Shirley's Articles / Communication Skills and Building Relationships

Polish Up Your People Skills – Every Day Of The Week

Are you a people person? It may surprise you, but there is only one answer: Yes you are! You need people skills in every aspect of your life, from personal or professional relationships and networking, to getting along with your in-laws during the holidays. How you use these skills is what sets you apart, or not! If you want to let the light shine on you in the office, at meetings, or during the annual dinner, you need to develop great people skills now.

Improving your people skills has endless personal and professional benefits, making it one of the most important assets you can develop. So here are five techniques for improving your people skills, one for each day of the week:

Monday: Smile and be positive. It’s so simple yet, for some, so difficult. Remember Peter Pan’s ‘happy thought’? Well, come up with your own. It may be an upcoming holiday, goals you are working for, maybe your kids or your cat. Think your ‘happy thought’ when ever you need a pick-me-up to keep you smiling, energetic and in a positive mindset.

Tuesday: Use people’s names. When speaking with someone, whether it is a long-standing colleague or potential client, use their first name in a casual way. For example, instead of saying “that’s a great idea,” try “that’s a great idea, Bob.” It acknowledges what the person said and makes the conversation more personal. It will also help you remember new names!

Wednesday: Use eye contact. Now this is a tricky one that most people want to skip over. But please don’t. It one of the most basic and important social interactions. For starters, I suggest picking one eye and focus on it for a few seconds. Then the other one. Do this in a comfortable, casual manner. It may feel weird to you, but it has a big, positive impact on the other person.

Thursday: Listen! It’s true that people love talking about themselves. And part of great people skills is learning to listen. Try to go through an entire conversation without talking about yourself. It is odd how challenging this can be. Instead, ask the speaker questions and show a keen interest. You will walk away from the conversation richer for having got to know someone better. And you’ll also make their day because they will feel you truly listened to them.

Friday: Practice. The saying is that practice makes perfect, but perfection is rare. Practice does make a difference though. Get out there and interact. Meeting new people can be enlightening and invigorating. Conversations can be memorable and life-changing. Start a conversation with the taxi driver or the new neighbour who just moved in. With people come opportunities, so just get out there and enjoy connecting with your fellow humans.

So there you have it – people skills for every day of the week – well I’ve skipped Saturday and Sunday, so this is time for you to consolidate what you’ve learned! And the days are only a guide, so feel free to practice them all on any day!

You should find that each skill gets easier and more natural with time. And remember to relax and breathe! The ability to interact, communicate and connect is one of the greatest joys on this earth, so enjoy it.

Good luck on your path to developing positive people skills.

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Shirley is an international bestselling author. She has established herself as a leading authority in email and business writing skills. Her international bestseller Model Business Letters, Emails & Other Business Documents 7th edition sold over half a million copies worldwide and has been translated into 17 languages. Her book Email Essentials reached #2 in the USA for publishers Marshall Cavendish International. Find out more about Shirley at

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