned that what I didn’t get done on a particular day would wait until the next day. It still takes me a few minutes to realize that I don’t have to be overly stressed about certain things at work. Most times all it takes to relieve most of the stress is some deep breathing techniques.

  • One of my most fulfilling jobs was a fast-paced stressful environment where my bosses smoked like chimneys. Not many people can adapt to these situations but it certainly helps to have a good and kind demeanor. When it was time for employee evaluations, most of my peers received very low scored on their overall work attitude and relationship with customers and co-workers. When it came time for my evaluation I was surprised to find that my boss had complemented me on my “cool attitude.” She went on to say that in times of stress and deadlines I was always very positive and calm. I never noticed this quality in me, but it goes on to say that our attitudes do reflect in the workplace more than we know and can have an influence in others. This can be go as far as your boss feeling confident about your work and increasing your likability among your co-workers and your manager.

  • I definitely agree that a great way to receive a job is to have great people skills. I have never really had any work experience before because I find it hard to communicate with employers. My “people skills” aren’t that great. I tend to remain introverted and reserved, but after reading this article, I agree that the only way to have a good chance at getting a job and starting a career is to be open and use body language to communicate with employers, as well as learning good listening skills. It’s hard to listen to an employer when you are trying to impress them with your skills, but the best way to learn is to listen. Taking constructive criticism is also important and this article has helped me to understand even more the importance of having good people skills.

    Remember, you are not the only one that benefits from having good people skills. The company you work for is also reflected and those around you will learn to adopt these skills as well if they want to remain employed.

  • People skills can make or break a person, and they are very hard to learn if they do not come naturally. I am a natural introvert, so it is very hard for me to make an impression on people in the work place. I used to count on my hard work to speak for itself, but in the social based world that we live in, that just wasn’t enough. Some of the tips listed in the article above are similar to what I taught myself, such as:

    Learn good listening skills
    Study and use body language
    Manage your energy
    Use humor
    Be kind to yourself

    These are effective ways of becoming more personable and finding social interaction less stressful. At first it may feel a little bit forced, but after a while it becomes natural. People just want to be heard and recognized, and they do not want to spend their time with someone that is uncomfortable to talk to. I had to be confident in myself before I could interact with others.

    I found these skills helping me the most in job interviews (and what could be more important than your first impression with a future employer?) It is just a matter of taking your strengths and amplifying them so others see them as well. People like people who like themselves!

  • Looking at the ten skills needed. I find it ironic that it seems those are the particular areas I have been asking my boss about. How do you stay so calm, and listen. How do you make light of the situations without blowing up. How do you manage your time with your emotions. This will definitely be information that I find to be more than beneficial. Seeing as I recently became promoted into Management at the restaurant that I have been employed by for five years now, I find myself struggling in these areas day to day. However I believe I can take this guide and make my work shifts a bit more beneficial.

  • I think that Shannon may be correct in arguing that one needs good people skills in order to not merely survive but THRIVE in this tough economy. In particular, one cannot stress enough the importance of networking with others and being a good listener.

    Myself being someone who is socially awkward, good people skills do not come naturally for me. I’ve burned many bridges in the past and know what it is like to be rebuffed by colleagues and potential employers. It is something that I am still working on and would like to grow in.

    Nonetheless, perhaps because of the scope and the topic of this blog article, there is something that Shannon does not mention. That is, no matter how great your people skills may be–especially if you are in sales and stock trading–if you lack professional competence in your area of expertise, you will not get very far in your career ladder. After all, how can an employer trust an employee who is unfamiliar with his/her tasks or skills needed to perform them?

    In short, even though I am not downplaying the importance of good people skills, in the end, one’s professional competence and knowledge ALONG WITH people skills are the traits that will truly set one apart.

  • This guide was helpful, informative, and included great further reading for developing “people skills.”

    I feel that as far as my people skills go, I am great at interacting with others one-on-one or in small groups. However, when dealing with large groups at one time on the job, I find it easily overwhelming and my inner patience goes down quickly. This was really highlighted even at my first job, which was at an ice-cream shop. When I would have one customer or a small family, I would feel very comfortable and able to use good humor and listening skills. However, when a huge group of customers would come into the shop, I would feel stressed and unable to concentrate on one thing at a time. That was a huge hindrance to me and I had to work through that issue in order to really enjoy my job.

