11 Insights on How to Improve Your People Skills

In every industry, it has proven that the most profitable skills to have, after the required technical skills, are good people skills. Whether you engage in professional networking on a regular basis or are just focused on building a small business, you are still going to need some critical interpersonal skills for building and maintaining significant relationships. Two of my favorite books in this category are Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends And Influence People and Keith Ferrazzi’s Never Eat Alone.

I highly recommend you read both of those books.  Here are eleven insights to help you with you with your social skills. These are an excerpt from the chapter on Relationships in my book The SHARK Belief Success Code.

1. Smile

Sounds simple but most people don’t do it often enough. It’s especially important to smile when you first meet someone or if you want to make yourself approachable. Smiling makes you more attractive to others and you’ll also seem more trustworthy and approachable. Smiling is contagious and others will usually smile back at you so give it a shot.

2. Remember their name

A person’s name (or whatever they like to be called) is the sweetest sound to them and also their favorite word. I’m always impressed when someone remembers my name, especially when I barely know them or when I can’t remember their name. It shows respect and awareness for others when you take the time to remember and use their name which in turn will make you more respected and memorable.

3. Listen

It simple and we’ve all heard it before, but when someone else is talking, just listen. Resist the urge to cut them off and jump in with your comments. Rather, actively listen to what they are saying and paying attention to the conversation will make you an excellent conversationalist even if you don’t say much!

4. Compliment and Praise Others

Make it a habit of pointing out and saying good things about other people. Recognize other’s strengths or attractive attributes and point them out. If someone has a new car, compliment them on it. If you notice some has a new haircut, point it out and make them feel special. However, people don’t appreciate flattery and false praise, so make sure you’re genuine and sincere when complimenting others.

5. Focus on the other person

Speak about what they are interested in. Ask questions and show a genuine interest in others. The majority of people like to talk about themselves and their interests more than anything else. If you give them this opportunity, they will enjoy talking with and being around you. They easiest ways to do this is by asking them questions.

6. Gratitude

Show sincere appreciation for others. This is especially important as a leader or influencer. I’m always amazed by how powerful a simple thank you note or phone call can be. If you’re mindful of others and show a genuine appreciation, you will be amazed at how much others will be willing to do for you. Also, wouldn’t you rather be around someone that shows sincere gratitude for the things in their life over someone that is constantly complaining?

7. Be Agreeable

You know those people that like to argue with everyone and contradict ideas or point out flaws? They always have to be right and make it a point to prove others wrong. Don’t be that person! When having a conversation, it’s okay to be agreeable and let others have their way from time to time. Sometimes, you just have to go with the flow.

8. Try to see things from their point of view

Let’s face it, not everyone is going to agree with your or share your opinion. During times of difference, do your best to see things from their point of view before jumping to conclusions. You may gain a new perspective or insight as to why some people see things a certain way which will make you an even better people person.

9. Allow others to save face after making a mistake

Never criticize someone in public or in front others. There will be times when you’re offended or when people fail and let you down. Let others save face and dignity by keeping your critique or dissatisfaction a private matter between you two. Berating someone in front of their friends or coworkers will almost always gain you a permanent adversary. People find it hard to forgive when they’ve been publicly humiliated.

10. Use Humor

Don’t be so serious all the time. People like to laugh and have fun, so learn when to crack a joke or even make fun of yourself. It shouldn’t be excessive but it will certainly make you more enjoyable to be around if you remember to keep things light from time to time.

Added Bonus!

I shouldn’t have to say this but unfortunately, it is a huge reason some people struggle when interacting with others so it must be said. Be mindful of your own personal hygiene and appearance. Simple things like body odor or bad breath can be a huge turn-off and a distraction to others. Beyond just smells and appearance, make yourself easy to be around. I’m not saying to not be your authentic self, but simple things like showing good manners, wearing clean and presentable clothes and personal etiquette play a huge role in likability. It’s all about being self-aware and mindful of how others perceive you.

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This Is What A Successful Person Looks Like



If I were to ask you to close your eyes and imagine a successful person, what is the first image that comes to your mind? Most people will describe images of a good-looking person wearing expensive clothes, driving a nice car and having achieved wealth, fame and power. Perhaps they came from rich families and went to Ivy League schools after having been raised by loving parents in upper-middle class suburbia. Most people would probably describe a successful person in such a way because the world tends to define success based on money and material possessions. That’s understandable and there is nothing wrong with being wealthy but money isn’t the only measure. We might also agree with the description above because that is how a successful person is typically portrayed in the media and is similar to what people call the American Dream. We’ve been conditioned to think of successful people this way.

The truth is that there is no standard description of what a successful person looks like.  That’s because success is not defined by what you wear or drive and it’s certainly not dependent on where you grew up or who your parents were.  If I took you to an airport and asked you to pick out the successful from the unsuccessful, you wouldn’t be able to do it.  Success doesn’t care what you look like, whether you’re male or female or even about the color of your skin.  Success doesn’t care what neighborhood you grew up in or how popular you were in school.  There is no success gene and people are not born with a pre-disposed ability to become successful or wealthy.  Rather, people achieve success because of who they are and who they have become.

