In the last year or so, I’ve had not one, not two but at least three people – a friend, a coworker, and a mentor – all criticize my communication skills. At first, I was hurt and angry at their analysis. I was tempted to ignore the critique – surely, they were mistaken. I couldn’t see it. I was the queen of relationships and of getting my voice heard, I thought. I mean, I have a blog that I update frequently, I published a book of stories about relationships that people are reading and enjoying and I share snippets of my personal life on social media. I was communicating! How much better could I be?
But when I thought about it, I realize it doesn’t matter what I think – if other people think I don’t communicate well, there’s a problem. And while my critics had identified a problem, no one had suggested what I do to fix it, just that I had to relate to people better. So I looked for a book that would outline a plan for how I could have better relationships with the people already in my life and how I could create opportunities for even better future interactions.
Turns out learning about people is not just a science; it’s an art. Top social media influencer Dave Kerpen wrote a book exactly for people like me who want to get better at relating to people – not just understanding what people want from us but learning how to deliver so that interactions can be more beneficial to both parties. The Art of People: 11 Simple People Skills That Will Get You Everything You Want. “That’s it,” I thought. That’s what I needed.
The Art of People is a 53-point plan for developing and sustaining better relationships, whether in the business or personal arena. Each of the 53 mini-chapters has a cool, catchy title and tackles topics like how to show respect for your boss (chapter entitled Always Manage Up); how to be vulnerable with your peers (chapter entitled Crying Is For Winners); and how to take full advantage of opportunities (chapter entitled Always Accept The Water).
The Art of People gives advice on how to get the most out of business meetings, how to make profitable introductions, how to treat even the people who reject you, how to mirror and validate feelings, how to resolve conflict, how to deliver bad news, when and how to hire and fire employees/contractors. All good, usable material!
And all this advice is based on Kerpen’s personal experiences; in fact, he starts each chapter with a story from his own life, usually relating the situation where he learned the lesson himself. Each point ends with a FAST action plan – several practical tasks to help the reader put into practice what (s)he just learned.
The Art of People is a fascinating read. I devoured all 248 pages of text in a day and a half because it was that interesting but now that I’m done with my first read, I am going to attack it again with my highlighter, pen and post-its so I can put these action-plans into practice. First on my list is a tip from the chapter entitled You Never Get What You Don’t Ask For: Dream up something big that you want from someone, even if you think he won’t say yes. Then ask for it.
My something big: please click one of the buttons below to share this article via social media – Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, by email. Whatever, just share! Thanks!