Book: The Art of People

theartofpeopleHere are my notes on “The Art of People” by Dave Kerpen.

  • “1. Write down the names of three people in your life whom you’re struggling to get.
    2. Commit to asking one to have coffee with you after you finish this chapter.
    3. Walk into the coffee meeting determined to get this person (even if you still don’t like her).”
  • “What is the most exciting thing you’re working on right now?”
  • “If you had enough money to retire, what would you be doing today?”
  • “What is your favorite charity organization to support and why?”
  • “What is the most exciting thing in your professional life right now?”
  • “What is the most exciting thing in your personal life right now?”
  • “What’s one thing you would like to be doing or would like to have five years from now?”
  • “If you weren’t doing what you do today, what would you be doing and why?”
  • “Other than a member of your family, tell me about your role model.”
  • “Who’s been the most important influence on you?”
  • “How would your favorite teacher describe you?”
  • “If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be and why?”
  • “Once you can tap into people’s desire to talk about themselves and feel listened to, you’ll be able to build more rapport with and eventually influence everyone you know and meet.”
  • “1. On a plane or train ride, practice turning to a stranger and asking questions and actually listening to the answers without jumping in and saying something about yourself.
    2. Spend at least one conversation at work or at home focusing 90 percent or more on asking genuine questions and listening versus talking. Prepare your audience ahead of time if that makes you feel more comfortable. Afterward, note your experience and ask your conversation partner or partners about their experience.”
  • “1. Write down a list of three to five possible accessories, colors, and/or items you can adopt as your signature stand-out style.
    2. Ask three people you know and trust about your list. Which do they think is the most winning style?
    3. Purchase the item or items necessary to create your signature style and begin rocking the new look at the next event you attend.”
  • “advisory boards can be totally informal and can be anything we want them to be for any purpose we choose.”
  • “The most important things to keep in mind in creating and maintaining a successful advisory board are to choose your advisers carefully and to build and keep a solid structure for the meetings.”
  • “The key is to find and recruit smart, experienced people in whatever area you’d like to focus on.”
  • “1. Write down two or three goals for what an advisory board could help you with over time.
    2. Brainstorm a list of seven to eleven people who could serve on your advisory board and help you with those goals. At least half of them should be people you’ve met, and at least two should be people you’ve never met but could perhaps meet through connections.
    3. Determine your preferred meeting format, structure, frequency, and location as well as the compensation you plan to offer, if any.
    4. Start contacting people and invite them to be on your advisory board.”
  • “the truth is that every minute spent with a toxic friend, partner, or employee or with any other toxic person in your life is a minute you’ll never get back and that you could better spend without that person.”
  • “1. Recall two or three people who are no longer in your life whom you perhaps hired too quickly and kept in your life too long. Write down how long you stayed past the point where you knew in your heart you should cut the cord.
    2. Evaluate your current employees, partners, and relationships. Are there any people you’ve met who you know in your gut are not right for you or your organization? If so, begin to make a plan now to fire them as needed.
    3. As you think about people you meet, always remember the motto ‘hire slow, fire fast.’ Take your time letting them into your inner circle, but don’t be afraid to toss them out the second it stops feeling right.”
  • “listening is clearly more than just hearing. It is the act of consciously paying attention to someone else in an attempt to understand, to consider. It is the process of thinking about what is important to someone else rather than what may be important to you.”
  • “Practice the Achiever Listening position. Have a conversation with someone during which you are distinctly focused on achieving optimal understanding. Don’t think about what you are going to say next or do next. Just focus solely on what she is saying.”
  • “1. Practice reading people’s body language. Have a conversation with a close friend or family member during which you are distinctly focused on achieving optimal understanding by observing that person’s body language. Note her facial expressions, movements, gestures, and so on, and try to guess what they communicate about her thoughts and intentions.
    2. After the conversation, circle back and share your observations and ask the person whether your assumptions were correct. Check to see how well you read that person.”
  • “If you’re offered coffee and you don’t drink coffee, politely ask for water instead. This very simple act will make the person you’re meeting with feel like a good host, put him at ease, and prime you to be able to read him well and exert influence as needed.”
  • “First, if you’re not offered a beverage, don’t ask for one; that could easily have the opposite effect, making the other person feel bad that she doesn’t have anything to offer. Second, when food is offered, unless you’re actually having a lunch meeting, it’s best to decline politely. Food is simply too distracting when you want to be at your best.”
  • “in the game of life, bluffing is simply too risky. On the upside, bluffing can help you persuade people to work for you for less (or more) than you want, or pay more money for something you have to offer, or help you achieve another goal. I could have given in to Charlie’s bluff, for instance, and he could have saved a few bucks. But on the downside, bluffing erodes trust.”
