Today, I'm turning 33! As my gift to you, here are 33 people skill tips that I've learned over the last 14 years.
1. Dialing up your energy a bit (+10%) when you’re being social makes it easier to have a good time.
2. Being curious will help you be interested in other people.
3. No one can mind-read. They have no clue what you’re thinking. You have no idea what they are thinking.
4. The spotlight effect is real. We all tend to overestimate the amount that other people notice and observe us.
5. It’s possible to view the same event 2 different ways. Ex: You say “Hi”. They brush past you instead of saying “Hi”. Negative view: “They must be mad at me.” Positive view: “They must be preoccupied, they probably didn’t hear me.”
6. First Impressions start BEFORE you open your mouth. Seeming approachable is key…
7. Master the “Resting happy face” = Have a slight smile on your face when you’re out at an event. Studies have shown smiling makes you happier (which will lead to better interactions)
8. No need to overthink eye contact. Make eye contact for a few seconds, glance away, rinse and repeat.
9. Small talk is necessary. It helps you move from lighter topics to deeper topics so that you can build rapport.
10. During small talk, avoid the “Interrogation trap”. Balance questions with observations. (Great chance to give a meaningful compliment)
11. Keep a running list of social wins.** When you have a great interaction, make people laugh with a joke, etc. Write it down! Next time you’re feeling unsure, Look over your list to remind yourself that you have been successful in the past.
12. Try not to interrupt. If you accidentally interrupt, say “You were saying…” and bring up the last thing they said to get them back on track. (This shows that you were listening…you WERE listening, right?)
13. Listening is SO key. Listen and try to come up with observations and questions that show that you are 100% engaged.
14. Don’t stop listening when you come up with something to say. (I call this the “spring loaded response trap”) Be okay with letting go of what you were going to say…there’s always something else to say.
15. If you notice that the other person is mirroring your body language, that’s a great sign! This means that you two are in rapport and connecting. (You can trigger this by mirroring them a little first)
16. If you remember something cringey you did in the past. Try the 3 Fs: Flush, Fix, Forget. Flush: Take a breath and get some emotional distance from that memory. Fix: Is there anything you can change for next time? If so, make a note. Forget: Give yourself permission to forget it
17. Body Language: In most cases, people could take up more space, gesture more with their hands and stop fidgeting. These signal to others that you’re comfortable with yourself. (Which helps them feel comfortable too)
18. How to be interesting. Develop a wide range of interests. Know a little about a lot. This will make a wide range of topics and conversations 10x easier.
19. Be bold. Don’t wait for people to come to you.** Approach people first. Introduce yourself first. Own the interaction.
20. The more comfortable you can make yourself, the more comfortable you can make others. (Important to balance with getting out of your comfort zone and growing as a person though)
21. Prep a quick summary of your weekend. People will ask, have something ready.
22. Saying “No” and crafting boundaries is important. People will treat you however you let them. Hard to know if people are stepping over boundaries if you aren’t sure what those boundaries are.
23. Saying “Yes” is important too. Not “Yes” to things you don’t want to do, but yes to new and exciting experiences and opportunities.
24. Having hobbies and things you’re excited about in life makes having interesting things to say easier. Don’t have a hobby? Try a local class in your city once and see if you like it. Do this every month. (Bonus: You'll meet new people)
25. If they don’t message you back. It’s better to assume the best than the worst. Maybe they’re not interested…or maybe they’re just busy. Which narrative serves you best? (Re-read #3 and #5)
26. If you’re already technically skilled, being able to connect with people will set you apart from similar people in your career.
27. If you’re arguing, you’ve already lost. If you take the time to stop and try to understand the other person’s perspective as best you can first, you might be able to avoid the argument completely.
28. It’s better to have a hard conversation sooner rather than later. Use “I” statements rather than “You” statements.
29. Confidence comes from competence. Everyone has at least one thing that they are good at. Remembering that one thing before being social can make you feel more confidence in the moment.
30. Breath is fuel. Breathe in fully before you talk. You’ll be louder, people will take notice. I had a terrible stutter from age 6-19. This helped me overcome it. (You mileage may vary)
31. “Be yourself” is misguided advice. Improve and be your best self. Working on your people skills does not make you fake.
32. Be aware of people in your life who make toxic or cutting remarks as you improve. “I liked the old you…” They likely aren’t right for you.
33. Life is fluid and flexible. If you start acting more confident, the world will accept that new version of you. Over time, that becomes your new normal.
Hey, I'm Jeff.
I'll help you supercharge your people skills so that you can have a more fulfilling career,
business & social life.
Over the last 14 years, I’ve learned... (Read More)
• 8 Uncommon Tips To Make A Great First Impression
• The Ultimate Guide To Joining & Enjoying Group Conversations
• How to Never Run Out of Things to Say