Become a People Person

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This article will not focus on the basics of dealing with people.   This article’s focus is to help you become the kind of person that can influence and positively affect those around you.  Some people can walk into a room and light it up.  They have an energy around them that makes others instantly gravitate to them.  Although the people who can do this most effectively have been doing it since they were young, anybody can learn this ability.

Magnetic Personality

Many books and articles on the topic of dealing with people tend to focus on smiling, eye contact, and body language as a way to have a positive impact on others.  Those things are important but many books tend to forget the most effective way to win with people.  Personality.  You can have great eye contact and a perfect smile but nothing; I mean nothing will attract people to you better than a winning personality.  Great body language will get you there but a great personality will keep you there.

A great personality is the cure-all when it comes to dealing with people. A slightly above average employee will get promoted over a more qualified employee if that person has a better attitude, is better liked, and has a more positive effect on the people around them.  Those are the qualities most people look for in leaders.  Having an extremely effective magnetic personality can mean more friends, more dates, and more sales.  During a speech on winning with people John C Maxwell said, “All things being equal people will do business with people they like.  All things not being equal, they still will.”

To have a great personality you must be the type of person that other people want to be around.  A people person with a great personality is an easy going person who can interact and positively affect many different kinds of people.  As a people person, learn how to converse with people by being genuinely interested in who they are not what they can do for you.  Begin to make others feel comfortable and create a positive atmosphere.   I have made it a habit to greet people before they greet me.  Whether it is a long or short exchange, I display that I am interested in the other person by initiating the conversation.

 The Art of Influence

Being a people person has much to do with influence.  Influence is a powerful entity to have as a political figure, celebrity, or parent.  It is also important for anybody who wants to be more effective with people.  Your ability to alter or align the thoughts, moods, and emotions of other people, is an indicator to how much of a people person you are.

An article in the Harvard Business Journal reported a study in social neuroscience found that certain things leaders do such as exhibiting empathy and becoming attuned to others moods affect both their own brain chemistry and that of their followers.  They found that the follower dynamic is not a case of two (or more) independent brains reacting to each other but rather their minds, in a sense, fuse into one system.

What happens when you walk into work in the morning?  When you say good morning to the people you work with, do they respond with a genuine enthusiastic greeting as if they are happy that you finally showed up?  Or do they greet you with a half hearted, “good morning” that they mumble through their lips out of habit?  There response has much to do with the influence you have on them.  A person of great influence is usually a people person.  They understand how to influence people in a positive way so that they can be more effective with them.  Influence not only gives you the ability to alter moods, but it gives you the capability to create them.

In order to be effective with people you must help them think the way you think and feel the way you feel.  Become the kind of person people will listen to and have the kind of attitude people want to emulate.  Influence has more to do with your character than anything else.  It has more to do with who you are and less to do with what you do.  If you are a funny, thoughtful, selfless, insightful, interesting, person; you have the characteristics that other people are attracted to and are influenced by.  Find your strong positive characteristics and amplify them so that others can be influenced by them.

Make Them Smile

As I mentioned before, smiling at others is an important way to have a positive impact on people but I suggest a better approach is to try to make others smile. Some of you are saying, “But I’m not funny.” That’s fine. Making someone laugh is great but the truth is you don’t have to make them laugh in order to be an effective people person, but you do have to make them smile.  You don’t have to be funny but you do have to be fun.  You don’t have to be able to tell jokes but you do need to know how to take a joke. 

Being an easy going person who can make others smile is a priceless people skill that can make a world of difference in your daily relationships.  The best way I know to make others smile is to talk about topics where there are opportunities to have fun.  Usually when I’m around people, I love talking about their past experiences and future expectations.  Rarely will I bring up bad politics or a tragedy that happened in the news.  Where is that going? 

Did they go on a trip recently where something funny happened?  Ask them about it.  Did you see a funny video on YouTube that made you laugh?  Share it with them.  I love drawing on the positive experiences that people have had.  The exchange of funny stories and positive happenings are priceless.  It is almost impossible for you to leave a negative (or even a neutral) impression on someone if you spent some time together having fun and talking about positive things.

More Ways to be a People Person

There are so many characteristics of an effective people person.  With a few adjustments in your behavior and the way you react to others, you will begin to see the changes in the way others react to you.  Try one of these techniques for 7 days and you will see how much of a difference it will make.

Make others feel important-Most people are so concerned with how they are perceived that they spend most of their time making themselves look important.  That really stems from being insecure.  The people who are truly confident at socializing have learned that taking your eyes off of yourself is the best way to get a positive reaction out of people.

Be willing to help– Watch for opportunities to help others every day.  At work, school, or even if you see someone that needs help at the grocery store, offer you services somehow.  The trick is not to ask them if they need help.  Try just helping them out.  Taking the initiative shows more genuineness in the act.  Asking, “can I help you with that?” or “would you like me to..?” makes it seem more like you are obligated to assist them.  When the opportunity arises to help someone, make the move.

Be interested in their interests– When trying to connect with people in a positive way it is best start with their interest.  There are two major reasons why this is important.  First you learn more about the person you are talking to.  This is very important if you are in sales.  You cannot make a sale until you understand who you are selling to.  It is also important in social situations.  You cannot build rapport with someone until you understand who you are talking to.

The second reason this is important is because this is a way to make others feel important.  When you converse with someone about their interest, you build an understanding about the person and that person develops a bond with you because you have allowed them to share some of what is important to them with you.  Win-Win.

Positive Paradigms (Leave them feeling better than when you found them.)-For some strange reason, humans love to dwell on the negative.  The news is negative, celebrity gossip is negative, and when you hear co-workers talk about their jobs, family, or situations, it’s usually (you guessed it) negative.  It’s easy to think about the bad things that happen in life because the good things are seen as unrealistic.  But as a people person, you must learn to make others feel good by influencing them in a positive way.

Here is a way you can practice building influence and becoming the type of person others want to be around.  The next time you are around someone who is focused on a negative aspect on life, slowly influence them until they say something positive.  You can agree with them about what they are saying but sometime during the conversation add a positive aspect or possibility to it.  If someone you work with is complaining about their job be sympathetic about what they are saying.  Then remind them of their three week vacation, holiday bonus, commission check or anything else that may be positive about the job.

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