    Since then, I have learned to keep my stress to a minimum by mentally taking tasks one step at a time. This has made me a better employee because I have more patience, more energy, and a bigger smile on-the-job. My developed people skills have become a great asset to me as a now nursing assistant. Great article! Thank you!

  • These are great advices. I’m really going to try and follow them to become a better employer or be a better employer once I get a job.

    Before I read this I thought I was a great candidate for any job, but now that I’ve read this, I’ve realized that I need to work on many things. I’m usually a really shy person and even though I know how to get my job done, I always feel afraid to ask for help. I tend to be a follower and this is one of the things that I have to change about myself. Being a leader can bring great opportunities and also can help develop better communication skills.

  • Emotional intelligence has always fascinated me, and the way it relates to IQ in an individuals success. I have found personally that people skills have always been more valuable than more easily measure intelligence in interviews. I always attempt to connect with my interviewer, inquire about his or her day, something work related (satisfaction with the company) and personal (pictures of family, etc). The reaction is overwhelmingly positive! I feel it allows a potential employer a sample of what it’s like to interact with me, and realistically that is the only thing that cannot be discovered from my resume.

  • This is such a worth-while read for everyone! I used to either a.) Not think about how I was interacting with people and how it affected me and the overall relationship OR b.) Think that I didn’t need to learn anything. I was good at being social outside of an office so why wouldn’t it be the same inside?

    Boy was I wrong! I have read some of the books listed here, such as Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence people and this information, along with my current boss and mentor, have taught me incredible amounts about the most effective ways to deal with people better in an office setting. It has also taught be a great deal about interactions outside the office too. Networking in a smart, effective way is a critical element to helping move your career forward. It’s fantastic to find a resource like this which can coach us on all those thing we don’t learn in university that are so critical to getting, keeping and moving up at a good job!

    One office social skill I am reminded of, that I recently learned, is how to deal with a superior in a bad mood. One of my bosses called me to go over a project and was incredibly snippy and irritable. I got off the phone feeling kind of angry myself, and very confused as I couldn’t think of anything I did wrong that would have upset her. I went into my other supervisor’s office and explained what happened. Her advice was to call my boss back and just point-blank tell her our last conversation felt tense and ask her if there was something wrong or anything I could help with that was making her feel stressed or upset. I was so nervous because I’ve never confronted anyone like this before, especially a superior. It went over phenomenally well though. She actually started apologizing and said she was upset about something, but it had nothing to do with me, or even work for that matter, so she was glad I called back to ask since she didn’t realize fully that she was taking it out on me. At my next annual review she even brought up that specific interaction to tell me how much she appreciated my emotional intelligence in that situation and thought I brought it up in a great way.

    A lot of times you can only learn lessons like this on-the-job, but Just Jobs resources teach you these hard to learn lessons without having to first make a mistake or have an awkward social interaction. Especially now, when my husband and I have just returned from Peace Corps, serving over two years in Africa. We already feel slightly awkward both socially and culturally, so we will be frequenting this site to get us back in the workplace groove! Thanks!

  • In the beginning of the article, Eric Shannon introduces the idea that “Good people skills are unnatural.” While it is indeed true that appropriate social skills are cultural specific, thereby accessible through learning and practice, good people skills stem from the core characteristics of each individual. For example, one of the first suggestions that Eric Shannon proposes in his list of good people skills includes “connecting with people.” Some people, who have an extroverted personality, have a natural inclination that allows them to easily communicate with others and allow even strangers to feel at ease in striking up an initial conversation. However, for someone who is introverted, this poses a significant challenge that requires training and effort. This stark contrast between personalities requires the introverted personality to intentionally develop interpersonal skills that would enable them to connect with peers in a work environment; whereas, the extroverted personality innately has interpersonal intelligence that allows them thrive readily in the same environment.

    Nonetheless, each individual has a certain set of core characteristics and abilities that allows them to develop their own set of good people skills. Therefore, it is important, for me as a teacher, to recognize and guide my students to help them acknowledge and build upon the skills that they would need in various environments, including their future field of study or work. In addition, because we relate to one another based on our family and cultural background, the definition of “good people skills” may vary depending on the circumstances. As a teacher, one of my main purposes is to enable students to recognize and celebrate the cultural differences that help us to respectfully build connections using good people skills. I believe that this would help my students to become culturally sensitive and socially aware citizens that will allow them to be a positive role model through the use of their emotional intelligence.

