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How to be a people person in four simple steps

Better Living: How to become a social person Getty Images

Calm people down (Image: Getty Images/Metro.co.uk)

It must be nice to be a natural “human being”.

You know, the kind of person who glides through social interactions with ease, nails conversations, and gets along with just about anyone who crosses their path.

We tend to think that one is just born to be a social person and that the rest of us are doomed to be awkward for all eternity.

But that’s not true, says Richard Templar, author of the worldwide bestselling series The Rules Of…

Richard thinks that everyone can learn certain skills to make them more likeable and friendly.

“The key is letting people see you like them and it’s all about communication,” he tells Metro.co.uk. “The people you want to emulate use unconscious behaviors to find a bond and empathy with the people they meet.

“And you can engage in the exact same behaviors — you just have to be aware that this is happening.”

So how do we start? Richard suggests four steps to calm people down.

Optimize your body language

“It starts before you open your mouth,” says Richard. “A warm smile, a willing handshake, regular eye contact — these things aren’t difficult and make a big difference.

“You can practice them every time you meet someone and soon they will become a habit for you.

“Think about how you’re sitting and standing (avoid crossing your arms and legs and holding yourself tight and leaning toward more open poses).

“Observe other people doing these things naturally, and look for little mannerisms you might want to incorporate into them.

“I had a friend who would always greet friends by saying their names very warmly as he opened his arms to hug them. It was irresistible.

“You won’t want to copy everything you see, but you’ll recognize the odd gesture that feels like you, so add it when it’s appropriate.”

Be a great listener

Actually listening when people speak is an underappreciated skill.

Richard explains: “Everyone wants to be heard and noticed, and why not?

“Part of that is body language again – look like you’re listening and interested. And make the right noises — “mmm” or “really?” — or smile encouragingly when someone tells a story or discusses something personal.

“Repeat a key word or two so they know you got it.

“And give yourself something to listen to: ask people questions about what they’re telling you or about themselves.

“Not only does it make them feel liked and valued, but it saves you from talking if that’s not your thing.”

Put yourself in their place

“One of the keys to being a ‘people person’ is seeing things from other people’s perspectives,” notes Richard.

“Your co-worker seems pretty unhelpful if he’s never even a few minutes late, but maybe they have a child they need to pick up from school or an elderly mother who relies on them to help them visited at a certain time every day. These are very obvious examples, and sometimes other people’s irritating or startling behavior is a little harder to understand.

“But try to see her perspective (asking can be a good start) and it will give you an understanding that will help you both.”

Be a team player

People will notice if you just take care of yourself. So… don’t do that.

“Everyone likes team players and things run smoother when everyone pulls together,” says Richard. “Whether it’s work, family or friends, you can consciously practice the behavior that helps you.

“The most important thing is to understand that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. So put the team’s goals ahead of your own.

“Encourage other people by telling them when they’ve done well and sharing any successes with them.

“Come on, you may be club treasurer but without the secretary’s good job of getting all the subscriptions you would have nothing to do. So, say that – out loud.

“Share your own triumphs, help others on the team where you can and notice (loudly again) when others are doing well.

“And accept that not all of your ideas will be picked up, but that’s okay – it means someone else can shine too.”

Richard Templar is the author of the worldwide bestselling series The Rules Of…. The Rules Of Everything is published by Pearson at £12.99 and is available from Amazon and all good bookshops.

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