I had dinner the other evening with a small distinguished group of business leaders. One of them is a remarkable woman named Sharon. She is Chief Operating Officer at a major health and medical company. She is from Texas, very smart and has that endearing quality and classic southern beauty and accent. Her husband is out of state receiving treatment for a serious cancer condition, a fact I only found out late into our conversation.
The reason I am writing about her today is I felt she was contagious! Not contagious like the flu, but “Playing Big” contagious. Her people skills were a 10 out of 10. Her smile and greeting were warm and inviting. She had eye contact in conversations that says “tell me more.” Sharon had a way of including everyone in the conversation. She asked questions and looked for a deeper understanding. Everything about her was professional and down-to-earth.
I am around a lot of people on a regular basis, I meet new people, talk to old friends, find myself in crowded rooms, but I have to say that this woman possessed something that I have not seen often. If she had tried to sell me something that night, I would have bought it!
Part of Playing Big has to do with having amazing people skills.
This is a quality that we can overlook. It is something that unless it is seriously lacking, we may not notice that it is there. It is not about being outgoing so much as it is about taking real vital interest in others. Understanding how contagious your moods, your attitudes, and your emotions can be.
Daniel Goleman wrote a sensational book years ago titled, “Emotional Intelligence.” He explained that IQ is essentially fixed by the age of 16 while EQ is something that can be developed throughout life. We process tactical and technical skills that help us in life and work. But those EQ and "Play Big" skills are unlimited for improvement.
He explained that with every human encounter (just like that dinner with Sharon) we don’t just exchange information, we literally influence one another’s moods, attitudes, and emotions.
Studies have been done with ICU nurses. Some of the nurses had very little human contact with their patients. They just changed out the IV, administered medications, and read the charts. Others had significantly more human interaction with their patients, speaking with them, softly touching their arms or shoulders, looking them in the eye, or even saying a few words of encouragement. And guess what?... Yup, the patients’ improvements were painfully slow under the supervision of the nurses who had less human interaction. While those gifted nurses who took a little extra time, had patients who improved dramatically faster!
This is a representation of a real life effects that an emotional exchange can have! Do you wonder what improvements you could cause in the world around you if you learn to have this type of positive people skills? Over 75% of communication is non-verbal; instead it comes from your body language and your tone of voice.
Practice these behaviors to Play Big with your People Skills
- Setting your emotional state early in the day, strive to be positive
- Feed your mind a healthy mind diet
- Watch how your moods affect others and begin to master your moods
- Greet people with a smile and a warm handshake
- Practice keeping good eye contact during conversation
- Remember people’s names and use it in your conversation and when you say goodbye
- Learn to shift interactions towards more positive states and be a positive influence
- Treat all people as people. No person is a machine.
- Be the most positive person you know.
Sharon is highly successful and has worked and interacted with world-class people. It wasn’t until I finally found out about her husband, that I realized the full impact of what she must be going through. And yet she didn’t have a “pity me” or “victim” attitude. Instead, she warmly said to me “Steve, I just know that with your good prayers and with those of so many of my friends, my husband will truly recover. It has been such a pleasure to meet you.” All I have to say back is, thank you, Sharon for showing me how I can grow and learn to Play Big with Emotional Intelligence every day, no matter what.
For information on keynote presentations, team workshops, and one on one coaching, contact Steve at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call: (425) 681-9871
*Originally published 10/25/2011