“It’s not about your looks or your past but is instead about your personal characteristics.”

This is what a successful person looks like:

A successful person keeps goals and a to-do list while the unsuccessful person is easily distracted and unfocused. A successful person talks about their ideas and shares useful information with others, while the unsuccessful person likes to talk about other people and regular shares criticism. A successful person makes time for personal development by reading books and listening to audio that will help them grow as an individual, while the unsuccessful person prefers to watch a lot of TV and spend hours playing video games. The successful person is not afraid to fail and always learns from their mistakes rather than blaming others for their failures. The successful person wants others to succeed and compliments others rather than feeling threatened by someone else’s success. A successful person seeks to build positive relationships with others and learns from those that have gone before them rather than trying to look like they know it all. A successful person is confident enough to show real humility and gratitude instead of trying to come across as successful and as better than everyone else. A successful person hustles and works hard at developing new skills and good habits.  They have patience and they persist because they understand that success doesn’t come easy so they are willing to put in the time necessary to achieve results.  The successful person takes action, makes progress and makes things happen.

Success, you see, is not about what a person looks like but rather it’s about who that person is.

It’s about what they do rather than what they own. The thing that separates the successful and the unsuccessful is what takes place inside their head and it’s not based on genetics or the neighborhood they grew up in. I’m fully aware that some cities and schools do more to help kids become successful than others and that poverty, drugs and violence are very real issues. I myself grew up in such an environment and saw more than my fair share of these things. But I have also realized, that in spite of all these external things, anyone can achieve success if they want it bad enough and are willing to do the things necessary to transform who they are.

Success is not easy, but it’s possible!  Quit making excuses.

Words of wisdom from Gary Vaynerchuk on the myth of overnight success.

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How To Take The First Step Toward Your Goal

Dorothy heels yellow brick road


Ever wish you could work your dream job?  Dream of pursuing your passional with 100% focus and energy?  Many people want to follow their passion but are often afraid to do it or don’t know where to start.   The fear of failure or lack of knowledge can be big obstacles that hold us back. We would all pursue our dreams if we knew beforehand that we would be successful doing it.  Most often, we have limiting beliefs such as:  “It probably won’t work”, “I could never do it”, “I don’t know where to start”.

Here are a couple of simple tips using key SHARK Belief elements to help you get started:

Tip # 1 – Determine Exactly What You Want

Decide what it is you would like to be doing and what that looks like.  How would you like to be living your life or what do you want to accomplish?  It sounds obvious but this is a step often skipped over by those pursuing success.  This is all about having an Aim and knowing what your actions are for.  The first step is to set your focus and begin directing your thoughts and energy to one thing.  You don’t turn this into a big project so just describe it to yourself or someone you trust in simple terms.  How will you know when you’ve been successful?  If you don’t know where you’re going, you will end up some place else.

Tip # 2 – Connect With Others

Get out and meet people who are already doing what you want to be doing and who are also making money from it. Spend time with them, observe them and learn from them.  The best way to get started is to connect with other like-minded individuals.

Several things will happen: By meeting with them you’ll find out how they got to where they are and your knowledge of how to do it yourself will go up.  Additionally, by seeing others do what you want to do will change your beliefs and you will have more confidence that you can do it too.

By following these two simple tips, you see chain reaction that will propel you to take further action.  We have a tendency of overcomplicating things and in our pursuit of success, it’s easy to fall into the trap of paralysis by analysis.  The only cure for this is to take action.  The doubts will begin to go away and the sky will start to clear the moment you begin to pursue your dreams.

lao Tzu journey quote


SHARK Belief is simple, but not always easy

This methodology will help you break it down and simplify your path your path to success.  In the two tips above, you can quickly see several of the SHARK Belief elements at work: Aim, Relationships, Knowledge and Beliefs.  It’s amazing how they work even better when you combine them.

To reach your goals and dreams, you have to know how to do it (or how to start) and you also have to believe that you can get there.  If you don’t know where to start or believe that you can do it, you’ll never take the first step.  Follow the tips above to get you started or to get you back on track in pursuit of your dreams.

dont die wondering quote


SHARK Belief Your Life!

3 Reasons Why WHO You Know Really Matters



It’s staggering to think you are one of seven billion people alive today! Even more incredible is that you are a unique individual and there has never been nor ever will be anyone just like you. You have a unique combination of experiences, ambitions and social networks which ultimately form your life.

It makes no difference if you are a power broker with thousands of connections or whether you prefer to keep small, tight-knit social circles, one thing is certain: Who you know will have a profound influence on your life, your experiences and ultimately, your successes.

We’ve all heard “it’s who you know” that matters, but here are three compelling reasons why it matters:

1.  Your Connections Create Your World

How you interact with your network of friends and family, coworkers, mentors, teammates and even competitors will ultimately be a reflection of who you are or who you will become. Your interactions will create your environment and life’s experiences. The old saying “it’s not what you know but who you know” bears a lot of truth.

