There are a few essential man skills that every guy needs to learn how to do. Some of them could save your life, most of them are just cool things that will make you the envy of your peers. After all, if you’re gonna be a playboy you need to have a good arsenal of man skills!
And actually, you don’t need to be a guy to upskill. Ladies, you can one up your guy if you know a few of these essential life skills too!
So these are the man skills (or lifes skills) to learn right now (and how to do em).
Start a fire with no matches
Whats more manly than being able to start a fire with your bare hands? It’s what separates us from the beasts…
We’ll be honest, this takes a bit of muscle and persistence, but with some practice anyone can easily do this.
Step one: Make a tinder box. That is, collect lots of dried grasses and small dry sticks. Make a small conical fire with the light grassier bits at the bottom and build up on top of this with the bigger sticks.
Step two: Get one dry piece of wood, ideally quite wide and brittle. And another piece of wood that you can roll in your palm – the longer the better, don’t try and do it with a small stick or you could be in for a long ride.
Step three: Make a notch on the dry piece of wood that your rolling stick will fit in. You’ll then need to roll the stick quickly between your palms, like you’re rubbing your hands together. Stay close to the tinder box…
Step four: Rub! Keep going… It might take a while, anything up to ten minutes (it can be as little as 2 minutes if you’ve got your technique down). Once you see smoke and an ember on the wood, transfer it gently to the tinder box and blow gently to get the fire going!
Man rating: 10
Learn how to speak with confidence
More than ever, our interactions need to have impact. From meeting people at events, to making business deals, speaking with confidence is an essential man skill. If you’re shy, you mumble or you just don’t think you have much to say, changing the way you speak can make a huge difference to your social interactions.
Step one: Learn how to control your breathing to steady your nerves and focus your mind. Mindfulness exercises are great for this.
Step two: Speak slowly and use pauses effectively. Too many people speak quickly without thinking. You can build a great level of engagement by being very precise in what you say, taking the time to use pauses to bridge the gap between information.
Step three: Speak from your diaphragm. The deeper your voice, the more you will sound authoritative. Yes this applies to women too. Practice moving your voice down into your chest and stomach. You will be amazed at the difference it makes.
Step four: Eye contact and body language. Around 90% of our communication is non-verbal, so learn to use eye contact to maximise your impact. There is a fine line between being confident and staring someone down, so understand how to do this without being ‘weird’ or ‘intense’.
Likewise, body language. Avoid fidgety movements, use your hands to emphasise certain points and ensure your general posture says ‘confident’. Stand up straight, speak with your head up and address everyone if you’re speaking to a group.
Man Rating: 9
Learn to cook
You don’t have to be able to create a perfect poached egg, or make a soufflé from scratch. But if you live on a diet or tins and packet food then learning to cook is a life skill that will change both you and the way people perceive you.
Here are some essentials:
- Cook a steak rare (even if you don’t like rare steak, knowing how to cook one is the absolute basis for cooking a steak – oh and medium rare isn’t a thing. It’s medium *or* rare).
- Make an omelette
- Pan fry a seabass fillet
- Make potatoes three ways (fries, mash and roast from scratch)
- Understand simple flavour pairings
- Work out how to cook rice perfectly
- Cook a simple pasta dish using no more than three ingredients (not including pasta, salt and water)
- Build a repertoire of freshly produced meals you can make in under 15 minutes
Man rating: 8
Remember peoples names
Some people are good at this and some aren’t. Right? Wrong. Everyone can do this and its an essential man skill when you’re meeting so many people regularly. Also it creates an empathy that is hard to resist.
Step one: Make a point of remembering their name when you’re introduced.
Step two: Repeat their name when it’s said to you… ‘Hi Joe, I’m Bill’.
Step three: Try and use their name within a minute of being introduced. ‘So Joe, how are you finding the city?’
Step four: Reinforce their name in your memory silently, by looking at them and thinking of their name.
Step five: Use their name when you speak to them, including when you say goodbye. Be careful not to over-do it though…
Man rating: 7
Be that interesting guy at the party
You might be the shyest guy in the building, but that doesn’t mean you can build some mystique around yourself.
