How Knowing Yourself Can Improve Your People Skills

Finding my niche as a communication coach and figuring the lifestyle that suits me was not a revelation, it was a process. One of the stepping stones in this process was knowing myself thoroughly and understanding what I have to offer.

An interesting side effect was how much I improved my people skills, as a result of improving my self-knowledge. There is an obvious link between knowing yourself and choosing the right career. I discovered there is also a strong but more subtle link between knowing yourself and your people skills.

It’s funny how the effective personal development in one area often starts in another, apparently far away area. Here are some specific ways I experienced myself how knowing yourself can improve your people skills:

1. More social confidence. When you know yourself well, you know what you are about and you understand your strengths. From this place, confidence to put yourself out there often comes naturally. Knowing yourself often pushes you to meet people and to express yourself socially.

On the other hand, people who have a blurry image about themselves are more reluctant to put themselves out there. They don’t even understand who the person they put out there is, so they often have superficial interactions with others.

2. Building comfort. I realized one of the best ways to make people feel comfortable with you is to give them the chance to know you as a person. And you do this by expressing your thoughts, values, passions, emotions, in a powerful way.

But of course, in order to do this, you have to know them. As you know and open yourself up authentically, it’s easier for other people to reciprocate by opening themselves up. This two-way process is essential in building strong relations.

3. Investing in the right relations. How often have you heard people complaining about how they have the wrong friends or relationships? It’s easy to get caught up in time and energy consuming relations with people who are not a good fit for you when you don’t know yourself.

However, when you understand yourself, your intuition and your logic will better tell you who is a good fit for you. This will help you invest time and energy in maintaining and growing the relations with the right people for you, and letting the other ones fade.

There is a very simple lesson here: if you want to improve your people skills but you don’t know yourself very well, forget your people skills for a while and focus on this aspect. Get to know yourself better and as you do, you will improve your people skills and you will also create a solid foundation for them.

Comments

  1. I especially agree with number two. One of the best ways I have been able to communicate with people is to delve beyond general small talk. That doesn’t mean I get extremely personal, I just give glimpses of what I am like outside of the setting(often professional) that we are in. This helps them to relax and develop a picture of me beyond the subject matter at hand.
    .-= Jason P McGee´s last blog ..Hello, Social Entrepreneurship =-.

  2. Hi Eduard. I think you have made a great observation here about why knowing yourself can have positive side effects of better social skills. I think this is due to the fact that when you completely know yourself you no longer focus your thinking on yourself, you don’t have to, so you focus more on others around you. When you do this, people then become interested in you.
    .-= Steven Aitchison´s last blog ..Using EFT to Change Your Life – Video =-.

  3. I really identify with No. 3 … the more we know ourselves the more we know what is best for us. If we don’t take the time to continually know ourselves we can get lost in what others think is best for us.
    .-= Jen´s last blog ..What is your success style? =-.

  4. Seems to me that any highly evolved animal would have be be able to quickly adapt to a changes.
    We (people) are the highest evolved animals therefore we change the fastest. As such it follows that we would not be able to “know ourselves” because we change ?

    And when we get to know ourselves what do we actually know ? what we like and what we fear (or dislike)… Most of them can quickly change. I used to like a lot ice cream, now I don’t.

    one more point,
    Confidence (and social confidence) is built on liking yourself and trusting you’re good enough. Not sure how knowing myself and knowing that I don’t like myself is going to make me more confident. This sort of introspection can cause a lot of damage.

    • I guess what it really means to know yourself is to completely standing up for the values you treasure the most. When you know the values you put into action, you begin to identify yourself with people who do the same. That builds your connection with people share the same values as you have.

      Interests are partly shared with other people. And when you make friends and started sharing your own experiences, you begin discovering things you never thought you’d experienced or even liked. As individuals, we have our own realities. As we expand our social connections, we discover new things, new people, and most of all ourselves. What’s more important is that we constantly learn and grow as individuals.

      On your suggestion that we should be build on liking ourselves, isn’t it more rational to think that we know who we like? In that reason, we would know the people we want to associate with and the people we want to avoid, or simply just tolerate.

      I believe that the values we keep are the solid foundations of who we are. No matter how seasons change, and even the experiences we deal with, our values keeps us whole and grounded to our being.

  5. @Jason – the second one is also my favorite. I constantly teach people to get over the small talk and instead, talk in a more personal way, in which they share themselves. I think it’s an important way to improve people skills.

    @Steven – I like your point. So in a way, knowing yourself makes you more interested in others, which is one of those essential people skills. Niceeeee 🙂

    @Jen – no. 3 has influenced me a lot in the last couple of years, in changing my social circle and building a better one.

    @Lucian – about how knowing yourself can build your social confidence, you just have to see/ feel it to believe it. Anyway, it’s not an universal thing, just highly probable.

  6. is this “self” you speak of, the Freudian “Self” ? Can you define “self” in a more concrete way ? (“truly you”, “real you” and so on, not gonna cut it 🙂 ) What exactly is to know about me ?

    In my previous post I defined “myself” or just “self” or “me” as what I like or dislike. Do you agree on this definition ?

  7. I loved this post Eduard because I truly believe that everything start from knowing yourself first. And the changes that can happen in life sometimes can be completely unexpected. When I went through the process of self-discovery I changed lots of things from my business to the clothes I wear. Most importantly I now feel “me” in everything I do which is a very empowering feeling. And you are right, the way I communicate with people has changed as well.

  8. Nice post Eduard. I definitely think it is more important to know ourselves first, before diving right away into social interactions. When we dive into social interactions right away with knowing ourselves, the conversations can be superficial because we will just go along with whatever the others are saying in order to fit in. But when we know ourselves, we will express our opinions from our beliefs and this makes us more genuine, allowing the conversation to feel more comfortable.
    .-= Hulbert´s last blog ..By: Hulbert Lee =-.

  9. yes you are right Eduard, also knowing ourselves will give us a better understanding of people and so we will have less conflicts with them

  10. Eduard –

    Spot on post here. I know that learning about myself has allowed me to act authentically in every situation. I am comfortable to respond in line with my values. This definitely creates confident and powerful communication. The clearer that we are on our purpose, who we are and our mission in life, the easier it is to tell others and attract the right people into our life. Thanks for the great post!

    Phil
    .-= Phil – Less Ordinary Living´s last blog ..How to Start =-.

  11. As Eckhart Tolle said:

    At the heart of the new consciousness lies the transcendence of thought, the newfound ability of rising above thought, of realizing a dimension within yourself that is infinitely more vast than thought. You then no longer derive your identity, your sense of who you are, from the incessant stream of thinking that in the old consciousness you take to be yourself. What a liberation to realise that “the voice in my head” is not who I am.

    Then who am I? The one who sees that. The awareness prior to thought, the space in which the thought – or the emotion or sense perception – happens. (Taken from A New Earth)

  12. @Lana – knowing yourself well can have all sort of interesting effects on yourself, your life, your people skills. PS: I like the new blog brand. Catchy.

    @Farouk – I agree. Better understanding other people is another important consequence of knowing ourselves, which helps our social life.

    @Phil – my pleasure. Spot on yourself. Clarity and confidence in our communication tend to go hand in hand.

    @Craig – nice to have you here. I see we share an appetite for Eckhart Tolle.

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