Why is it that some people’s discussions end in argument while others may discuss the same subject and end their discussion in a friendly manner? It has everything to do with the skills of holding a discussion. Why is it that when two people deliver the same sermon with the same words, you find that among the audience of the first person someone is yawning or sleeping, another is playing with a prayer mat, and others are repeatedly shifting, whilst the audience listening to the second are listening attentively to the sermon, such that they cannot even blink an eyelid nor of what is being said? It has everything to do with oratory skills. Why is it when so-and-so speaks in a gathering, everyone listens to him attentively and focuses on him, whereas when someone else speaks, they began to talk about other side issues and start reading their text messages? It has everything to do with the skills of verbal communication.
Why is it when one school teacher walks through the corridor, all the students gather around him? One shaking his hand, another asking his advice, and yet another one complaining about a problem; if he were to sit in his office and allow the students to enter, it would be filled with students in seconds as everyone wishes to sit with him. Yet, another teacher walks through the corridor by himself and leaves the school’s mosque and he is alone. No student approaches him to shake his hand, or to complain about a problem. If he were to leave his office open from sunrise to sunset, no one would ever come to it as nobody seems to like to be in his company. Why? It has everything to do with interpersonal skills.
One person enters a public gathering and everyone smiles at his face and feels joy at meeting him; everyone wishes to sit next to him. However, another person walks in and gets cold handshakes, either out of custom or kindness. He then looks for a place to sit but cannot find a person who gives him any space or calls him to sit next to him. Why? It has everything to do with the techniques of attracting and influencing others. Why is it that a father enters his house and his children smile at him with joy, whereas another comes to see his children but they do not even turn to acknowledge his presence? It is all to do with the skills of dealing with children. You can say the same about the mosque, wedding parties and so on.
People differ in varying degrees from each other in terms of their interpersonal skills, and, accordingly, the way they are treated by others also differs to varying degrees. Influencing people and earning their love is easier than one can imagine. I am not exaggerating when I say this, since I have tried these skills a number of times and found that it is very easy to capture people’s hearts, if indeed we are serious about interpersonal skills and training ourselves in them. People are affected by the way we deal with them whether we realise it or not. For thirteen years, I have been an Imam at a military college. On my way to the mosque, I pass by a gate that is watched by a guard. When I pass by the guadr, I am always eager to smill at him and signal with my hand by way of giving my salams to him. After the Salah, I get in my car and make my way hom. Usually, whilst I am doing my Salah in the mosque, I recieve a number of next rebages and missed calls, on my cell phone. When I pass by the great on my way back from the salah, I am preoccupied with ??? the message, so I forgot to smile at him. Until, one day I was surprised when he stopped me and said, “Dear Shaykh, are you upset with me?” “Why would I be?” I asked. He said, “When you enter I noticed that you smile and you seem very happy. But when you leave, you neither smile nor seem pleased.” The man was very sincere, so he began to swear how much he loved and respected me, and how joyful he was upon seeing me. I apologised to him and explained to him the reason for my behaviour. I then realised that when we get used to such skills, they become part of our nature, and others certainly notice when we negligently fail to practise them.