Being ‘interesting’ is actually more than being confident and strolling up to anyone, shaking their hand and commanding the attention of the room. No, that’s something else.
Here some simple tips to be the guy that is remembered for being interesting… In a good way!
- It’s all about them – people love it if you’re asking them questions. This is a surefire way to bond. Be sure not to ‘interrogate’ people but to genuinely act interested, smile and nod and maintain eye contact.
- Understand how to tell an anecdote – you’ve done interesting shit, right? Know how to tell an anecdote: build the story, set the scene, make some funny observations, keep it punchy and end with a bang.
- Know how to play devils’ advocate – making a statement that is designed to get a response, especially with regards to controversial points. If everyone at the party is agreeing that something is bad, find the positive point and introduce it. You don’t have to agree with it, but it will stimulate conversation.
- Have at least 3 good jokes you can share
- Don’t ask people about their work – ever. It’s boring. Even if their job isn’t. Let them tell you but never ask them…
- Ask people about their ambitions, desires and passions – it’s a much better way to engage.
- Ask people for their advice – people love giving advice. Love. It.
Man rating: 7
Learn to dance
Wait… Dancing? Really? Yup. If you want to impress a woman (or a guy), learn some dance moves. Ideally something like salsa, tango or other genuinely rhythmic movements that you can use to genuinely sweep someone off their feet.
Even being coordinated and knowing some more conemporary dance moves can also be super cool in the right context.
A bit of practice in front of the mirror and you’ll be a dancefloor dynamo in no time!
Man rating: 7
Learn a language
Us English speakers are a lazy lot when it comes to learning the lingo. But it doesn’t have to be this way, and genuinely, learning a new language isn’t that difficult. If you’ve ever learnt something boring like, well, anything for your job, then you can learn Spanish, French, German, Italian, Japanese or anything else…
How do you learn a language?
- Sign up for a local evening class. It’s also a great way to meet new people.
- Buy a language book and read it on your commute every day.
- Sign up for iTalki or Tandem and make a foreign friend who you can chat to in your new language.
- Don’t give up when it feels like you’re not making progress. That means you’re about to cross the threshold.
- Don’t be shy. Embrace mistakes, talk to native speakers, commit to it….!
One of my favourite tools for language learning (and I’ve learnt a few) is iTalki.
You can find teachers, language buddies and courses – it’s free to sign up and private tuition is very affordable. If you’ve ever wanted to level up your language skills, check out iTalki.
Man rating: 8
Talk to women with confidence
You’ve already got this one down right? Of course. But it always helps to know a few extra tricks for talking to women and not freaking out cos she’s so damn hot.
- See the earlier point about being ‘interesting’. Ask her things, be interested, respond, laugh, tell a good anecdote and maintain eye contact.
- Start with a random conversation starter. Ask for advice, tell a joke, a funny observation (that isn’t offensive to anyone) and see where it goes from there.
- Don’t start with a ‘sexy’ comment – ‘nice legs love, what time do they open?’ Bye!
- Understand body language cues and how to act on them.
Man rating: 10
Be good at a random sport
Being active is an important part of our modern lifestyle, so finding a sport that you’re good at (or at least passionate) is a great man skill. You’ll keep in shape, engage with friends and have something that makes you ‘cool’.
Jogging, cycling, swimming, hiking and going to the gym are all pretty standard – and most people should probably do at least one of those weekly.
For a random sport:
- Martial arts
Man skill: 10
How to dress right
As a man you probably throw an outfit together and hey presto – done. T shirt, jeans, trainers. Easy right? Dressing with style is something very few men pull off successfully. So whats the trick?
Dressing right depends on you, so giving blanket guidelines is a little tricky. But these are good baselines:
- Have a selection of plain grey, white or blue t-shirts that are clean and ironed
- Find your style of crazy shirt
- Find an ‘edgy’ outfit you’re comfortable in. Perhaps a colourful jacket, vintage jumper or other signature piece
- Have a suit jacket that you can wear on a casual basis
- Clean shoes are good. White trainers look good on most people
- Know how to tie a dress tie in at least a Windsor knot
Man skill: 9
So how many of these essential man skills do you already know? And are there any that we’ve missed off the list? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to share!