People Smart Book Review

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Despite the fact, the business world is increasingly becoming global where most of the work is being automated while reducing the manpower requirements, still we have to stay in the people business as we deal with or work with the people all the time. One by following this eminently practical guide will be able to be smarter enough to succeed in the present business world where soft skills are high in demand.

The authors of “PeopleSmart”, Mel Silberman and professor and coordinator of the Adult and Organizational Development Program have outlined the eight essential skills of becoming peoplesmart and developing interpersonal intelligence and provided a plan for becoming more effective in every relationship such as personal, professional and social relationships-with managers, colleagues, a spouse, family and friends.

This book basically works as a step-by-step guide showing people how to develop the eight key skills of interpersonal intelligence: understanding people, expressing oneself clearly, asserting needs, exchanging feedback, influencing others, resolving conflict, being a team player and shifting gears. The five step plan  for self-improvement presented in the book reflects a it and  realistic approach to see the current depth of each skill in ourselves and help us learn more about, develop it, and inspire u to live it daily.

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In fact, the book has been divided into three sections. In the very first section, the authors highlight the importance of becoming people smart and its meaning. In the second part of the book, the authors outline the eight people smart skills and last section of the book provides a detailed plan for developing these skills in order to develop interpersonal intelligence. This section has named as “Putting It All Together” providing exercises and actions plans as well as an eight-week plan to put these skill to use.

Apart from the first chapter that provides a self evaluation test to find out your smart skills and highlighting the meaning and importance of people smart skills, next eight chapters are devoted to each of the eight people smart skills.  A short description of these skills is as follows:

  1. Understanding  People:

The first skill that authors thinks important for emerging as interpersonally intelligent is having sound understanding of others. Because sound people understanding enables use to communicate more effectively, influence others and do and resolve conflicts in a healthy manner. Moreover, you are appreciated and praised when you have better understanding of others.  This skill can be developed by three ways such as listening and observing, clarifying meaning by asking open-ended questions and interpreting behavior by evaluating their goals, assessing their personal styles and recognizing their differences.

  • Expressing yourself clearly:

In order to be people smart, one must know how to get one’s message across. Most of the relationships are developed by clearly expressing yourself. Whether it is personal or business relation, if you are able to clearly express your view point, you would be able to get the desired results. As clear expression create sound understanding and help you in building rapport with the others in every arena.

  • Asserting Needs:

The author has suggested that one can be people smart by being one’s own person as limits established by oneself define one. You will be disappointed if you try to be all things to all people. Hence being straightforward with your wishes creates better relationships with others. It has also been observed that expectations from others often lead to disappointment and frustration which ultimately force you to loose control and become angry at other. So people would respect you if you are forthright and straightforward with them.

  • Exchanging Feedback

If one is able to give and receive feedback easily, one can develop into a people smart person. Because once you exchange feedback without any fear, you are encouraged and you feel invigorated and enlightened. However, it is essential to give descriptive and concrete feedback that is intended to be helpful.

  • Influencing Others

Being people smart person means having strong ability to influence others to action. According to the authors, you can be in a more in leading position to motivate others, if you develop yourself into a person who can better connect with others, understand their needs and link them to what you are offering to them. You must also be persuasive person who can reduce resistance to change. And if you are able to influence others, you will achieve the leading position that is valued.

  • Resolving Conflict

You can be a people smart person if you can resolve conflicts effectively. In this way others will start have trust on you because you don’t bruise their egos or make them enemies. To be an effective conflict resolver, you will have to create a climate of mutual trust, put the real issues or problem on the table and negotiate win-win solutions.

  • Being A team Player

Sometimes it seems a challenging job to develop into a better team player that is an essential skill to be interpersonally intelligent. There are various situations where we are involved in  some kind of teamwork such as at work, with another parent, in a neighborhood group or in a service organization. It is challenging because your control on outcomes is less than that you might have in one-to-one relationship. However, if you succeed in developing a better team player, you will be able to better collaborate with teammates and you will be prized.

  • Shifting Gears.

If you are flexible and resilient, then you can be interpersonally adept and intelligent. When you use different ways of dealing with different people according to their personalities and capacities, you build strong relationships which are renewed.

The four-step Process:

In the end, the author has proposed a four-step process- want it, learn it, try it and live it. As people smart skills can be developed by merely osmosis, hence this process enables you to bring desired changes in you interpersonal effectiveness.  Through this interpersonal fitness plan, you can develop better listening, observing body language, and interpreting behaviors. This plan also enables you to communicate clearly, speak up about their needs, motivate others to action and encourage others to give helpful feedback. Moreover, you give helpful and descriptive feedback while work out creative resolutions to handle disputes and conflicts and build consensus changing old and ineffective patterns and manners.

In short, PeopleSmart presents creative exercises, examples and tools that help us strengthen our interpersonal intelligence skills and improve all our relationships in a fun and dynamic way. In addition, with the help of these proven methods, each of us can be able to establish sound relationships with others.


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