Imagine if Steve Jobs had never met Steve Wozniak.  What if Sergey Brin and Larry Page had decided NOT to work together on indexing the world’s information?  Apple and Google could not have changed the world.  These are extreme examples but the point is the same. Who we connect with and the relationships we cultivate will ultimately shapes our experiences and create the world we live in.


“You are the average of the five people you associate with most, so do not underestimate the effects of your pessimistic, unambitious, or disorganized friends. If someone isn’t making you stronger, they’re making you weaker.”

– Tim Ferris

2.  Your Relationships Influence Your Thinking

Success begins in the mind and if your thoughts are negatively influenced, then you will be fighting an uphill battle.  If your three closest friends are always depressed, broke and angry, then guess what?  You’ll be the fourth.  If your three closest friends are driven, optimistic and successful, then guess what?  You’ll be the fourth.

In all of our relationships, we are either being influenced or we are influencing others.  With this in mind,  you should guard your thoughts  from negative opinions and toxic emotions.  This means you may have to stop associating with certain people.

Seek out and connect with the ambitious, optimistic and success-minded.  Associate with those pursuing similar goals.  Regardless of the goal you’ve set for yourself, there are some key relationships everyone should have to maximize successful thinking.  Read more about Mentors, coaches and mastermind groups.


steve jobs think different

3.  Your Network Influences Your Degree of Success

The successful understand the value of relationships and are strategic about networking and leveraging their contacts to reach their goals.  They almost always have advisors and mentors on their side.  They seek out those that have achieved the level of success they want and learn from them. The successful know they cannot do it all by themselves and collaborate with others to share ideas, motivate each other & find solutions.

Align yourself with those pursuing a similar goal to increase your chances of success.  Connect with those that have already achieved what you’re after and learn from them.

Apart from your mindset, nothing will have more of an impact on your success and happiness than the quality and quantity of your relationships.  Make new connections regularly, seek out positive and like-minded individuals, keep an open mind towards those different from yourself and always remember that in life, relationships are everything.


” The average person wants to meet a millionaire to tell their friends; millionaires want to associate with billionaires to learn how they think.”

– Steve Siebold

4 Must Have Relationships for Success

DATE TAKEN: 6/10/98---Michael Jordan holds the MVP trophy and coach Phil Jackson holds the championship trophy after the Bulls beat the Jazz to win their 6th NBA title. ORG XMIT: WA254

DATE TAKEN: 6/10/98—Michael Jordan holds the MVP trophy and coach Phil Jackson holds the championship trophy after the Bulls beat the Jazz to win their 6th NBA title. ORG XMIT: WA254


No matter how good you are now or how good you want to be, everyone needs to have these 4 relationships to reach their full potential.  It is well known that successful people have a habit of surrounding themselves with others that are smarter, stronger, wiser, and more experienced than themselves.

1.  Mentor

Someone who’s been there before. Someone that has already achieved success and could share a little wisdom with you. You can have more than one mentor, but you must respect their time and let them do most of the talking. Even 5 minutes a week with the super-successful could be enough to change your life.

How to get a mentor? First identify a few potential candidates and find a way to contact them. Start small by asking a simple question or seeking advice on something. Ask for a follow up meeting/call and let it grow from there. Mentor relationships flow naturally and should not feel like an obligation for either side.

“There is no lack of KNOWLEDGE out there…

Just a shortage of asking for HELP.”

2.  Coach

A coach is different from a mentor in the sense that they don’t necessarily have to have the level of success or skill you want to achieve. However, the right coach will have the right tools and technique to get the most out of you, they will keep you accountable, ask you hard questions and make sure you are progressing.

A good coach will help you discover hidden strengths you didn’t know you had as well as point out limiting beliefs and developmental areas. Whether you are running a solo marathon, writing a book or starting the next Google, you will need a coach of some kind.  Like a personal training, most coaches are professionals so you may need to hire someone.   A mentor and coach can sometimes be the same person, but don’t have to be.

3.  Master Mind Group

Author Napoleon Hill first coined the term Master Mind and wrote extensively on the importance of working with others on your quest for success.

Find a group of like-minded individuals, a club, a support group or a MeetUp group. This could be your council or board of directors. Connect with these individuals regularly and share ideas, help each other stay motivated, solve problems, and even work together towards a common goal.

Diversity is good in a mastermind group and should have some varying levels of experience, skills & background.  It’s important that the group have a common purpose bringing everyone together. This is great way to make new friends and share your journey towards that goal.


Nap Hill Quote


4.  Mentee

There should always be someone else that you are helping.  Share your knowledge, help and give without expecting anything in return. It’s a part of life that what we give we often receive in return.

I have also found that one of the most effective ways to learn something is to try to teach it to someone else.  Start where you are at, with what you know, and share your experiences and knowledge with someone this is not as far along.  It could be as simple as recommending a book you enjoyed, making an introduction or sharing some inspiration with them.  Even sharing some lessons learned from a recent struggle or failure.


Remember, we ultimately will become like those we associate with so choose wisely.  Be deliberate on seeking out and connecting with others that will help you reach your full potential.

help mountain climbing