  • From my personal experience I can say that working as worker’s compensation claims manager did not match my personality and or my main professional values. I was receiving a very good salary with benefits but no personal satisfaction. After working at different claims adjuster positions and getting sick from all the stress that came from the high work load and daily dissatisfaction I realized that my health was first. I decided to make a career change and I am very grateful that I did as I can now share that what I do matches who I am as a person (my personality, values) and I feel happy.

    I have to say that I am not earning as much money compared to my insurance jobs but I know in the future I will. Like this article states thoughts become actions and eventually they become your reality. As a bilingual population health care manager, I receive great satisfaction by focusing on preventing disease and assisting patients in the management of their chronic conditions. I take pride in encouraging these individuals to improve their conditions and partner with them as they actively participate in the management of their own health. Practicing care management has been an eye-opening experience for me; it has brought to my attention the importance of public health and the great opportunities it offers to solve health problems. I would have not discovered my career if I had decided to stay at my last job just for the money.

  • My first job was at a TJ Maxx. I was a cashier for most of my time there. My managers would always tell my fellow cashiers and I that we were the last employees the customers saw before leaving the store. We had to be the kindest and most pleasant associates. I never found this to be a trouble. I considered myself a generally friendly and approachable person. I could make clear, meaningful conversation with strangers. Some of my fellow coworkers, however, couldn’t.

    My coworker “Bob” was the nicest guy you’d ever meet. But he had trouble being a cashier. If we still worked together now, I’d print this article out and give it to him to study, because it is exactly what he needs to read. Bob never talked to much with customers. He wasn’t rude, but he never connected with our shoppers. If there is one part of this article I’d highlight and underline for my friend, it would be the “act with grace in stressful situations.”

    Grace under pressure is what I believe to be one of the most important qualities a person can have. If one can not properly prioritize their workload, they can’t be an effective member of the team; My coworker Bob fell right into that category. In the middle of a huge rush, Bob would leave the register to go sweep the floors. Or Bob would start cleaning his already-clean register. Now I am all for cleanliness, but not when you have 20+ impatient customers waiting on you.

    This article makes an excellent point about being “emotionally aware”. But, one should remember that being friendly and nice to your boss means nothing if you can’t extend that welcome to your clients. Use your people skills all the time. Your boss may issue the paychecks, but the money is coming from the customers.

  • This article does a wonderful job of addressing the importance of people skills and emotional intelligence in the workplace. These skills are far more important than any other natural gifting in the workplace. Relationships are key to life. Whether they realize it or not, supervisors want to know that you are a team player that will maintain situational awareness and communicate well. It is encouraging to know that it is possible to improve in these areas. Even if some people have more natural charisma or people skills, anyone can develop these skills with a little practice.

    For myself, I would say that I am naturally in tune with people and their needs, which is why I decided to pursue a degree in psychology and counseling. However, I have found that emotional intelligence and people skills are traits that I can still improve on. I thought I was a pretty good listener until I went through a training on emotional intelligence and how to listen well. I learned that I had a great deal to learn about listening. From that point till now, I have grown tremendously in my ability to listen and my awareness of people’s emotional needs.

  • I find this article to be really insightful and motivational for people in the arts and humanities that may think that they will have a tougher time getting a job than those in more demanding fields of study. As an Art major, I’m asked more than those around me about what I am going to do.However, I have found that people in my field are much different than the average college graduate. In art, we are not memorizing words or dates, and we are not just looking for the right answer to get an A.

    Instead, we are asking more questions than giving answers. We are questioning assumptions and social norms in order to better our communities. Not to mention that art classes are limited to 30 students, unlike general majors that have 300-400 students in a large lecture hall. This forces us to communicate with our teachers and peers and become an active participant in the classroom.

    Looking at the qualities I have obtained through my education, I have learned that it doesn’t exactly matter what your major is, but essentially it boils down to who you are. When we graduate and go out into the job field, if you are not able to market yourself and push for the jobs you want then you are not going to be successful. One can’t just get straight A’s but be a passive learner if they want to achieve great things. Everyday I feel lucky to be in the position I am in, because I look at things in big pictures, and am constantly breaking down situations and realities that I’m confronted with on a daily basis.

