Cars today are great – they have a dashboard light for everything. The car tells you when you need oil when your washer fluid is low, what tire is low on air, and even if you do or do not have a passenger next to you.
The idea of a “tune-up” is a good one. It means that nothing is necessarily wrong, but is trending in a direction that you would rather it not. Isn’t this what the dentist teeth cleaning is all about, isn’t this why people get their chimney inspected, or even a window cleaning?
I need lots of tune-ups. I wish they had a “people skills” tune-up shop. You could go in for an hour, answer a bunch of questions, get worked-on, and walk out with a fresh new perspective.
Today’s post, is a “tune-up” and it will come via some people who I look to who have GREAT people skills. I will highlight a few and you can do what I do and get inspired by their skill WITH PEOPLE.
- People Skill Tune-Up #1: FACE TO FACE WINS. I am always impressed when people are what I call “face to facers.” It is inspiring. I think that this is the best way to go, and yet, I do not always go this way. Some people are so natural at stopping a conversation on the phone, text, or email and saying, “Let’s just meet.” One of my cohorts is great about this — Angel Ruiz. He has been in Young Life for just over 5 years in a variety of roles – mostly Field Ministry Vice President. I will never forget the first time he called and said, “I would love to fly down and have breakfast with you and meet face to face.” In many ways, that very first meeting, defined it our relationship to this day.
- People Skill Tune-Up #2: NOTES DULY NOTED. Father Rock is the ultimate at sending notes, but then again, so is Brent Cunningham. Notes rule. I don’t do enough, but I do my fair share. As you can see above, people keep notes. It is from one person to another — in one of the more personal ways you can reach-out. Marni carries a basket in her car and as she pulls up to get Charlie she always has 30 minutes. She calls it her, “Note writing time.” Hmmmmm . . . duly noted.
- People Skill Tune-Up #3: MERGING CALLS MITIGATES MAIL Yesterday I was on a call with a person and we were working out some final details. He said, “Let’s merge in Steve so we can finalize all of this without sending more emails.” I thought, this is also more personal. We did just that! It was a great way to get 3 people into “one meeeting” and add the personal touch to details. Just a thought. Thanks Josh Smiley!
- People Skill Tune-Up #4: LETTERHEAD LETTERS MAKE IT LEGIT. Tyler Miller is one of the best at this. In many ways this seems to be a lost art with the new generations that are out there. Sending a letter, typed, on letterhead to make a point, to give a more thoughtful response, to give a recommendation. These days seem to have somewhat disappeared. One people skill that still does have power, since it is seldom used, is a good letter on letterhead. I can tell you this — it catches peoples attention. Tyler has sent me many typed letters with thoughts, tidbits, and articles. Yes, he could have scanned and emailed it. Somehow, the good old letter seemed more legit.
- People Skill Tune-Up #5: ON TIME IS LATE. Alan Smyth is my hero in this: “5 minutes early is late.” He has some great stories about being late and being on time. I just know that you can COUNT on him being on time — I mean early. What do you say to a person when you are two minutes late? What does it say when you are EARLY? This is a basic people skill. And, traffic, cars, kids, meetings, etc. are not an excuse. Really, nothing it. Be on time . . .early.
- People Skill Tune-Up #6: FOLLOW-UP IS KING. What is follow-up? I think it is the things that are dangling out there. “I will send you a copy of that.” “I will get you a copy of that book.” “Let me reach out to them and I will get back to you.” “Yes, I will do that!” “Let’s connect in a month again, this was great.” “I will reach back out to you when I have the info you are looking for.” It seems to me that as I go through my emails, calendar, and text messages I see lots of follow-up that is still in MY COURT. The best example of this for me happened a couple of times via my real estate agent Sam Rasoul. I email him two days ago and he had dropped off what we were talking about 20 minutes later. I gave him one lead on a neighbor and he was there in an hour. No wonder he is a great agent — he knows that follow-up is KING and key!
- People Skill Tune-Up #7: TALE OF THANKLESS. I have many posts on the power of the Thank You. I will just say that this is a HUGE people skill. Marni and I will check in on each other and say, “Did we thank them?” We want to be thankful people. We want others to know we are grateful. In the non-profit world we SURELY want to thank our partners. My friend Terry I don’t think has ever received something from me that he did not immediately send me a note. The man just is disciplined on the art of his “Thank you’s.” The tale of thankless is that it is out there . . . the stories of people saying, “Yeah, well I never heard a word.” I can use a tune-up in Thank You’s. How about you?
There you go! Happy Friday. Hope the “tune-up” is good for you. I did notice that Marni’s car engine light went on this morning . . . time for a tune-up. Isn’t that the most!