Becoming Influential and Likeable in Business and Life: Skills for Effective Communication (part 3 of a 3 part series)

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Guest post by Mai of  Woodland Belle, as part of a three part (three day) series.

Running a business isnt merely about making and selling a product. We are dealing with people, and people are complicated. We are engaging in emotions””pride, insecurities, secret motivations””not just their wallets. In order to have a successful, prosperous business, you need the power to influence people. You need skills to communicate effectively, appeal to peoples wants and desires, as well as to mitigate conflicts. Persuading people to like you (and what you do!) will take you far in life””not only will it work with customers and other business connections, but with everyone you know.

PART THREE (read part one + two of this series here and here)

In parts one and two of this series, we took a look at how the desire for importance and the need to be heard influences our decisions, and ways to utilize these motivators to your advantage. In part three of this series, we will learn a handful of tips useful for influencing others to your way of thinking, disarming belligerent people, and successful conflict resolution. Applying these techniques will reward you in every area of life, business included.

* Do not criticize or complain about a persons faults.

Criticizing and complaining only puts the other person on the defensive. When someone confronts us with criticism, even if we know we are in the wrong, our egos will usually not allow us to admit it easily.

* Do things for others that require time, energy, unselfishness, and thoughtfulness.

Taking a genuine interest in others will take you far in life.

* Learn and use a persons name.

No single word is sweeter to hear that our own name. Use it””address customers, bloggers, colleagues, and fellow artists by name if you can.

* Happiness doesnt depend on outward circumstances. It depends on your attitude.

Oh, how I wished more of us realized this! Too quickly we blame everything else and become bitter and unpleasant to be around. There will always be difficult situations in life, and we cant wait around for a perfect day. Happiness is a choice.

* Smile! It really makes a difference.

Make a habit of trying to be more cheerful and optimistic. Dont you like to approach and talk with people who are cheery and smiling? Unless its that creepy, forced kind of grin. Dont be plastic””be real.

* Be quick to admit your own mistakes and shortcomings before the other person does.

Its easier to hear criticism about yourself when you own up to it first. If you sense that someone is about to confront you with criticism or you know youre in the wrong, fess up. The other person will be impressed by your honesty, and may even come to your defense. Now I dont mean to be pitiful and mopey””thats no fun, either.

* Get the other person to agree with you about something and say “yes” right away. Set a positive, agreeable atmosphere.

If you can find some common ground and things you DO agree on, bringing up an uncomfortable subject will go a lot more smoothly.

* Appeal to the persons noble motives.

It is said that people usually have two reasons for doing something. Theres the noble reason that sounds good, and then theres the real reason. (and yes, there are definitely times when the “real” reason truly is the noble reason.) Theres no need to ferret out someones real reason even if you suspect it””let them take care of that. Because most of us want to be perceived as fair, upright, and honest, appeal to those motives and you will most likely have complaisance. No one wants to be made out as the villain.

* If you must confront a fault, begin with honest praise first.

A fault is always easier to address if the other person feels valued first.

* Address your own mistakes first, while calling attention to the mistakes of others indirectly.

By addressing your own similar mistakes, the other person may get the hint. A direct confrontation may not be necessary.

* Ask questions instead of giving orders.

“How would you feel about doing such and such? What do you think of doing it this way? Would you be willing to consider this and that?” These are non-abrasive ways to get your point across.

* Let the other person save face.

Consider the other persons feelings and do not embarrass someone””even if others are not present. If you can phrase things in such a way as to preserve that persons dignity, he or she will be grateful for it.

* If you want a person to improve, act as though the needed trait were already one of their outstanding characteristics.

As Shakespeare said, “Assume a virtue, if you have it not.” Give someone high expectations to live up to, and they wont want to let you down.

And finally, a closing thought:

“If you and I will inspire the people with whom we come into contact to a realization of the hidden treasures they possess, we can do far more than change people. We can literally transform them.” (Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People.)

Communication tips taken from Dale Carnegies highly recommended book, How to Win Friends and Influence People.

About Mai. Mai McKemy designs jewelry and hair accessories for her store, Woodland Belle, in Asheville, North Carolina.  She has been running her business full-time since 2008, and enjoys teaching other creative entrepreneurs ways to be successful.

**Read part one and two (here and here) of the Becoming Influential and Likeable in Business and Life now.


6 comments | Click here to reply

thanks again for this series! i especially liked the advice about using a person’s name and asking questions instead of giving orders.
i’m terrible with remembering names but really make an effort to either write it down or ask for a card. it always feels more personal when someone uses my name.
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Anna | April 21st, 2011 at 4:29 pm

Hi Anna, so glad you enjoyed the series. I agree, using a person’s name really can make all the difference. I know it makes me feel special too! And no one appreciates being bossed around, so making requests instead of giving orders is something I try to practice daily.

Mai | April 21st, 2011 at 7:44 pm

Wonderful, practical tips! I know from experience that these work well in a marriage relationship as well 😉

I find that I struggle with remembering a person’s name shortly after being introduced. It really helps for me to use it immediately in conversation, so that it doesn’t slip my mind!
Faith | OrdinaryMommy recently posted..Color Progression Earrings Blue Circles Gold Ear Wires by OrdinaryMommy

Faith | OrdinaryMommy | April 22nd, 2011 at 1:08 pm

Faith, I love your idea of making sure to use the person’s name shortly after you hear it. I’m sure speaking it helps to remember it better. Great idea! And you are so right…these tips really do work for marriage too. 😀

Mai | April 22nd, 2011 at 8:24 pm

Mai, this is exactly what I’ve been thinking about myself lately. How important it is to do nice things for others, and how doing nice things for them is a nice thing to do for ourselves too.

April Doyal | April 25th, 2011 at 1:00 am

April, you’re right. Doing nice things for others helps us in every aspect of life, business included. Thanks for stopping by!

Mai | April 25th, 2011 at 11:57 am
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