How to improve people skills?

I've realized people skills make or break your career. You can be the smartest most technically sound person and put out flawless work but it doesn't matter if people don't like you. I'm not super outgoing and I'm shy and have some social anxiety. What are some ways to import my people skills?

Comments (24)

Jun 26, 2022 - 8:42am
HardestOfHardos, what's your opinion? Comment below:

1) you mention you have social anxiety. You have to expose yourself to as many triggering situations as possible to overcome it (this is the hardcore method)

2) honestly? Say less. One of the biggest things I learned to earn respect from people is to shut the fuck up and listen instead of talk

3) read "How to win friends and influence people". Cliche, yes, but there's a reason it's so famous

Jun 26, 2022 - 8:59am
GoingToBeAnMD, what's your opinion? Comment below:
  1. Stop referring to yourself as the person who is shy and with anxiety. Mindset is everything - be positive.Β 
  2. Realize that the initial steps will be tough but it will get easier over time. You just need to get out there and do it
  3. When most people talk about "people skills" to advance their careers, what they really mean is communication skills. If you look at the top of most orgs - yes, even yours - the people at the top are likely to be really really good communicators. Make sure you can effectively express yourself both written and verbally. Find ways to improve your EQ, practice business writing, etc. Those skills will attract people to you.Β 
  4. Along with communication, leadership helps. Leadership doesn't always mean being in management. It can also mean how you handle yourself and your projects. That will also attract people to you.

Good luck!

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Jun 26, 2022 - 3:18pm
Isaiah_53_5 πŸ’ŽπŸ™ŒπŸ’ŽπŸ™ŒπŸ’Ž, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Join a Muay Thai or Boxing gym. Honestly, it will improve your confidence and people skills. You have to fix it from the core.Β 

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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Jun 27, 2022 - 9:10am
subs1111, what's your opinion? Comment below:
Isaiah_53_5 πŸ’ŽπŸ™ŒπŸ’ŽπŸ™ŒπŸ’Ž

Join a Muay Thai or Boxing gym. Honestly, it will improve your confidence and people skills. You have to fix it from the core.Β 

Username says financegirl. Not really sure she is interested in boxing.

Jun 27, 2022 - 9:28am
DisgruntledAppraiser, what's your opinion? Comment below:

To be fair lots of different types of gyms out there and I still agree with the premise. A great way to improve confidence is to put yourself in areas outside your comfort zone where you have to learn a new skill set. Also, gyms in general offer a lot of opportunities for spontaneous social interaction with strangers - ie: talking about a class or particular workout.

When you get comfortable being uncomfortable, you'll be amazed at the growth you can make.Β 

Be humble, be genuine and ask people questions that get them talking about themselves. That'll go a long way towards improving your people skills. Also, something that helped me a lot was realizing that most people aren't natural extroverts. Everyone is awkward to some level or another so realizing that most people are dealing with the same thing definitely helps too.Β Β 

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Jun 27, 2022 - 2:51pm
Isaiah_53_5 πŸ’ŽπŸ™ŒπŸ’ŽπŸ™ŒπŸ’Ž, what's your opinion? Comment below:
subs1111
Isaiah_53_5 πŸ’ŽπŸ™ŒπŸ’ŽπŸ™ŒπŸ’Ž

Join a Muay Thai or Boxing gym. Honestly, it will improve your confidence and people skills. You have to fix it from the core.Β 

Username says financegirl. Not really sure she is interested in boxing.

Yeah I saw OP was a girl. The girls at my Muay Thai gym are all really tight. Some of them fight, but most are just there for the training. The girls even have a dedicated chat on Facebook messenger as well as girls only classes once per week. My ex-girlfriend started attending and is addicted - she says it's one of the best things to ever happen to her. After the girls classes they often all go out to eat together. A great group of people.

-

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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Aug 16, 2022 - 10:12pm
tomkennedy1, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Jiu-jitsu is also great both woman and men. There are several schools in NYC and the early classes are usually working professionals. It will make anyone feel better, both physically and mentally.

