Listen to people. Skill #1 on this list and for a big reason. Most of the people are not listening, but rather trying to be the loudest person in the room. If you ask questions and listen, you are extremely likely to stand out from the crowd.

Be interested in people’s stories. We are all a bit egocentric and we tend to LOVE people who are interested in our stories. Interested people are interesting. Ask people questions. Try to learn something you did not know before from your interlocutor.

Do you function better in 1-on-1 conversations or in a large crowd? This is an important distinction and knowing how you function best will help you create the best environment for your social skills to shine. I love connecting with people 1 on 1, and that’s how I always have deeper conversations and make a better impression. Hint: go with your gut feeling. Which types of interactions feel better? How did you make more friends? Which conversations do you remember as more pleasant? 

Don’t be too negative or ironic and don’t complain all the time. All of these behaviors are people repellent. We are consistently bombarded with fear, negativity, and generally the worst of humanity (just turn on the news). That’s why we gravitate towards people who are kind, loving, cheerful, and funny, rather than to those who b!tch all the time. Giving negativity to people is like selling the ice to Eskimos. No one wants to buy it.

Remember people’s names. I hear people claiming that they have short memories and cannot possibly remember people’s names all the time. Jim Kwik came up with a terrific hack to prove these folks wrong. He asks: “If I tell you: ‘You will get one thousand dollars for remembering this guy’s name,’ would you remember it?” Sure as hell you would! So it’s not about your brainpower, it’s about motivation. If you want to remember, you can remember. Ask people to repeat their names. If it’s hard, ask them to spell it for you. Repeat after them. If you forget, ask someone else from the group, “Hey, what was the name of the guy in red shirt? I forgot.” Do whatever you have to do to remember. And then call people by their names. People love that.

Remember people’s stories. The whole point of listening is to remember what people tell you. And it can be a great foundation to follow up (see idea #8), spark new conversations, or start/strengthen the casual friendship. Remember the names of people’s family members, pets, hobbies, details about the job, a side gig, what are they obsessed with, remember as much as you can. People are absolutely psyched when they realize that you actually listened to them and remembered their story. This is a surefire way to stand out because the majority of people only wait for their own turn to speak. Which reminds me…


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