My first day of kindergarten set the tone for my entire school career. At the end of recess—the one thing I excelled at throughout my elementary years—I talked a neighbor friend into giving me a push in a red wagon. As I steered the wagon for the open door of the classroom, the teacher and principal were standing outside the door having a conversation. I simply gave a quick wave and flew on by. Growing up in a small rural community where everyone knew everyone, my mom was quickly informed. She wasn’t happy.
The Secret Is Their Primary Interest
You have your own stories of fun and mischief, be it in kindergarten, high school, or college. But with all the required studies and electives, the one class never offered is People Skills 101, a necessary element on your Life Palette. Having great people skills begins with understanding that the primary interest of everyone is, well, themselves. Talking to someone about the thing they are interested in the most will take your people skills to a new level. A few years ago my wife Kathy and I were at a gathering of extended family, most of whom we really didn’t know all that well. Throughout the evening, we simply asked everyone we met a few questions about their lives and each shared very willingly. After the event, we talked about how much we’d learned about everyone, from their jobs and families to their best and worst life experiences. Then Kathy asked me something that made us realize the importance of developing people skills. “Did anyone ask you anything about your life?” I thought for a moment and realized that not one person had asked a single question about me. She said the same was true of her. We knew a lot about them, but they knew nothing about us.
Learn To Ask Questions
While we are introverts and perfectly fine not talking about ourselves, we were amazed at how, with a few simple questions, people who didn’t know us (or even try to get to know us) were willing to share so much about their lives. Why? We asked them about their primary interest in life: themselves. As you learn to do this, people will be drawn to you, and you will be able to develop relationships on your Life Palette that God will use to paint your masterpiece.
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