Have you ever noticed how some people are so naturally friendly when placed inside a room of strangers? They quickly connect and engage in conversations with almost everyone in no time. We often refer to them as a people-person, outgoing and charismatic, with the ability to charm a spot from a leopard’s back. They can entice others to contribute and celebrate their success. These individuals appear to operate from a mindset that they can accomplish anything because of the overwhelming support base behind them.
In all honesty, these are skills that I dedicated a significant amount of time to improve over the past years. By nature, I am somewhat reserved, but recognized I could never reach my full potential if I didn’t do more to aggressively connect with others to broaden my circle of influence. At one time, I could walk among hundreds of people and didn’t feel the need to connect with any of them. In hindsight, the lack of a more outward going personality probably hindered my career advancement and limited my access to other opportunities. Fortunately, I began to recognize these as flaws as a hindrance to my ability to maximize my knowledge, skills, and talents. Thus, I began this journey of self-improvement.
Working to enhance my own social skills has enabled me to better connect and relate to family, friends, colleagues at work, as well as complete strangers. The transformation in this area of my own personal development allows me to experience the level of self-empowerment I now enjoy. I no longer feel vulnerable in my efforts to reach out and connect with others. In fact, I seek as many opportunities as possible.
This drive for self-empowerment has been a process of making a general overhaul in my life and turning myself into a more confident and positive person. While still comfortable in my own skin, most people would probably think of me as a more outward going person today. Next, I would like to share some of the strategies used to better connect with people that led to my own sense of self-empowerment:
1. Be genuine.
Be true to who you are. There must be consistency in your behavior and interactions with others. Attempting to live a double life will eventually bring you down. Once you are perceived to be a hypocrite with selfish intentions, you might as well say goodbye to self-empowerment. Therefore, keep your ego under control by constantly monitoring your thoughts, decisions, and behavior.
2. Be a great listener.
To earn the respect and trust of other people, listen to their problems and empathize with them. Do more than hear them out, listen to them with your heart. Give them your undistracted attention by making eye contact when talking and acknowledging them. Listen as if every word matters, and you are truly interested. You win them over when they sense you care about them as a human being.
3. Laugh sometimes.
It’s not necessary that you force yourself to laugh at every joke cracked by someone, albeit you do not find it funny at all. However, you should find humor in things and not be too serious. Laugh at yourself daily. Learn to use humor to keep things light when you or people around you may be facing their greatest challenge.
4. Don't forget yourself.
It’s easy to get caught up in the challenges of day to day life and lose touch with yourself. Do not be afraid to nurture the qualities in yourself that you expect from others. Remember to love and value yourself before anyone else. If you present yourself as respectable and worthy of affection, people will respond to you as such. You can ultimately determine how the world and others respond to you.
5. Do random acts of kindness.
Make it a practice to do a random act of kindness each day. It’s not necessary to do a Warren Buffet and give all your savings to charity. Little acts of kindness matter the most, and this can be as simple buying someone a cup of coffee or giving up your seat on public transportation. A warm word of encouragement could mean the world to someone down on their luck.
6. Stay in touch with old friends.
Try to maintain connections with old friendships. Although some friendships have served their purpose and should be allowed to fade away, others may have been allowed to fall by the wayside for no apparent reason. Thanks to technology (social media), you can do something about it. Pull out the old yearbook or address book and reach out to the people who brought value and fun to your life at one time.
7. Refine your personality.
Are you grouchy, grumpy and generally miserable? Stop it! You can't go through life behaving this way and be at your best. Yes, life has a way of beating you down, but you must rise above these bad traits and habits that are certain to hinder your growth and development. Who wants to around a grouchy irritated person all the time?
8. Be confident.
Learn to stride across the room and meet and greet people with warm and radiate positive energy. Just remember: be confident, not arrogant. Promote your “can do” brand at all times. There are people watching you even when you do not realize it. Always strive to display the best you no matter the situation, even if shaking in your shoes.
9. Practice control.
When angered, do not be overtaken by your emotions. Avoid throwing tantrums and the “I told them syndrome”. Try to stay calm and collected. Be mature enough to take control of the situation and transform your anger into something more productive or a solution. People will tend to avoid you once they learn about your inability to control your anger.
10. Keep nurturing your relationships.
Relationships with family, friends and significant others are too precious and you must not neglect them no matter what happens. It’s important to go out of your way to enjoy them. Do things that pull you closer together. As you strive to reach the top, be sure that you don’t arrive there all alone. Keep close people who have a genuine interest in your success. The “Johnny Come Lately” is normally not really invested in you, but more interested in what you do.
You too can become more of people-person; it will pay dividends in both your personal and professional development. In the end, connecting with people for self-empowerment requires you to become a more assertive and engaging individual. It's a win-win situation: the people know they can count on you anytime and vice versa.
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