Build a Strong Social Skills Foundation
Peter Soto |March 27, 2013
We originally wrote "Build a Strong Social Skills Foundation," for the Red Nova Labs (parent company to Storage Ahead) blog, but we liked it a lot and thought you would, too.
In my last post, I talked about how having a genuine interest in people leads to quality relationships between account managers and the clients they serve. This time I’m going to give you a few resources partly to show you why this happens and partly to show how you can develop these social skills. This is by no means an exhaustive guide. The question is too big and our attention spans are too small.
You and everyone you have ever known have mirror neurons. Ever heard of them? They’re parts of your brain that become active both when you perform an action and when you see an action performed. The same goes for seeing and feeling emotions. In this video from the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Jeremy Rifkin talks about the ways in which mirror neurons are helping global society move past familial, theological and national ties, toward a global society in which there will no longer be an us versus them mentality. Human beings are wired for working together, sympathizing and belonging. You are already predisposed to being a socially savvy person.
Who is that handsome devil and why is he in this blog post? Why, that’s Dale Carnegie! He wrote a little book called “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”
Published in 1936, this book is still relevant today. The first time I read it, I took notes on every chapter. I should go over them once a month, but I settle for rereading the book once a year. This book provides a lot of reasoning behind why people react and how to manage those reactions. I recommend it to anyone who wants to make their social and professional lives more vibrant.
Ever had a client become upset with you? Maybe the reason was within your control and maybe it wasn’t. Chances are you had some sort of an emotional reaction, too. If you feel nothing in situations like this, congratulations, you’re probably a robot. For the rest of us, personal emotional management is crucial for building positive, lasting relationships.
How do we do this? There isn’t one answer, but something I’ve found comes from the man in the picture to the right. That’s Lucius Annaeus Seneca or just Seneca for short. He lived during the time of Christ and helped develop a school of philosophy called Stoicism. There’s a lot to Stoicism and it’s all worth looking into, but the tenet most applicable to this article is that the development of self-control is a way to overcome destructive emotions. Stoics aren’t above their emotions. They feel just like you and I do, but they do not let their emotions dictate their actions. They strive for perfect logic and a life of balance.
If that sounds like something that could help you, check out Seneca’s most famous work “Letters From a Stoic.” It’s long, but the chapters are short and reading one a day will pay dividends for your emotional wellbeing.
For those of you aren’t as socially savvy, use these resources as a starting point in your journey toward becoming the social butterfly you’ve always dreamed of. For those butterflies already out there, know that this kind of self-development never ends. It’s a life long journey.
And what does all of this have to do with account management? The way I see it, account management is a lot of things, but at its heart it’s about managing the relationships you have with your clients, providing them with what they need and showing them that the person at the other end of the screen cares about them. Go out there, and practice what you’ve learned!