    Not to generalize, but students in the humanities and arts also tend to be more sensitive and emotional thinkers. I feel that although these qualities were once looked down upon, now that we are becoming more immersed in the digital world and losing empathy we have started to recognize the importance of being sensitive. Personally, I’m highly sensitive and this allows me to look at people and understand how to approach them. I know if I am directing a group of people, talking to a loud and confident person compared to a shy and nervous person is going to vary greatly. In general, I feel that all people want is to feel acknowledged, understood, and respected. There are many ways to do this, but it’s all about understanding dynamics and how you can make that individual feel that way.

    Overall, because I am an art major and an artist, I approach things much differently compared to others. I have learned over the course of my college education at UC Berkeley that these companies in several fields are not just looking for people studying in those positions, but for someone who can work well with ambiguity, manage a lot of tasks at once, and most importantly work well with others. I feel that these qualities can come from a vast range of people and as more companies diversify they are seeking out the rare and unique aspects that make people different.

  • People skills are the most important. My late teens and early twenties were filled with social anxiety, but after taking a job where I absolutely had to deal with people and learn to communicate effectively, I found these skills help me in every corner of my life, not just my work life. Also, language learning is very important; not just body language, but foreign language (not mentioned in this but that’s okay) and makes a difference in whether or not you get a job. The majority of my jobs since 2012 have been successfully obtained because I speak Spanish and have a friendly, fun manner about me. It’s so important to make your guests feel comfortable around you and I’ve found talking to them as I would want to be spoken too helps a great deal in that respect.

  • I have been working at a clinic every summer since I was 14, for five years. When I first started the job, I lacked people skills. Since then I have learned a few of the people skills mentioned in this article; such as, listening, learning from mistakes, and communicating with coworkers as well as patients.

    From this article, I’ve noticed that I still need to make improvements on my people skills. For example, I still have difficulty communicating and connecting with patients. I also realized that I need to understand body language because it will help me more effectively communicate with patients and coworkers. If I used humor more while at work, it could improve anyone’s mood. By improving one person’s mood, it can also influence other people’s day; which would mean increasing patient satisfaction.

    I agree with the article that learning people skills can help anyone enjoy their job more. Also, having these skills is vital for virtually every job you will ever have. I hope that I can learn all of these people skills so I can have better interactions with patients. I would also like to make more connections with patients to make their day at the clinic better, as well as mine.

  • When I discovered this article, it seemed to summarize my own journey since beginning college. As a naturally quiet person, I decided to learn to be more outgoing. At first my aim was to meet new friends, but I think that the skills I learned correspond to my future job as an Occupational Therapist as well, since its focus is on people. I came up with goals for myself similar to the ones listed in this article.

    First, I learned (from Dale Carnegie’s book) that people like talking about themselves. At the beginning of the day, I would think of questions to ask and conversation topics, even as simple as upcoming tests. This started many amusing and engaging chats with others, as well as new friendships.

    Next, I wanted to learn how to stay connected with people better. I made a point to remember those conversations; then, if a person told me about plans they had for the weekend, I could ask them about it later. This allowed me to express that a person is important and valuable to me. Further, I began applying active listening skills, such as restating what the person was telling me and nodding to show I was interested. Eventually I went to the internet to look for more ways to improve people skills. I read articles about body language and mirroring the other person in conversation.

    I realized (surprisingly through interactions with my family!) that stress management was imperative, too. Stress from school would come out as irritability and avoiding people. I learned that, as an introvert, I need a bit of time alone to energize. I now know what I need to feel energized, such as better sleep and enough hours of it, as well as time to exercise and relax. I realized that I needed to stop having perfectionist expectations for myself, to be kind to myself, and to relish the moments of my life more. I find a way to have a good laugh every day, whether it is showing a funny video to my family or joking with friends.

  • This article was very helpful and reminded me of the time I worked for
    the YMCA as a receptionist. I had to sit at the front desk and deal with
    customers over the phone answering there questions and giving them
    information about the YMCA. I was very nervous about talking to people
    over the phone especially when i did not know the answer to their
    questions, but i remained clam and assured them that I would find
    someone to answer their questions, which they appreciated.

  • This is an incredibly useful article. Emotional intelligence is something that a lot of people simply don’t understand or don’t want to understand. A lot of people have the skills required to do a certain job, but only a few people end up getting ahead. Most often, those people practice the tips from this article.

