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The art of good with people

The art of good with people means everything we do to look good with another person or group of people in an elaborate and/or false way. Sometimes we do it unconsciously, other times we come up with a strategy to do what we think in just seconds. We all like to be the center of attention, to a lesser or greater extent. If we can get that attention even if it’s a few seconds it makes us feel good and makes people around us feel good.

Below I will share a series of anecdotes that have occurred to me throughout my life and that have to do with the art of good with people.

I’d accompany you to that event even though I’ve never shown the slightest interest in it.

An ex-co-worker was a motorcycle fan. One year he asked the company for days off so he could go see the last race of the World Motorcycle Championships. He planned it months in advance. He told us one afternoon that same week he was going to that event at the weekend. Another colleague said “I’d love to go, but this weekend I have a shift and I can’t.”

Obviously it had never gone through his head to go to that event, and what he said was the fruit of the moment. He had never shown an interest in motorcycling. He hadn’t spoken to the company to change the shift. He hadn’t moved a piece and of course if he liked it and intended to go to that event he would have done like the other partner and months ago he would have planned it.

When you say something like that, you look for two things:

  • Look good in front of the person who is going to go.
  • Do other teammates believe that you’re interested in a topic, though you’ve probably seen a motorcycle race in your life and you’re just saying it to show how interesting you are.

We miss you without even know you

Some time ago I stopped belonging to a chess club because I moved out of housing and live in another province. A colleague at that club had lent him a book. I barely knew him, except to see him 3-4 times in games we played on Sundays.

A year and a half after lending the book to him one day I realized that I hadn’t given it back yet. I sent him a message to send to me by attaching my current address. And his reply “ok, I mail you the book. We miss you.” The term miss means  ‘noticing someone’s lack or something’ or ‘having feeling and sorrow for someone’s lack or something’. We all like to be told something like that, but coming from a person I barely know squeaks a little bit.

The art of doing well without solving anything

Calls to teleoperators are also often a good example of the art of good with people. Many of the companies that provide these services are outsourced by large teleoperators. In some companies the valuation of agents is very important, your job depends on it.

Therefore, the person on the other side of the phone has to do it right, yes or yes. He/She will try to resolve your issue and if not try by all means to look good before you and do something to get you to vote well in the survey.

A few years ago I was about to make an article that I was going to share with Chema Alonso about the work of the teleoperators. The rating in some cases is called NPS, net promoter score. I made this image (Figure 1) which explains how the NPS is calculated. Each month one of the country’s largest teleoperators asked its agents for a % in the NPS survey. For example, one month they asked all agents to have at least 40% in NPS. If we take 10 calls and 8 were promoters and two passives the formula would be, NPS (8-0) / 10 x 80%. But if there are 8 promoters and 2 detractors then it would be, NPS (8-2) / 10 x 60%. And if there are 6 promoters, 2 detractors and 2 passives would be, NPS (6-2) / 10 x 40%.

arte nps
Figure 1. How the Net Promoter Score is calculated

Pd. If you call an operator and then they call you to assess the attention received, think you value the agent. You don’t value the company, so if the guy did well please vote 9 or 10. They’ll thank you.

The impertinent rooster

I recently heard the call to a call center and attended a girl with a Colombian accent. The truth is, he did well and solved all the doubts that were raised. The point is, the whole call sounded in the background of a rooster’s cackling. At first I thought it was a tone of a mobile, but because it was something repetitive (the roosters are usually very repetitive and tired) we realized that it was indeed… a rooster of the crest on his head.

Possibly the person answering the call was a teleoperator who lived in the middle of the Colombian jungle or similar. The poor girl had to work and support her crest friend all day. The truth is that the girl did very well despite the impertinent.

The art of I’m going to say “Yes” to everything you tell me

I once had a conversation with a German who spoke a few words in Spanish. I said “I like the X music group” and the man says “me too.”. Then I realized he hadn’t understood anything I’d told  him and he would have answered the same thing to anything. If I’d said, “I like Galician stew mixed with 3-flavored ice cream,” he would have said “me too.”

The lying excuse

Many times you go out and there comes a time of the night when we no longer want to spend more of our time walking from one place to another. That’s when a light bulb comes on in your head. Imagine what excuse you can make so you can sneak out and look good in front of your friends. One might be ‘Tomorrow I have to get up early’ – as an excuse to go to sleep. Or ‘I have to go to the church early’ – and that’s 20 years since you stepped on one.

The art of phrases that mean otherwise

We are used to hearing or saying phrases made that have to do with the art of good with people. It sounds good when we say them although many times we mean just the opposite.

  • ‘It’s the first time it’s happened to me’ – it’s happened to you more than 20 times minimum.
  • ‘I never get angry’ – you know you’ve been angry before and you’re going to get angry in the future.
  • ‘I don’t care’ – if you say you don’t care, it’s that it really isn’t.
  • ‘I’m happy for you’ – although you know that position you competed with your partner was for you that you’re the best in the world.
  • ‘It’s not you, it’s me’ – obviously you’re the culprit always if I say that phrase.

You’re my client and I’m going to do everything for you except what you need

A customer of yours asks you for a daily report of a situation. The fellow who is in charge of that report goes on vacation and no one in the company notices and stops sending that report to their client. The customer calls to ask and you have to… or tell the truth or make up an excuse and look good. Obviously you prefer the second option. Possible answers to look good to your client would be:

  • “We’ve had a computer glitch.” It’s an excuse that usually works.
  • “We are updating the shipping management program (it is a word document) to automate the task (cannot be automated)”.
  • “We’ve changed the server on the web page.”

You would never tell the truth because you would look bad with the client who pays you every month and who you barely pay attention to.

And you… have any examples of the art of good with people that you will want to share?

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