  • “how he acts when not under pressure. Then, as the conversation gets deeper and the moment of truth arrives (‘So, are you able to move forward now at this price?’), look for shifts in appearance or tone as he’s talking.”
  • “Mirroring, we were told, means repeating back exactly something that someone else in the forum said, word for word, preceded by ‘I hear you saying’ or ‘I heard you say.'”
  • “You have to actually care about what you’re mirroring.”
  • “mirroring feelings is much more valuable than mirroring thoughts.”
  • “Never use the word but after a mirroring statement.”
  • “The idea is to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and, in addition to repeating back exactly what she has said, say something to suggest you understand how she probably is feeling.”
  • “validation is not agreement; it’s not giving in, giving up, or admitting you’re wrong. It’s just showing the other person that you understand where she’s coming from and genuinely care.”
  • “When you reveal personal information, you instantly become personable.”
  • “Do unto others as you would want done to you. It’s a splendid concept except for one thing: Everyone is different, and the truth is that in many cases what you’d want done to you is different from what your partner, employee, customer, investor, wife, or child would want done to him or her.”
  • “Do unto others as they would want done to them.”
  • “1. Never say, “I have an idea” (or “I have a great idea” or any kind of idea) despite my lucky success in this case. Take the pronoun out of the equation.
    2. Instead, paint a picture of the broad brushstrokes of your idea or the results of that idea. Let the person you’re trying to influence color within the lines and visualize the rest herself.
    3. Alternatively, paint a picture of the converse of your idea. What are the negative implications of not embracing it? In this situation, the other person will envision the downside of not adopting your idea and then come up with a solution to prevent it from happening.
    4. When the other person says anything close to your idea, fully embrace it and enthusiastically praise her for her idea.
    5. If what she’s proposing is not quite what you want, subtly suggest additions or deletions to her idea, reminding her along the way that she has such a great idea and this might make it even better.”
  • “1. Listening allows you to understand the person you want to influence so that you can tap into his unique goals, dreams, needs, and wants.
    2. Listening gives the other person an opportunity to feel heard, which often leads to feeling appreciated and respected and even liked or loved. It is much easier to influence someone who’s feeling this way.
    3. Listening gives you an opportunity to think. We can listen three times faster than we can talk, and so listening gives us extra time to think, prepare, and reframe what we want on the basis of what we’re hearing.
    4. Listening, along with mirroring and validation, helps lonely people feel connected and great. This is even more contagious and powerful than feeling great around a positive, high-energy talker.
    5. Listening increases the chances that the other person will talk about her pain or her organization’s pain, that is, the problem that you can try to solve.”
  • “Walk with confidence.
    My wife and I call it WWC for short. What WWC means is that you walk into a room as if you belong. Make eye contact. Nod your head. Say hello with enthusiasm. When you look the part and act the part, suddenly you are the part.”
  • “WWC into every event you go to and every meeting you walk into and you’ll be more likely to walk out a winner. Walking with confidence will help you influence gatekeepers whether they’re security guards at award shows or receptionists at offices. Tell yourself you don’t belong and you won’t. Tell yourself you totally belong and you will.”
  • “Dream up something big that you want from someone, even if you think he’ll never say yes to the idea. Ask for it. What’s the worst that could happen?”
  • “arguing usually just helps the other person solidify his opposition to you. In contrast, it’s much easier to state your case and then change your own mindset—to choose happiness—and let the other party sit with the situation until she comes around to your position on her own.”
  • “Think like your manager and you will reap the benefits of getting your way when you need it most.”
  • “Be unafraid but as authentic (noncontrived) as possible in sharing accomplishments on social media.”
  • “Heap lots of authentic praise on others via social media as well.”
  • “Take a look at your last twenty social media updates and do a quick audit. How much are you promoting yourself versus promoting others? Ideally, you want to strike a balance of no more than 30 percent promoting yourself and at least 70 percent promoting others.”
  • “to understand your strengths and then use them to teach others. Furthermore, the idea was to help others identify their strengths and teach and manage to those strengths as well.”
  • “It’s not my job to teach you. It’s your job to learn. I’m just here to coach you along the way,”
  • “Instead of embracing the manager or teacher title, embrace the title of coach. Good coaches are cheerleaders while still teaching. Coaches are there to help us win, to help us succeed, and to be supportive. These are the traits that not only will make everyone happier but will help you teach and manage better, as well.”
