5 Must Have Human Relations Skills

by Paul Castain on July 14, 2011

I was having lunch with someone the other day and both of us agreed that manners and common courtesy have gone by the wayside.

Call me crazy, but I don’t see that as a bad thing!

Alright, that was pretty freakin crazy and I said it for pure shock value.

What I really should have said was “It’s a great opportunity for those who ‘get it’ to shine!”

Here are a few painfully simple human relations principles that can help you bring things up a notch or three!

1)   People Have Names . . . Use Them! Now I’m pretty certain that we’re alright with this one face to face, but how about in electronic form? Do you strip someone of their identity by not addressing them by name in an email? I’m seeing this more and more and quite frankly it’s just plain lazy! I feel like the next step in this spiral downward is addressing someone with a grunt.  Dale Carnegie once said something along the lines of the sweetest sound, in any language is the sound of one’s name!

2)   Everyone Has A Story And Wants To Be Heard! The biggest challenge with all this technology and the speed in which we are interacting is that it is very rare that we are truly listened to. When was the last time someone listened to you with genuine interest? Who do you need to start listening to that you tend to pass by and discount? Here’s a handy dandy poster to help you remember this one!

3)   Dedicate Yourself To Making Others Look Like Rock Stars! Here’s a simple question for you to ask yourself every single day “Who can I help look like a rock star today?” Is there someone who you can acknowledge or thank in front of their tribe? Can you refer someone? Can you offer a no strings attached idea. Bottom line: Who doesn’t need a little good press these days?

4)   Understand That You Can Walk Away! This one came to me later in life as I probably enjoyed verbally kicking someone’s ass (who deserved it) more than normal folk. The minute I catch myself going down that road today, I interrupt my pattern by asking myself “Why?” and then remove myself. Eventually I will be able to do so without muttering a profanity under my breath but I admit to being a work in progress.

5)   Repeat After Me “Thank You” I can’t begin to tell you how many people miss this one from the person on Twitter who never thanks people for Retweeting to the cashier who just stares at you at the end of a transaction. Do you regularly thank your clients? How about your coworkers? Just for a goof, challenge yourself to find some creative and memorable way to say “Thank You!”

There’s a lot more to add to this list folks so let me ask you . . .

What are some must have human relations skills for the aspiring Jedi?

Check this out . . .

I work with sales reps, sales leaders and business owners to sell more. Click here to learn how!

  • Heather

    Hi Paul,
    I’m sure these have been covered before, but there a few things I’d add to the list: the importance of a smile – whether face-to-face or in one’s voice over the phone.  Hand-written thank-you notes always add a personal touch.  And I think the Golden Rule is an excellent guideline to follow, both in business and in personal life.  If in doubt as to how to deal with someone else in any situation, one can always fall back on it.

  • Heather

    Hi Paul,
    I’m sure these have been covered before, but there a few things I’d add to the list: the importance of a smile – whether face-to-face or in one’s voice over the phone.  Hand-written thank-you notes always add a personal touch.  And I think the Golden Rule is an excellent guideline to follow, both in business and in personal life.  If in doubt as to how to deal with someone else in any situation, one can always fall back on it.

  • Michaelfflaherty

    Paul, I would like to add a part B to your “Thank You” bullet. Often when I thank a waiter, cashier or even friend, I get a response that minimizes my “thank you”. It’s the “no problem”. When I thank someone as either a courtesy or a sincere compliment for a job well done, that response irks me. Whatever happened to please, thank you and you’re welcome?

  • LA Palamar

    Take a moment to ask someone about themselves…and remember what they say.  It is truly amazing the fascinating stories you will hear and when you take a moment to refer to these stories later in your relationship, you can just see their eyes light up!

  • http://twitter.com/VYFCT VirtuallyYoursFromCT

    THANKS Paul! ;o)

    No, seriously, thank you for this post. You are so right about how manners seem to be falling by the wayside. Both in business and in day-to-day life. (Don’t even get me started on children who are not taught to say “please” and “thank you!”)

    #2 is spot on – especially when dealing with your clients. It’s so critical to keep the focus and attention on THEM. Remember your path to their remaining your client, is dependent on this.

