7 Traits For Effective Social Interactions
As head of the world's largest professional networking site, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner knows better than anyone what companies are looking for in recruiting new talent, and that effective social skills equal job security. According to Weiner, careers involving social interaction and social skills will be most coveted and secure in our automated future. "As powerful as AI will ultimately become and is becoming, we're still a ways away from computers being able to replicate and replace human interaction and human touch. So there's a wonderful incentive for people to develop these skills because those jobs are going to be more stable for a longer period of time," says Weiner.
Among the most valuable social skills is the gift of persuasion. Carmine Gallo, in his book Five Stars: The Communication Secrets to Get from Good to Great, emphasizes, "The ability to convince others that your ideas matter is the single greatest skill that will give you a competitive edge at a time when the combined forces of globalization, automation, and artificial intelligence trigger a wave of anxiety across every profession in every country."
In other words, whether currently employed or a job seeker, you need to master the art of persuasion. In today's job market and that of the future, if you're able to successfully articulate your ideas and set fire to the collective imagination, nothing - not even high-level communication technologies such as AI - will stop you. And even better, nobody will replace you.
Not everyone is born with the ability to make strong connections. That's a gift. But there are certain fundamental, transferable skills that everyone can learn. And it is incumbent on businesses to make them a mandatory part of customer service training. The most basic expression of warmth is both simple and an incredible CX opportunity. It's how to create an emotional connection, yet it is extremely hard to find in the real world today. I'm referring to a smile.
Emotional Health Management: Talk Less, Smile More
Quoting a line from the play Hamilton, "Talk less, smile more," billionaire Richard Branson adds, "If everyone did this the world would be a happier place. Stopping to really listen, pay attention to your companion, and truly hear what they are saying, is all too rare. Often we are too quick to step in and talk over them, especially in the business world."
Analytical skills will always be important, but here is where strong interpersonal skills can make all the difference in both business and personal interactions. When you give the other person room to speak, offering the warmth of a smile and truly listening rather than interrupting or internally focusing on what you'll say next, your connection will have much more meaning. It will also likely reward you with a smile from the person who's truly feeling heard and understood.
Smiling is a necessary first step. But it's only a first step. Let's then go on to teach what kindness looks like - in business, in family, in communities, and in schools. Without the hidden agenda of making a sale or profit, businesses need to ensure that employees know how to care for others. Teach them good communication skills including how to display genuine interest. If you focus on building a relationship instead of a sale, you will end up with more sales. A sale is something that happens while you are immersed in serving others. And the effects will be widespread. Building rapport will not only have an incredible impact on employees and customers but also on your personal life.
7 Traits For Effective Interactions In Any Industry
So, where to begin? In any labor market and across industries, proactive management includes looking for employees predisposed toward a high level of customer service, then offering them the highest level of customer service training. Consider, for example, these seven key traits that lead to effective interactions.
1. Compassion and Empathy
Compassion is the ability to feel for another living being, which results in a desire to help. Having strong empathy for a customer's situation means seeing and understanding it from their perspective (i.e., walking in their shoes), a foundational relationship builder.
2. Engagement and Warmth
An employee with these traits is obviously happy in what they do and welcome to the person for whom they are doing it. They seek eye contact and smile, an ideal combination of physical skills and emotional skills. The employee's friendly, cheerful, and caring attitude immediately puts customers at ease.
3. A Drive to Serve
The employee is purposeful about focusing on the experience of the person they are serving, above anything else.
A crucial job skill, ownership implies acting with the same care and thoughtfulness as an owner of the company and doing whatever it takes to ensure that customers leave happy with their experience.
5. Charitable Assumption
It's important to act as if no customer has bad intentions. After all, you do not want to punish 98 percent of your customers for what you are afraid the remaining two percent might do.
6. Presence and Focus
Effective employees cannot work on autopilot. Instead, they are always fully in the moment, focused 100 percent on the person with whom they are interacting.
7. The Desire to Exceed Expectations
Those with a drive to go above and beyond are constantly looking for ways to surprise and delight customers.
John R. DiJulius III, author of The Customer Service Revolution, is president of The DiJulius Group, a customer service consulting firm that works with companies including Starbucks, Chick-fil-A, Ritz-Carlton, Nestle, PwC, Lexus, and many more. Contact him at 216-839-1430 or email@example.com.
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