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10 Things Nice People Do Differently That Make Them Achieve More

10 Things Nice People Do Differently That Make Them Achieve More

We think that in order to get ahead in life, we need to “look out for ourselves,” even be selfish and mean. But is that really true? Could it be that nice people actually get more? Well, yes, they do, and it’s scientifically proven. Here’s how nice people achieve more.

1. They help without expecting something in return.

Adam Grant in Give and Take, a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller, makes this crystal clear. According to his research, people who give unconditionally—the givers—are the ones who achieve the most. Right after them, rank the people who “look out for themselves” and might even be mean or selfish. These are the “takers.”

Yes, takers come second.

2. They listen.

Marie Forleo, a “Rich, Happy, and Hot” internet entrepreneur, often says that the greatest gift we can ever give to others is our presence.

As she discussed on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday, when someone’s talking to you but you’re texting or just thinking about other things, the message you’re sending is that the other person is not worthy of your attention.

The solution? Say “I’m back!” And just like that, your focus will be back to reality. Every color is now more vivid because you’re actually noticing it! Now, you can be there for the other person, and actually help them. Watch Marie explain this technique in her own words:

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Truly nice people are people others can rely upon. And, yes, because of their generosity, they receive 10x their input back in return.

3. They are unexpectedly nice.

Nice people are not just nice in situations when most people are nice—they are nice even in situations where “niceness” is not expected. They’ll listen and you’ll feel heard. They’ll surprise you with their help and ideas.

I felt like that when I met best-selling author Tim Ferriss in person. Even though he was surrounded by tons of people, when he talked to me, I felt as if I was the only person in the room.

And here I am now talking about it. And there are thousands of people just like me praising him. Does Tim get things in return from all this word of mouth? You bet he does.

4. Their generous reputation precedes them.

Truly nice people are known for being nice. For example, even before I met consultant Michael Fishman in his BehaviorCon conference last August (hacking behavior along with best-selling author Ramit Sethi), I knew he was nice. Facebook and Twitter make the world so connected that news just spreads.

Indeed after we met he surprised me by saying “gratitude” for every little thing I did. Then he unexpectedly offered to help me with my book.

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And yes, here I am talking publicly about it. Because you can hardly forget when someone takes care of you.

5. They make others feel good.

When you feel heard, you feel good. When you get help, you feel good. And you just can’t help but like the other person who helped you.

Then, reciprocity kicks in: one of Cialdini’s Principles of Influence. When you get something, you feel like you need to give back in return. You can’t help but do something nice for the person who helped you. And that’s how nice people get even more back in return.

6. They know the difference between being a doormat vs. being a generous giver.

Nice people are not doormats. After all, no one respects doormats. People take advantage of doormats. Few people genuinely help doormats.

Nice people know the boundaries between being generous and being taken advantage of. They do their best to be there for others, but they don’t let them cross the line.

Interestingly, in Give and Take I learned that doormats actually are at the bottom of the achievement scale. So nice people rank first, takers come second, and down at the bottom are the doormats.

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7. They are not just nice with others but they’re nice with themselves too.

So many people are nice with others, only to be extremely self-critical with themselves. They think they’re being honest. They might even complain about “sabotaging” themselves, yet since they are being “honest” they have a good excuse for doing so.

But the truth is that they are using double standards. When they talk negatively to themselves, they are only demotivating themselves from going forward. It’s one thing to say, “I’m so fat, I’ll never lose weight,” and another to say, “My past choices have made me fat, but my new ones will lead me to a better place.” If you want to be a truly nice person, you need to be nice with everyone, including yourself.

8. They don’t make excuses for not doing what they say they want to do.

Since nice people talk nicely to themselves, they are actually encouraging themselves to do the things they want to do. So, say they want to exercise. They won’t come up with excuses about why they can’t do it. Instead, they’ll encourage themselves to figure it out. They might try yoga, take longer walks, or exercise at home for just five minutes.

The result is that they feel empowered. They trust that they can do what it is they want to do. Nothing can stand in their way. And maybe that’s why people who exercise actually make 9% more than everyone else.

So, if you want to write a book, learn cooking, or de-clutter your home, what are you waiting for?

9. They see failure as a stepping stone to success.

When others get demotivated because things didn’t go their way, nice people are already looking for “the next cow.” Nice people know that “No” is a first step to “Yes,” and that failure is a stepping-stone to success. It’s not that they celebrate failure, but they don’t make a big deal about it either.

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And that’s how when others quit, nice people persevere. When others think everything is dark, nice people are confident they’ll hit their goals.

10. They have the power to influence others.

Best-selling author Gary Vaynerchuck once said he devoted a few minutes while he was driving to talking on the phone with people. Now Gary has thousands of followers. This behavior is not scalable to every single follower. Yet, he does anything he can do to help. Even taking advantage of his driving time.

And people appreciate it. They know that Gary is extremely busy, yet he gives them one-on-one time. They are deeply grateful for that, and yes, they convert into lifetime Gary fans.

When Gary releases a new book, or goes on a new venture, guess who is going to champion him? The hundreds or thousands of people who have already benefited by him. Gary is unexpectedly nice, and these fans will support Gary by default, even before reviewing his work.

That’s how influential nice people can be.

More by this author

Maria Brilaki

Maria helps people create habits that stick not just for a month or two but for years and decades.

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More How to Have Happy Thoughts and Train Your Brain to Be Happy Instantly 10 Things Nice People Do Differently That Make Them Achieve More If You Hate Exercise, This Will Probably Change Your Mind 10 Thinking Mistakes You’re Probably Making

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Last Updated on April 11, 2019

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

How Communication Skills Help Your Success

Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

Create a Positive Experience

Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

Help Leadership Skills

It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

Build Better Teams

Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

1. Listen

Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

2. Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

Here is a good way to think about it:

Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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3. Minimize

I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

4. Over Communicate

So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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5. Body Language

The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

Conclusion

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

Now go communicate your way to success.

More Resources About Effective Communication

Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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