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Apr 19, 2016

Relationships, People Skills, Success, Encouragement, Trust




People skills are so often the differentiator between the talented person who is reasonably successful, and the incredibly successful person who creates buy-­in and commitment from everyone around them. Fortunately, these people skills can be learned, although they must ultimately come from the heart. We’ll discuss that in our Thought of the Day. Then in our interview segment, we’ll be joined by star entrepreneur and bestselling author Dave Kerpen, whose newest book just happens to be titled The Art of People. That and more on today’s show.


Bob's Thought of the Day


  • Success in both business and life is based on roughly 15% technical skill and 85% people skills. (Dale Carnegie mentioned this in his classic How to Win Friends and Influence People.)
  • Technical skills and talent are vital, but will only get you so far. Often, those with great talent and poor people skills are working for those with adequate talent and great people skills.
  • Whether this is “fair” or not, it’s a principle that has stood the test of time. And like any natural law, you can embrace it or you can deny it. What you cannot do is alter it. The person who goes the furthest is the one who can not only get along with others, but also become someone whom others like and trust. And who can consistently create buy-in for their ideas.
  • As a young man, Benjamin Franklin understood that the best way to achieve success was not by being sharp and sarcastic, and making others wrong. He grasped that he would be much more effective as a result of improving his people skills. This self­ improvement process was detailed both in Franklin’s autobiography, and Walter Isaacson’s biography, Benjamin Franklin.
  • You can have every positive success attribute working for you, but if you can’t work and play well with others, and relate to them in a way that can positively influence their thoughts and actions, you will severely limit your success.
  • On the other hand, if you can conduct yourself in a way that makes others feel good about themselves, and about you, then you’re in a position to make a positive difference in their lives.
  • It’s true that there are those who have achieved great financial success despite a lack of people skills. Yet many of these people have personal relationships that are a mess.
  • The single greatest people skill is a highly developed and authentic interest in the other person.

Interview with Dave Kerpen


  • Trust is everything in business. You can’t do business with people you can’t trust. There is a time and a place for negotiation, but when it errs on the side of dishonesty, it’s very difficult to restore that trust.
  • It’s important to pay attention to the people around you. If they are “bluffing,” they will show it through their gestures, speeding up their speech, and other clues. Dave goes into much more detail about this in his book The Art of People.
  • Be distinctive, unique, and creative!
  • Dave shares a compelling story about how he landed the Burger King account when he worked for Disney Radio as a young man. We all know the value of persistence, but it’s hard to put it into practice.
  • Dave shares key insights about mirror neurons. At the cellular level, we respond to the mood of the person speaking to us. If that person is in a good mood, we pick up that energy. The opposite is true as well. People’s moods are literally contagious.
  • We have to get in a good mood to be effective, persuasive, and inspiring. To get yourself in a good mood, practice gratitude and acts of kindness. Those are the most powerful drugs on the planet. Dave shares an example of holding open the door for a few people, a simple gesture than can impact both yourself and others.
  • What works best, criticism or encouragement? Encouragement and praise work, but criticism doesn’t. When you see behavior in others that needs to be corrected, coach them privately rather than criticize them publicly. Criticism can have a negative long-term impact.


Interview Links


The Art of People by Dave Kerpen

Likeable Social Media by Dave Kerpen


How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (online version)

Benjamin Franklin: A Life by Walter Isaacson

The Go-Giver Leader

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