    The piece of advice that especially resonated with me was connecting with people. I’ve read Dale Carnegie’s book multiple times and found it useful when the time came to apply for an internship this summer. I sent applications to over 30 different companies – mostly big outfits like ESPN or Bleacher Report – and heard back from only three of them. All three places gave me interviews, but no offers came from it.

    With summer approaching, I resorted to cold-calling (well, cold-emailing) local television stations. I knew that these would be easier jobs to get since small-market stations almost always have tight budgets and could use the help. One job at a Pennsylvania TV station interested me, so I emailed the acting sports director.

    Using Carnegie’s advice, I framed the email in terms of what benefits the station could get from employing me. I touted my knowledge of editing software, experience in front of the camera and willingness to work flexible hours. Instead of asking for a job, I presented them with an opportunity.

    The new approach worked. That sports director got back to me within 48 hours and asked to speak with me by phone. By the end of the week, we were finalizing my summer hours. I’m nearing the end of that internship now and I can confidently say that it was the best professional experience of my life. It is a possibility that I will have a job at that station after getting out of school. All of it never would have happened had I not done three things:

    1.Sought out a specific person
    2. Reached out to him with a personalized call and/or email
    3. Focused my message on how I could help him, instead of the other way around

    That is how connecting with people, the most important component of emotional intelligence, has had a positive impact on my life.

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    • Sadly America call her self a Christian nation, but yet people are constantly being punished for things that they did in the past. If a person isn’t able to work and support him or her self you are forcing them to do things that other wise wouldn’t do. What’s sad is the government allows it to happen. Only in America does this happens.

  • In my career, communication with people is key. I am pursuing a degree in Performance (Acting) and it is a connection driven business. If you have poor communication or people skills, you are almost guaranteed not to work. Working in this industry is about networking and connecting with others. I have met people that have been rejected from agencies because other people have had bad interactions with them, and in this industry, everybody talks. It is important to notice people’s body language in interviews or casting to tell if they are interested or if the tactics you are using are working.
    And as mentioned in this article, using humor has proven to my advantage almost every time. It has been said that is harder to make someone laugh than it is to make them cry, so being yourself, and being energetic is useful in interviews or casting. Humor is a great ice breaker, and shows a casting director or agent that you are pleasant to work with.

  • This article does an excellent job at covering 10 ways to improve your people skills, which is essential for nearly any job in any field. One notable theme amongst these tips–one that I feel is not emphasized enough by people–is a recognition and regulation of oneself. Learning how to recognize your own stress signals, manage and partition your energy, and most importantly, how to be kind to yourself, are crucial aspects of learning healthy and effective people skills.

    While all of these tips are important, I’d like to focus on a certain one that is especially relevant to my life: 6. Learn to recognize and manage stress. As a soon-to-be medical student, I have been exposed to all sorts of people in all sorts of scenarios, from classrooms to research labs to homeless shelters to specialty-care clinics. One thing that I’ve noticed is how people communicate and react differently when they are under stress. As I’ve finally learned to recognize when I feel stressed or overwhelmed and deal with it appropriately, I’ve begun to recognize similar stress signals in people around me and change how I communicate with them accordingly.

    For example, I’ve been volunteering with a free clinic for the uninsured in downtown Orlando for about two years now. As the clinic’s financial eligibility specialist, all patients must go through me in order to access free medical care. A few weeks ago, a middle-aged Haitian woman came in complaining of severe abdominal pain and abscesses. As I was taking down her information, I noticed that she kept looking down as she would talk and gave me incomplete answers to my questions. She’d anxiously bite her nails, shake her leg and speak very quietly–all things that I sometimes do when I get stressed or nervous. Before moving forward, I looked her in the eyes, put my hand on her shoulder, and said, “Ma’am, everything’s going to be okay. We have excellent doctors here, and we’ll get you taken care of as soon as possible. No need to worry.” A huge grin of relief came on her face as she thanked me. The rest of the visit went smoothly, and she was able to see our cardiologist!

    In summary, I admire how this article has brought attention to the fact that in order to have good people skills, you need to understand and be comfortable with yourself as well. By learning how to identify and cope with emotional or psychological reactions yourself, you can better recognize them in other people and adjust the way you communicate with them. Certainly, if I did not stop and re-assure the patient that there was nothing for her to worry about, I would not have been able to communicate with her as well.