  • “But the good coaches don’t do that. They’re more like Doc: supportive but holding their players accountable. Good coaches embrace teaching when necessary but also embrace hand-holding when necessary. Good coaches are there with the players from start to finish, and the players succeed as a result.”
  • “Starting today, we’ll each have a goal accountability partner. You are to check in with your partner at least once a week. First up, reassess all goals together and make sure they’re SMART goals (simple, measureable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound). Then, instead of you updating the group at our monthly meeting with your progress, your partner will update the group on how well you’re doing and you will update the group on how well your partner is doing.”
  • “three things on which great leaders have to focus:
    1. Setting and communicating the overall vision for your team
    2. Making sure you have the right people in the right seats on the team
    3. Making sure you have enough resources and money to help the team succeed”
  • “1. Write down five things that are fantastic about your life and five things you can imagine for your team and/or family.
    2. The next time someone asks you how you’re doing, consider answering, “I’m fantastic!” Note how the other person responds when you say that.
    3. The next time you address your team, consider using the word imagine to paint a picture of what might be. Note your team’s reaction to that word.”
  • “1. Make a list of the people on your team and possible leadership roles for each one. Think of creative ways to describe their leadership roles.
    2. Assign new leadership roles for the people on your team. If it’s feasible, consider new titles for people as well.
    3. As you grow in your own role as a leader, consider the ways in which everyone wants to be a leader and give everyone a chance to be one.”
  • “The solution to a conflict you simply cannot control is letting go: of control, of the outcome, of everything.”
  • “Sometimes you can resolve conflicts with people easily. Sometimes it takes work, but through time and effort, through listening and mirroring and validation—along with a dose of patience—you can get to a good place with someone. But sometimes conflicts simply can’t be solved. In those instances, the best way, really the only way, to resolve a conflict with another person is to decide to let go. Resolve to surrender what you can’t control and to control what you always can: taking great care of your mind, body, and heart.”
  • “1. The person who’s upset at the other person requests an appointment to discuss it and offers a few possible times to talk. Importantly, none of those times is ‘right now.’ This way, it gives that person some time and space to prepare.
    2. When it’s time for the appointment, the two people get together in a quiet, safe place, and the offending party agrees to put on a bulletproof vest. In other words, he agrees to not be offended or get defensive about what the other person is saying. Instead, he agrees to focus on listening and understanding.
    3. The person who’s upset describes the problem in its entirety and how it’s making her feel.
    4. The other person mirrors and validates everything his partner is saying, not trying to solve or defend or do anything but listen, mirror, and validate.”
  • “5. The offending party offers a genuine, authentic ‘I’m sorry.’
    6. When both parties agree that the offended party feels heard and understood, that person shares three possible positive solutions to the problem. The offending party agrees to at least one of the solutions.
    7. Finally and perhaps most important, both people celebrate the successful resolution of the conflict by engaging in physical activity together. Sure, that could mean going for a jog, but if that physical activity happens to be intimate, it’s even better!”
  • “It’s all about them, not you. Inspiring your audience is all about helping them see their own vision, not yours.”
  • “it’s essential that you paint a picture of what your audience’s life looks like now and what they want it to look like in the future. Even more important, it’s essential to show how whatever you’re selling—whether it’s a product, idea, message, or pure inspiration—fits in with their vision of a better future.”
  • “A random act of kindness is an instant cure for any bad mood.”
  • “You can do anything that takes you out of yourself and, if only for a moment, focuses your time and attention completely on someone needier than you in one way or another. This is at once both a selfless act and a selfish one, because no matter what, you’ll feel better after being kind. Then you’ll be more prepared to be the best leader you can be and take on the world and its challenges.”
  • “Instead of telling kids to quiet down or yelling or complaining at the ones who weren’t listening or following directions, I singled out with praise the children who were following directions well (“I like the way Amy is sitting at her desk ready to learn!”). Incredibly, this method nearly always worked.”
  • “by surprising and delighting some people at random and unexpected times, you get everyone thinking that she could be the recipient of that special something—whether it’s a small cash bonus, a few extra vacation days, or an office holiday named in her honor—the next time.”
  • “1. Make a list of five creative ways you can surprise your employees, colleagues, clients, or family.
    2. Experiment with creative ways to offer those surprises, and delight your people either directly because of something awesome they’ve done or, better yet, “just because.”
    3. Try to surprise and delight people every day, even in little ways: Praise, kind words, and the little things often go as far as the big things.”
  • “You know, the ultimate paradox is that the secret to getting everything you want at work and in life is treating people well, not trying to get everything you want. Meet the right people, listen well, connect and inspire them, and they’ll want to give you everything that you want. They’ll want to do this so badly, you won’t even need to ask!”
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