People Skills

A while ago, I met with a psychologist about some assertiveness training.  That eventually led to me registering for the Dale Carnegie course which I start next week.  In that first meeting with the psychologist, he recommended a book for me to read “People Skills” by Robert Bolton.  Finally, last night I finished reading it through for the first time, and I have to say that it is one of those books that I wish everyone would read.
 
Over 80% of the population have poor communication skills, they are constantly saying things that act as roadblocks to constructive conversation, or fail to listen when they should, or don’t assert themselves effectively. 
 
The first 1/2 of the book is just about listening.  In particular, it focuses on a technique called “reflective listening” in which the person listening reflects back what they hear.  I’ve been trying it out with some really surprisingly interesting results.
 
One particular fact that was stated in the book was the effectiveness of asertiveness training in personal development.  Back in the 70s asertiveness courses were popular university offerings, so there were lots of students that psycologists could study and measure. It turns out that with surprisingly little practice it’s possible to greatly imrprove conversation skills.  I believe the stat was that 90% of students taking the courses claimed to have a noticeable improvement in how well they asserted themselves.
 
Heather is going to read the book next, and after that I think I’m going to try to read it again.  I highly recommend it.