    And it’s even more critical when you’re pitching a new client! LISTEN first. Offer solutions you can provide next. Learn about them, their industry, what keeps them up at night that you can help resolve or improve? A very smart businessman I know says,

    “It’s the difference between servicing and serving.”

    #4 – hey, we’re ALL works in progress my friend! :o)

    From someone who is grateful for being on the receiving end of your practice of #3…. thanks for being the Rock Star YOU are!!

    Virtually Yours,


  • http://yoursalesplaybook.com paulcastain

    I love the distinction you’ve offered “servicing and serving” Well stated Anne-Marie.

    Thank you for the kind words too . . . very kind of you!

  • http://yoursalesplaybook.com paulcastain

    I live for those “see their eyes light up” moments LA and couldn’t agree with you more.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  • http://yoursalesplaybook.com paulcastain

    That’s certainly well a needed “Part B!

    Thank you . . . and don’t you dare respond “No Problem” Michael :)

    Your point is well needed and well taken!

  • http://yoursalesplaybook.com paulcastain

    I agree with all of your points Heather.

    The smile is something I wasn’t doing enough of years ago and whenever I would go to a networking event, strangers would come up to me and ask me if I was annoyed about something which in turn made me annoyed :) Once I learned to smile more, strangers would come over and tell me that the conversation I was having looked like so much fun that they had to come over and join in.

    Thanks for suggesting these wonderful additions!

  • LA Palamar

    HI Michael,
    I know what you mean.  When my husband and I travelled into Virginia many years ago, we noticed that when we said “Thank You’ the response was “uh huh”.  Funny!  We realized that “uh huh” was Virbinia-speak for “thank you”.  Maybe “no worries” is the new “Thank you”!

  • http://yoursalesplaybook.com paulcastain

    You just touched upon a huge pet peeve of mine Steve and I say that as an ex offender!

    In general, I see way too many conversations interrupted by phones and the continual checking of email.

    “Dedicating yourself” as you said, is the only way!

    Thank you for this important addition to our list!

  • http://twitter.com/Sales_Athlete Kim Lillie

    Learn to admit when you are wrong and most importantly say so, too many times I others and myself arguing a point knowing full well that they are wrong.  Let go of the ego and practice a little humility!

    P.S. Great post Paul, as usual!

  • Anita Barrett

    Thanks Paul, I wholeheartedly agree! It’s those little things that add up.  One that I 
     use and so appreciate being asked,   “Do you have a minute?”  Do this whenever you call or stop by someone’s office.  Its just good manners and thoughtfulness for the other person’s time!  Keep Rockin’
    Anita Barrett

  • John Bartlett

    Jesus the Christ said “those who lose their lives for my sake will find it and those who find it will lose it”.. in other words, it is about serving God/Jesus and others.. those who find their lives (me, me, me) will never know what life is really all about, spiritually or human relationship wise…  Thanks dude.. have a great day!!!! 

  • http://labizseller.com/ Peter Lopez-L.A. BizSeller

    Hi Paul,
    While I was reading your great post I was reminded of Dale Carnegie’s quote in how to win friends and influence people: “Don’t be a topper” 
    I see this all around me. As soon as you start talking about a certain topic, situation, or even a part of your day you are dealing with, weather it be good or bad, people will turn it into something they are dealing with or tell you about how what they have is better, or smarter etc.

    When I first read this about 5 years ago, it hit me like a ton of bricks and I said to myself “self, DON’T BE A TOPPER”

    Excellent advise if I do say so…

    Have an awesome day and keep up the good work Paul

  • http://yoursalesplaybook.com paulcastain

    Thanks Kim . . . the ego can be a killer!

  • http://yoursalesplaybook.com paulcastain

    A wonderful addition to our list Anita . . . thank you!

    Always nice to see you here!

  • http://yoursalesplaybook.com paulcastain

    Right back atcha John . . . well said!

  • http://www.salessells.com Wim @ Sales Sells

    Lol, I used to have the same issue Paul. Apparently some people thought I was in a bad mood when my facial expression was in ‘neutral’.