Jun 28, 2022 - 9:09pm
Undercover meme, what's your opinion? Comment below:

One of my best friends is a female in finance who boxes

"one for the money two for the better green 3 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine" - M.F. Doom

Jun 27, 2022 - 9:20am
subs1111, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Pretty generic advice maybe but here:

- Make an effort to look good. It increases your confidence.

- If you are shy or anxious with people, it means you put them on a pedestal. Try to get over this. Remember that you aren't better than anyone and no one is better than you.

- Something I learnt about the famous book another person mentioned, is to take an interest in the other person, talk about them, approach the person with a positive thing you notice about them. In return, this will make them interested in being friends with you due to the positive energy you bring.

- And I feel like if you seem a happy and uplifting person, others will be drawn to you. I have noticed this myself. No one likes people who are sad or with problems. Try to adjust your attitude when possible, even though it is hard.

Jun 29, 2022 - 1:51pm
Isaiah_53_5 πŸ’ŽπŸ™ŒπŸ’ŽπŸ™ŒπŸ’Ž, what's your opinion? Comment below:
subs1111

- If you are shy or anxious with people, it means you put them on a pedestal. Try to get over this.

I don't think you understand anxiety. This just isn't true.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

Most Helpful
Jun 27, 2022 - 9:48am
thebrofessor, what's your opinion? Comment below:

read dale carnegie how to win friends & influence people

keys are

  1. reps - nothing comes easy without practice. first, focus on zero downside convos like with cabbies, checkout people, strangers that seem to want to chat, security people in your building, baristas, etc.
  2. keep it simple - be inquisitive but not interrogative. asking questions is the best conversation starter, things like where someone came from, what they do for fun, their family & friends (if they don't answer where they're from in a way that may indicate some tension there), and if you're into sports, sports. ask their opinion on stuff and see how many times in a row you can ask a question without turning it to you (other than agreeing, like "omg I love ABC dim sum too! what do you usually get?" steer clear of politics, religion (yes, even if you share the same religion, maybe they're a zionist and you hate netanyahu, for example), sex, and most current events. friendships aren't built on just people that agree with you, it's gotta be deeper
  3. have internal coffee chats - if you're still in school, pick the brains of professors who have worked in industry/you respect their opinion. if you're working, the same cues below will work
    1. how did you get to where you are today?
    2. if you're into markets and it's relevant to the discussion, ask how they think about them, how they distill information, what their current views are, etc.
    3. obviously family, friends, hobbies, what are they currently reading/into, etc.
    4. absolutely essential - what do you wish you knew when you were my age?
    5. absolutely essential - I'm trying to get a hang of this industry/class/my future/etc., is there anyone else you think I should talk to?
      1. if they say yes, ask permission to reach out and use their name
  4. less is more - you should be doing 10-30% of the talking, tops. get good at ice breakers, keeping conversations going (an easy one is "hmm, tell me more about that" and let 'em ramble), and so on.Β 
  5. focus on the goal - the goal is a good conversation, not being liked, because that's mutual. you don't know if you even want someone to like you until you chat with them a bit, so make the focus to learn as much about them as possible and have an interesting conversation, that's it. the natural result of a lot of interesting conversations with interesting people and genuine curiosity will be people like you and your network grows
  6. break out of comfort zone/take notes from expertsΒ - I've never done stuff like toastmasters but if you have difficulty with people skills, consider an organization like that, maybe taking a leadership position in an affinity group, offering to be a speaker at a small firm event, etc., because while it's nerve wracking, it hardens you and you get better with experience. watch panel discussions on youtube, ted talks, Q&A sessions, podcast interviews, and pick up on what works well and what doesn't. e.g. - tim ferriss. he's a good question asker but comes off as an insufferable douche when he says things like "I want to double click on that" or goes off on a tangent talking about how interesting he is (bro, I'm here for Ed Thorp, NOT YOU). good podcast interviewers - joe rogan, jocko willink, peter robinson (even though he feigns sarcasm sometimes which is icky), have heard good things about megyn kelly (haven't listened to her), and lex fridman

