People skills are a necessity whether you are in the office, in the line at the grocery store, or at your home. All of these kinds of skills are associated under one key term: empathy. To have empathy for someone, you need to recognize and to some extent share the feelings that are being experienced by another person. Understanding where someone is coming from, whether emotionally or mentally, can really help increase your reputation and respect in a company or in your neighborhood. To improve your empathy for other people, and get ahead in life, these are three people skills that you need to perfect.
The first skill in the step to empathy is active listening. Active listening is key when you’re in the workplace receiving responsibilities from a supervisor or listening to your child’s teacher give feedback on your child’s performance in the classroom. To actively listen, you need to be fully engaged in your audience absorbing each and every word he or she is saying. You need to have good eye contact and a direct, friendly and relaxed expression to show you are attentively listening. This will help your audience feel relaxed and will help them feel more comfortable with opening up to you.
Next, you need to realize that everyone has a different communicating style. You will have easier conversation with people whose communication style is similar to yours but when talking to someone whose communication style differs, you can improve your communication skills. Some people are difficult to communicate with and those will be your biggest challenge. Realizing that everyone communicates differently is one of the most important aspects of empathy. Once you take into account that just because someone is different than you and speaks differently, does not mean you should forgo any understanding. Come into every conversation expecting everything and anything and remember that if even if you do not agree with a statement, understand where the person is coming from.
Lastly, you need to perfect the skill of assertiveness. Before you become an overbearing coworker or family member, know your limits of power. If you are in a position of power, hold your own with polite confidence. In a reverse role, when someone holds a position of power over you, be assertive in completely the task you are given. Be willing to participate whether you are using the power of giving orders or the one getting the orders.
Dale Carnegie once gave this advice for dealing with others: “When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bustling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity.” If you perfect these three people skills, you will be that much closer to perfecting empathy.
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