The Art of People: 11 Simple People Skills That Will Get You Everything You Want
By Dave Kerpen
Dave Kerpen, Founder & CEO of Likeable Local, a social media agency and NY Times best-selling author recently published; “The Art of People: 11 Simple Skills That Will Get You Everything You Want.” The book is the modern day equivalent of Dale Carnegie’s, "How to Win Friends and Influence People." It is filled with tips, advice and action steps. Dave also shares personal trials and tribulations.
Particularly useful is that each chapter ends with actions steps to help readers implement and reinforce Dave’s concepts on understanding and therefore being able to influence people. The book starts with the premise that to understand others, you first need to understand yourself. So the first action step is to take an Enneagram Assessment. This assessment determines your personality type and defines ways you interact positively with others as well as how you respond under stress.
“The secret to getting people to adore you is to shut up and listen,”
Another action step is to move a conversation beyond polite small talk and help understand someone better is to ask them three questions (he provides a list of 10), then note how that changes the course of the conversation. For example, you could ask, “If you had enough money to retire, what would you be doing?” or “Who’s been an important influence on you and why?”
Dave also talks about personal branding and suggests creating a signature style to help you stand out. In Dave’s case, it’s the color orange. He wears something orange everyday and owns 29 pairs of orange sneakers. One of those pairs actually helped him land a conversation with the one person he was trying to meet at an industry event.
“A random act of kindness is an instant cure for any bad mood.”
In the book, Dave doesn’t just share successes but more valuable is when he shares his struggles, mistakes, failures and embarrassing anecdotes. In short, he shares the good, the bad and the ugly. For example he admits his first date didn’t occur until he was 21 years old and that it was a disaster – mostly because he couldn’t and didn’t stop talking about himself.
He confides his love for a married colleague and how difficult it was for him to let her go. The happy ending to that story is that after moving away, he eventually reconnected with her, discovering by that time she was divorced. They ultimately married and launched Likable Local together. He then shares that seven years into their marriage, they sought out therapy to learn how to better resolve conflicts.
He also talks about how back in 2003 it appeared he was doing great. He was in his early 20’s and had just appeared in a reality TV show. He was literally walking the red carpet behind American Idol sensations Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard, (remember them?), and yet in “real-reality,” he felt empty, lonely and disconnected. He eventually realized that, “a lack of connection to people is very powerful in a bad way.”
“The most important question you’ll ever ask: ‘How can I help you?’”
Dave also talks about the art of persistence. As he describes it, “persistence is trying until you drop.” In 2001, Dave was a sales rep for Radio Disney. He was trying to reach a potential client by phone, (back then this was they main vehicle for connecting). Dave called and called and called some more – ultimately leaving 36 messages – when on the 37th call, she finally answered the phone. That call led to a sale and a $10,000 commission and taught him about persistence.
The conclusion is also interesting and really sums up the book; that behind every man is a great woman. In this case, it’s Dave’s wife Carrie who provides the ultimate wisdom with a paradox. As Carrie notes, “The secret to getting everything you want is not trying to get everything you want. Meet the right people, listen well, connect and inspire them and they’ll want to give you everything that you want.”
Ultimately the methods Dave prescribes can help you become the person others want to know, like and trust as well as the person people wants to help succeed.