what not to do

  1. talk about yourself too much - if someone asks, go right ahead, but far too often people jump the gun into this and just want to talk about themselves. if I'm having a conversation with someone and they ask me something about myself and then their next thing is 2x a long as just about ME ME ME I know from there on out they just like the sound of their own voice and they don't give a fuck (because if you're truly listening, you're not formulating your monologue in your head)
  2. multitask - if it's in person, on phone, on zoom, they are the #1 priority. turn your phone on silent, mute outlook/skype notifications, and be 100% present. there's nothing worse than talking to the back of someone's iphone screen and their forehead
  3. expect everything to go perfectly - my job is to talk to people, I've had hundreds of thousands of phone calls in my career, and I still fuck up. just get reps in and if you're genuinely curious people will forgive a lot of awkwardness, but it has to be genuine
  4. think you're something you're not - if you're a true introvert, this type of thing will be mentally taxing for you, so be sure you still have plenty of "me time" where you can read, meditate, exercise (ideally all of those) on a regular basis. if you're not a natural social butterfly don't make your day full of talking to people and then expect to go to a cocktail party with any semblance of your best self, be honest with your strengths and weaknesses and structure your day around this. I know it's possible, there are plenty of successful introverts (hell, I've gotten MORE introverted with age, not less)

finally, agree with poster who said join a gym, though martial arts isn't necessary. getting in good shape will improve your body, which improves your body image, which improves your confidence & self esteem, which improves everythingΒ 

Jun 28, 2022 - 5:01pm
anthro123, what's your opinion? Comment below:

want to echo all of the comments that say to read "How to Win Friends and Influence People"Β 

i used to be in your shoes and very socially anxious / shy. i think it's great that you're aware and want to improve. i think it's a mix of pushing yourself out of your comfort zone in social situations and also a confidence and self-awareness thing. for me, being a leader of a club in college pushed me out of my comfort zone immensely because i was constantly reaching out to people trying to recruit members. showing up to events / clubs / random organizations and forcing myself to socialize/meet people are also another way i pushed myself socially. secondly, all of this matters way less and makes [us? definitely me] way less anxious when you are simply confident (and self-aware) enough to not care what other people think about you.Β 

Jun 28, 2022 - 5:31pm
kindheartedconsultant, what's your opinion? Comment below:

This is going to sound really, really dumb, but I promised it worked wonders for me.

Basically I took phrases from people I like, or videos I watched on youtube, or podcasts, or TV interviewers/interviewees (really whoever) that resonated with me, and then I just stole them and started using them. One co-worker used to say "I love that" when saying that they thought something was cool and I thought it was a nice phrase to make people feel good about their work so I stole that and I use it when I'm reviewing someone's work/working with someone.Β 

There's one book in particular that I stole a bunch of phrases from called "Never Split The Difference" and it's worked wonders for me.

If you say the right stuff, then the rest of the people skills open up pretty quickly. Sort of like getting to Destruction level 50 in Skyrim, you now have access to ~basically all the rest of the destruction spells you need to be super proficient, and the leveling will happen quickly after that.

Remember, always be kind-hearted.
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Jun 28, 2022 - 7:26pm
Friedmaneconomics, what's your opinion? Comment below:

If you're a man or any men reading this for similar advice, one of the best ways to sharpen your people skills is to go out alone. Go to a bar and try to strike up random conversations. Majority of social skills or emotional intelligence more precisely is to empathetically understand some one else or "be on the same page" as them emotionally, and know what to say and when to say it. To any guys reading this, go out alone and see how you do. Chances are you may fumble and get made fun or poked fun at but over time, like anything else, it becomes a skill and the confidence of that independence is something that you can always rest upon.

Jun 28, 2022 - 9:37pm
PrivateTechquity πŸš€GMEπŸš€, what's your opinion? Comment below:

The more people you defeat and consume the higher level your people skills will get, unlocking new perks and powerful passive buffs for your daily life.Β 

Array

Jun 29, 2022 - 6:03am
Iko_, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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