    I’m having fun guys, REALLY :)


  • Dawn

    I love this one too!  Another that is akin to this is “Is this still a good time to meet?”  We never know when someone’s circumstances change.

  • http://adamoneill.net Adam

    Wow this must be a guy thing. I get the same reaction. I pretty much have to consciously think about my smile. My “neutral” face makes me look disinterested and unsocial from what I have been told in the past.

    I have actually been told people thought I didn’t like them when they first met me based off of my neutral facial expression — I must have some great genes!

  • http://adamoneill.net Adam

    I will have to admit I’m guilty of this one. It sometimes just comes out… which to me is case and point I am not giving the person thanking me the true respect they deserve.

    I might as well just respond with “whatever” – which is a word I typically despise.

  • Leslie Aldag

    I have two personal thank you’s going out tomorrow.  One to VA and another to TX, personalized gifts of edible items made in NE in a NE shaped package.  Small and inexpensive, I like to send something made in my state.  BTW- it was their company’s mistake, but they went beyond the call of duty to get it fixed and saved the business (they get a little commission override too, but… my agent is happy HE didn’t have to get involved!) AH.. now on to the next one!  :-)
    It never ends….. thankfully!

  • Cheri Allbritton

    I love the opening cartoon…Thanks for not sucking as a friend….no kidding. Thank you for being you Paul.

  • http://yoursalesplaybook.com paulcastain

    I like that cartoon too . . . It really says it all Cheri!

    Thanks for the kind words too!

  • http://yoursalesplaybook.com paulcastain

    What a great way to say thank you Leslie!

    I’m getting hungry just thinking about it :)

    Thanks for stopping by!

  • http://yoursalesplaybook.com paulcastain

    Those are mighty cool words to live by Peter.

    Thanks for sharing them bro chocho!

  • http://yoursalesplaybook.com paulcastain

    Good one Dawn . . . I agree!

  • http://yoursalesplaybook.com paulcastain

    Whatever . . . just kidding Adam. 

    I’ve gotten a lot better with this, in fact its dramatically better but I need to be continually mindful of it.

  • http://yoursalesplaybook.com paulcastain

    Everyone repeat after me :)

    One more time :)

    And how can we not smile when Wim stops by to rock the house?

    Thanks Wim!

  • http://yoursalesplaybook.com paulcastain

    I knew a woman who had the same issue and people would often ask her if she was alright,

    She would still keep the same expression and in an emotionless way respond with “I’m fine and that’s just my face”

    Go figure!

  • http://adamoneill.net Adam

    Another addition I would suggest is being able to admit to others when we are wrong… we need to own our actions.

  • Eliza Bennett11

    Hi Paul,
    YES to #4! Walking away is good, and often difficult, but muttered profanity certainly has its place too!

  • http://yoursalesplaybook.com paulcastain

    I knew there had to be another profanity mutterer out there somewhere Eliza :)

    Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend!

  • http://yoursalesplaybook.com paulcastain

    You get a gold star for suggesting this one Adam . . . Good one!


  • http://jlmade.blogspot.com Jacob Yount

    If one thing I learned from Paul Castain it is to make others look like a star ~ in turn it flips back to folks realizing your a faithful helpful person and this works online and offline in real time.  Thanks for all the sharing, Paul. 

  • Marc Zazeela

    Paul – Sadly, I agree that manners have kind of disappeared. I think the proliferation of SoMe exacerbates the issue. People can hide behind the anonymity of the Internet and behave in ways they would not have otherwise. Seems as if some of those behaviors have crept into our real life relationships also.

    Are we becoming a “me first” society?


  • http://yoursalesplaybook.com paulcastain

    Very much so Marc!

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

  • flosgym

    In sales and with sales people I find there are times that egos get over inflated. The person in front of them ceases to matter and it is all about more glory for themselves. So your point on helping others shine is a great one Paul and one I actually enjoy doing!

    Golden Rule still Applies!

  • http://yoursalesplaybook.com paulcastain


    Here’s to making the other person look like a rock star!

    Thank you for taking the time to stop by and share your thoughts!

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