Whether you are an introvert, extrovert or ambivert, developing people handling skills is essential to a healthy academic, business, social, family life and so on. This is true because humans are social beings and the success of one thrives on the success of the other. For example, a more financially buoyant patient can better afford a doctor’s service than one who is not. Having established this fact, it buttresses the fundamental truth that many of the most successful people on the planet today are those who have learnt to solidify a good relationship with those around them. Apple CEO, Tim Cook once said, “If you want to change the world, you don’t ignore the world.” Or as human relations expert, Dale Carnegie puts it, “If you want the honey, you don’t kick way the bee-hive.”

Here are seven essential tips for working successfully/effectively with people:

  1. Make People Feel Important: One of America’s most profound philosophers, John Dewey stated that, “The deepest urge in the human nature is the desire to feel important.” William James phrases it differently: “The deepest craving in human existence is the desire to be appreciated.” I’ve seen employees put in less than their best simply because they felt they weren’t appreciated by their employers.This however has nothing to do with flattery which is false and insincere but rather with sincere compliment and appreciation. Charles Shwab, who was paid a million dollars each year by his multi-millionaire employer Andrew Carnegie, ascribed the secret of his ascent into such an important position not to outstanding genius, impeccable dress style or eloquence of speech but to this one single secret:

“I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among my people, the greatest asset I possess, and the way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement.”

“In my wide association in life, meeting with many and  great people in various parts of the world, I have yet to find the person, however exalted his station who did not do better work and put forth greater effort under a spirit of approval than he would under a spirit of criticism.”

  1. Become interesting: Think of someone that you find really interesting. Have you found any yet? Do you need a few minutes to ponder on this? Yup! Here we go! You’ve found that person! What was the striking attribute that made this person so likable and interesting? He was interested in you or in the things that interested you! Did I guess right? I guess I did. To be interesting, you have to be interested. Don’t get caught up in self-centeredness if at all you want to get to anywhere worth going in life.
  2. Practice the “Socratic method”: The Socratic method of working with people is much embedded in the age long Chinese proverb: ‘He who treads softly goes far.’ It’s based on getting a ‘yes, yes’ response from your opponent/colleague. That way, you end up agreeing rather than disagreeing.Source:

Nobody wants to work with someone if they know it’s only going to lead to disagreements or arguments. According to Professor Overstreet, A ‘No’ response is a most difficult handicap to overcome. When you have said ‘No’, all your pride of personality demands that you remain consistent with yourself. The logic? Start your conversations from standpoints with which you and your opponent agree. E.g a student who begins answering questions from a standpoint of facts with which the lecturer agrees is much likely to perform better than one who begins with arguable and unjustifiable facts, even if he eventually lays the facts thereafter.

  1. Remember people’s name: As flippant as this might sound, remembering peoples name goes a long way in making them feel important. Just recently I was at an academic conference and a close friend of mine who had hitherto been deeply lost in the euphoria of the dinner party we had, suddenly lost interest and became frustrated. His reason? He had gotten a certificate for the conference and on it was his name spelt wrongly—it meant that much to him. So it those to that colleague, associate or whomever you are working with. Whereas recalling a person’s name might not be the easiest thing to do, it is worth the doing.
  2. Don’t impose your standards/ideals on anybody: I’ve come across countless number of individuals who want to make changes and positive impact but go about doing it the wrong way—imposing it on others. What’s the outcome? Your guess is as good as mine—everybody gets frustrated and nobody gets anywhere.

In his book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie pointed out that talking about only what we want is really childish and absurd. Let’s face it, would you have read this post up to this point f it was all about me, me, me and me? I bet you wouldn’t! That’s how boring it gets when you try to impose your ideals on others. Humans are by nature beings of choice and will likely resist anything that seems to deprive them of that right; they want to be led, not controlled. Henry Ford had this simplified when he said, ‘if there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other persons point of view and see things from that persons angle as well as from your own.”

  1. Stop trying to be a perfectionist: If you want to enjoy outstanding successes with people, you must learn to pursue excellence without seeking to be a perfectionist! Sounds contradictory right? Here’s the catch: Everybody makes mistakes—even ‘perfect’ people. So, before correcting/criticizing as the case maybe, try to pin-point instances where/when you have made similar mistakes. That way the other party realizes and corrects his mistakes without being offended.
  2. Smile: Last but not the least, smile. It costs nothing but creates much. It is an essential ingredient for working successfully with people. To further buttress this fact is the cliché: The expression one wears on ones face is far more important than the cloth on ones back. A smile is mostly attractive and welcoming while a frown on the other hand is mostly repelling. When I first gained admission into the university, I spent a great chunk of my time learning about humor—you would think I was taking a course in comedy!

Always remember the Chinese proverb: A man who doesn’t smile must not open a shop.

solomon Author

I’m Solomon Onu Idenyi: a writer and public speaker. I’m really glad you came around. I sincerely hope you do come around often—I wouldn’t be here not for you! is website that not only promotes education and innovation but also showcases young and bustling entrepreneurs and innovators across Africa. We would love to know your ventures and advertise for you! So go ahead and contact us today!


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