As technology advances and the considerable anxiety about the impact ChatGPT and Ai, in general, will have on our future livelihood, one thing will stand head and shoulders above everything: how you get on with people.

Here’s what I’ve learned along the journey less travelled.

1- Paraphrase what you understand when in a conversation:
When in a conversation, repeat what you understand the person has said to you before responding. They often say, no, that’s not what I meant; this is what I meant. It takes patience to do this because we are often keen to respond without listening.

2 – Start with “I” and not “You:”
If you want to give feedback, start with “I” first. Instead of “You” did this or you did that start with “I”? which can reduce tension and show you own your part of the situation.

3 Give people praise and find things to compliment
People love to know you notice when they’ve done something well. Saying things like “I saw when you did XX, ( be specific in your feedback) makes them feel noticed. We don’t compliment each other enough these days – Stop and tell people what you notice about them.

4: Don’t give advice when it’s not asked for
I was the king of giving advice even when you didn’t ask for it – until a friend pulled me aside and, in no uncertain terms, explained the difference. Sometimes it’s hard to resist sharing your words of wisdom, but when someone calls and says, I wanted to ask your advice on something – they are ready to listen. Speaking to my nephew recently, I asked about his business, and a few words of advice were on the tip of my lips; instead, I just listened and asked questions instead of making suggestions.

5: Allow people to finish what they are saying:
Don’t interject. The most irritating thing is when people finish your sentences or guess the words you will say as if they have direct access to your mind.

6: Giving and taking feedback:
This can be hard, especially if you are very sensitive. There are some people whom it doesn’t matter how delicate you put things, they will become defensive and take offence. Giving feedback is a skill; starting with a positive is best. Often easier said than done.

I’ll be the first to admit that this is challenging, as I slip up often.

Still, life is a work in progress, and I see the difference when I do any of the above, as my conversations with clients, friends or family are much more engaging and amenable.