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9 Tips On How To Get Along With People In Any Situation

9 Tips On How To Get Along With People In Any Situation

No matter where you fall on the extrovert/introvert scale, wouldn’t it be great to learn better tactics to help you get along with the people you encounter in your daily life? Getting along with others is not complicated, but you do have to make a deliberate choice to practice and incorporate these tips into your daily interactions.

1. Listen with the intent to understand.

Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.

-Stephen R. Covey

If you make understanding another person a priority in any social circle, you will find that it is extremely easy to along with people. It is in the choice to invest time and emotional effort that the barriers to harmonious living are torn down. Planning or preparing yourself to understand others is a massive first step. You can do this by listening to what the person says (no planning your response while they are still talking!), making appropriate comments as they talk, and including references to their statements in your response.

2. Walk in their shoes.

Like coins, every social interaction has two sides. Sometimes, those lines between people can get blurred and cause misunderstandings. Taking the time to view the situation from someone else’s point of view will help you to get along better with them, even if you still do not agree with their views. As the quote says, you can’t understand (or get along with) someone until you have ‘walked a mile in their shoes.’ Get to walking!

3. Be polite.

Quite simple. Rude people do not get along with others. They may get along with other rude people, but those results have never been proven. Be careful of others’ feelings. Wit and humor at another person’s expense may do more damage than you will ever know. A polite demeanor will also leave a deeper positive impact than you will immediately realize.

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4. Always take the opportunity to say a kind and encouraging word to or about somebody.

Praise good work, regardless of who did it. If criticism is needed, offer it gently, never harshly. If you recognize someone in need of encouraging, then that makes you the perfect person to do so! There are countless stories of people who have been inspired or motivated by a single needed word of encouragement at a critical time in their lives. When you encourage and compliment people, you create a culture of kindness and the kindness will be reciprocated.

5. Show interest in others.

Show interest in their pursuits, their work, their homes and families. Celebrate their achievements, grit your teeth with them through the rough times. Dance with people who are rejoicing and take time to weep with those who mourn. Let everyone you meet, however humble, feel that you regard him or her as a person of importance. If people around you sense that you support their best interest and also care about the ins and outs of their lives, you will get along with them just fine.

6. Keep an open mind.

Discuss, but don’t argue. It is the mark of a superior mind to be able to disagree without being disagreeable. Accept that others may have a point of view different from the one you hold, or believe something that you do not believe yourself. One sign of an open mind is someone who will listen to someone else speak, without interrupting, even if they disagree with the view being expressed. Differences make us human, idiosyncrasies make us unique and special!

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7. Listen intently.

This may not be anatomically true (I wasn’t a biology major), but the tongue and ears cannot both be used at the same time! Holding your tongue and freeing up your ears to listen actively for a bit gives you an easier path to an open mind and allows you to learn more about people around you. Other ways to listen intently include refraining from one-upping or pointing out problems with the speaker’s story.

8. Be positive.

No one enjoys spending time with a pessimist.  Sir Winston Churchill said,

‘A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.’

Positive people are welcomed in any social situation because they continually brighten the room or space they occupy by seeing the silver linings in each cloud, and that optimistic attitude is contagious! This is one situation where two negatives do not a positive make. Positive people make positive situations.

9. Be sincere.

While each one of these tips is important, none stands alone. They all operate in some combination with one another, and none more than sincerity. People will sense when you are faking a positive attitude, when you do not have a genuine interest in their lives, and when your kind words are simply a facade. All of these tips without sincerity will end up destroying any positive effect you were hoping to produce. Combined the tips above with a heavy dose of sincerity, you will find yourself getting along with people wherever you go!

Now this list is nowhere near exhaustive, so I’d love to hear what other tips you have heard or employed yourself! Feel free to share them below.

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More by this author

CJ Goulding

CJ Goulding is the Lead Organizer at Natural Leaders Network, building leaders and connections in and between humans.

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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