Interpersonal Skills

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ICT Competence: Basic

English Language Skills: Intermediate

Action type: Simple actions that can be implemented immediately without requiring an investment

Entrepreneurship is all about networking and sharing and it cannot exist as a one-man show. Therefore, interpersonal skills are just as valuable as personal ones to make a good entrepreneur. However, there are researchers who argue that some entrepreneurs function better by themselves and it is true that the online environment as a business environment allows for indirect relations. Considering these instances, generally, entrepreneurship relies on communication and good people skills.

a) Four essential people skills of an entrepreneur

There are countless lists of people skills to possess as an entrepreneur. However, some four key elements are always taken into account:

1. Empathy - you need to be able to understand a client, a team member or a potential investor if you are going to interact with them in a productive way and if you want to convince, sell and gain trust. Therefore, being empathic is essential when building your network. Try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and anticipate their needs, wishes and concerns in order to deliver the best product, solution, service or business proposal. People need to know that you will answer their wishes, resonate with them, and not get the feeling that they are forced into something they didn’t agree to.

2. Good listener skills - being a good listener also means being an active one, so listen carefully and show people you understand their point of view, even if you don’t agree with them. This will take a little more effort than just hearing what the other person says, but it is worthwhile. Keep in mind that the most important part in learning is listening.

3. Leadership skills - good leadership is what transforms a group of people in a team oriented towards a common goal. It can make or break the entrepreneurial pursuit. The most successful entrepreneurs out there are also the most inspirational people and true leaders. The difference between a boss and a leader is that a leader inspires his team to be dedicated, he shares the success, creates a family like atmosphere and can communicate accurately a vision so that others can understand and adhere to it.

4. Persuasive and inspiring - being persuasive is all about good storytelling, so instead of selling things to people, try to tell the story. In order to act, people need to feel inspired. The secret to persuading people is to tell an effective story with an engaging introduction and a compelling narrative. Closely related to persuasion, inspiration is a step above it. When you persuade someone, all you are doing is convincing them to share your beliefs and ideals. Inspiration, however, means that you are persuading a group of people not just to align their beliefs with yours, but you’re also persuading them to take action based on these beliefs.

b) How to improve your people skills

As with most endeavours, optimising your people skills is a simple task and it will provide you with great feedback in your everyday life, and also in your business relations. The changes you need to make in order to become more sociable are pretty intuitive and you would not guess they have such a significant impact. Simply acknowledging the others and focusing on them rather than always thinking about yourself can modify their reaction to you and the way you feel about yourself.

This next action is elementary, but often overlooked: do not be aggressive in your tone, choice of words, body language and actions, because no one wants to converse with an aggressive person.

Learn positive body language: smile, keep your hands in sight, nod when people speak, point your feet and body directly towards them, since this shows interest and openness; don't cross your arms, don't tap your foot or fingers for a conversation to end, don't gaze into the distance; stay away from your wristwatch and phone.

Learn when to speak and when to actively listen, do not gossip or judge, give compliments you really mean and send out only good vibes.

If you need more help, train your people skills using a short video and learn how to speak so that people will listen.

Positive and Negative Part of the Solution

Positive

Understanding the potential benefits of working on beneficial interpersonal characteristics can have a positive impact on a company.

Negative

Finding out that you do not have those characteristics and not being able to achieve them quickly can be frustrating.

Time required to implement a solution and when possible associated cost

This action requires some hours of study and practice.

Estimated Exploitation

Understanding the benefits can motivate the company members to be successful with their solution implementation.

Informative Text (Sources)

Cravenho, Andrew (2018, May 23). The 6 Critical People Skills Every Entrepreneur Must Have, retrieved from https://www.theselfemployed.com/working-from-home/6-absolutely-critical-people-skills-every-entrepreneur-must/

Hall, John (2016, March 20). 10 Simple Ways To Improve Your People Skills And Build Relationships retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnhall/2016/03/20/10-simple-ways-to-improve-your-people-skills-and-build-relationships/#6e6771c9d518

Hiscox Blog, (2018, July 25). What are successful entrepreneurship characteristics? retrieved from https://www.hiscox.com/blog/10-important-personal-characteristics-entrepreneurs

Jones, Nadia, 3 People Skills to Develop as an Entrepreneur retrieved from http://under30ceo.com/3-people-skills-to-develop-as-an-entrepreneur/

Additional Resources

  1. Entrepreneurial-leadership-characteristics
  2. The importance of interpersonal skills to an entrepreneur
  3. Building relationships with communication

Cross Border remark

Universally valid information.