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Powerful People Skills Build Strong And Authentic Relationships

Ask any small or large organization about what they are looking for in a new hire, they’d most probably state people skills high up in the list of soft skills that they prioritize. What makes people skills so desirable?

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‘Talk to someone about themselves and they will listen to you for hours’ ~ Dale Carnegie

This is just one of the seemingly simple yet profound quotes from Dale Carnegie in his book ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ which has sold more than 14 million copies since it released in 1932. Even though it’s been more than 85 years since the book hit the shelves, it is still considered an iconic book that is treated like the last word on people and communication skills. 

How is a book that’s been written in the early 20th Century still relevant in our generation? In our widely social existence, why are people skills given so much attention still? 

Ask any small or large organization about what they are looking for in a new hire, they’d most probably state people skills high up in the list of soft skills that they prioritize.  What makes people skills so desirable? 

We live in a world where collaboration and interdependence have become a prerequisite for successful workplaces.  In a madly connected world, there’s no room for working in silos anymore. The success of your job greatly depends on the success of your collaboration with your cross-functional colleagues. But how do you get them to collaborate with their best efforts? That’s where people skills come in. 

People skills are nothing but a set of social skills essential to thrive in a collaborative atmosphere. They include but aren’t limited to self-awareness, listening skills, empathy, communication skills, trust, and emotional intelligence. 

For a long time, organizations concentrated on honing the technical skills of their workforce to make them industry-ready. It took precious time and effort for HR leaders to recognize the undeniable advantage of sharpening the soft skills of their workforce. From better collaboration to influential leadership, people skills are a significant set of competencies that are needed to excel at the competitive marketplace. If people are the biggest edge of an organization in a cut-throat business environment, then it only makes sense that it spends on building their collaborative skills!

Dale Carnegie’s book lists a set of basic principles that are needed to strike good relationships between people.  ‘Begin with honest and sincere appreciation’, ‘don’t criticize, condemn or complain’, ‘smile’, ‘give the other person a fine reputation to live up to,’ ‘ arouse in the other person an eager want’. These are just some of the elementary yet perceptive ways to win friends and influence people.  At the bottom of them all lies a realization that influencing people isn’t an illusionary gift that only some people are born with; instead, it’s a learnable art about saying and doing the right things in the right way.

‘Ultimately, gaining influence is about setting yourself apart, stepping to a higher plane in the mind and heart of another’ says Dale Carnegie. In today’s world, we’re in competition for attention with not just other humans but also machines that have captured our mind space at a rapid speed.   We are not awarded more than a few seconds to prove ourselves as trustworthy and altruistic to gain our colleague’s attention. How then, can we make the most of this blink and you miss it opportunity to create strong, leverageable interpersonal connections at the workplace?

This is where Learning & Development Managers have identified training opportunities and are employing top training organizations like Dale Carnegie to impart communication and interpersonal skills. The exemplary human relation principles by Dale Carnegie have been compressed in the transformational Dale Carnegie Course which has positively impacted the interpersonal skills of millions of people around the world. 

Whether it’s the ability to make a ‘wow’ presentation or making a sales pitch or even leadership skills, these human relation principles give an infallible base to form solid workplace relationships across professions and seniority levels. 

When conflicts and disagreements are looked beyond the ‘I’m right, you’re wrong’ approach, people begin to see the merit in creating ‘win-win’ scenarios that foster trust and co-operation. Skills like persuasion and influence are keys to bringing out the best in people, whether it’s at the workplace or in personal life. Training people in impactful negotiation, presentation and communication skills will help them expand their personal influence and ultimately align better to the organization’s goals.

Building strong and authentic relationships is foolishly simple in theory yet extremely tricky in reality because of the varied kinds of people we meet. Just like a professional cook makes a complicated recipe look really simple, just reading about people skills is miles away from actually practicing them.

It takes the right coaching, practical presentation and reinforcement to imbibe effective people skills and develop the right instincts about how to use them. Through effective soft skills training, individuals learn to leverage their inherent abilities to form solid personal and professional connections that lead to happiness at work and life in general. 

As Dale Carnegie rightly put it, ‘ While dealing with people, remember that you are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity.’ The art of human connection lies in the realization that we are not linear in our approach, we are driven by emotions, past experiences, and present circumstances. The ability to influence people gives you the power to impact and transform yourself and business results.   

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Pallavi Jha

The author is MD & Chairperson of Dale Carnegie of India.

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