How do you acquire great people skills?
Well, you can run a Google search for "people skills" and hopefully find it on Amazon.com. Imagine that: add to basket, people skills, $49.95 with recurring payments each month.
But since we can't do that, how do you really acquire great people skills? Many times, I've been asked if I was born with great people skills. My answer to that question is always the same: of course!
When I slid through my mom's womb, I remember that dark, wet journey like it was yesterday. Sliding out through her onto the table. A cute nurse looked at me from above.
It's the first memory I' ever had. She looked at me and smiled and I looked at her and smiled back and I said, "you're cute."
She screamed. I don't know if it was me or if she wasn't used to one-minute-old babies talking. From that day on I was able to really talk to anybody I ever wanted. And if you believe that story, then you still believe in flying unicorns and Santa Claus.
The truth is, no, I was not born with great people skills. I was a shy boy.
I had lots of friends, but I was shy at times. I was shy throughout my high school years. Even though I had girlfriends and lots of friends, I still was shy. My people skills really started blooming when I was in college. People ask me what I studied in college and my answer's always been the same thing.
I studied people, every single person on the campus of American University. I spent my entire college career learning how to be a social being.
I didn't study books or lectures, I didn't go to class, I just stuck with people. I spent four years talking and communicating to people.
Why? Well, because I wanted to be a social being. I wanted to learn how to connect. I wanted to be a natural, whatever that might is. I went to school to really understand how people are.
That's what I did.
When I graduated college, I moved to New York City. And yet still, I wanted to perfect connecting with people. I wanted to perfect it so much that every night I went out and just did that.
I'd smoke a joint.
I'd put my Walkman on. That was the 80's version of the iPod and the iPhone. I had my headphones on and I would put the world to music. New York City became a backdrop for Pink Floyd and U2, Tears for Fears, and any other 80's rock band that there was.
I walked around and I looked at people and I thought to myself, how can I connect with people better? Simple. I looked at all their mannerisms. I looked at what they were doing.
I started reading people and I started understanding what I needed to say and what I needed to do. I went out and hit the streets.
I talked to people. I communicated. I learned to listen. I learned to calm myself down. Instead of always feeling like I had to say something, I allowed people to finish their sentences.
I practiced it just like an athlete practices tackling, blocking and running sprints. I was an athlete in meeting people. It was sport to me, a hobby. It was how I created this business I'm in right now.
I allowed myself to screw up. I approached a lot of people. I didn't ask anything of anybody. And sure, granted, I was a guy, and I definitely wanted to get laid, which I did a lot. But even though my goal at that time was to get laid, what I was doing in reality - and I didn't even realize it until I got older - was giving myself the guideline, the foundation, for becoming a master communicator, and understanding how people are and their habits.
That's my journey. If you want the same journey, you have to go out there and practice every single day. Be aware. You start seeing things in slow motion.
I remember when I did a dating boot camp for men. I remember I talked to this girl, and I literally told the guy the exact conversation the girl was going to have with me when I walked over there, and to a tee, it was the exact conversation.
Why? Because I've done it so many times. I call myself the Tom Brady of the verbal word.
You want it. Do it. And that's all there is to it.