Man skills refers to the skills your Grandfather and Great Grandfather had but are slowly diminishing in our modern times. I’ve put together a list of some man skills that are both nice to have and essential for you to stand apart from pack.
It doesn’t matter if you are in the middle of a crisis or living your daily life, there are two things that you control.
Preparation and Response.
Not every situation will be life and death. While I can improve your preparation for battle, I can also help you be better prepared at home and to develop a variety of different essential skills.
The definition of “being a man” has changed pretty drastically in the last decade and the last century. There was a time it meant owning a farm, serving your feudal lord, or fighting in your country’s wars. Men needed to know how to build houses, raise animals, repair broken things, treat wounds, and so much more.
The average man of today needs a wide variety of skills, but they tend to be more technical and less physical than they once were. For example, a guy needs to know how to shave properly, how to care for children, and the ins and outs of computer-based jobs.
But not all the skills you need are going to be technology-based. There are a few vital skills you simply cannot do without:
Man Skills Basics
Breaking Down a Door
Why would you need to be able to break down a door? Seems like a skill that’s showy but useless, doesn’t it?
There is nothing more amazing then watching a door get blown off its hinges by a good ram strike or kick. Not every situation is tactical in nature and you don’t always walk around with a 40 lb mechanical ram to get yourself or your loved ones out of a jam. This is why you need specific man skills.
Think about what you’d do if you were trapped in a burning building and needed to get out. Or you were outside the building and your family was inside. Perhaps your spouse, parent, or child is locked inside a bathroom and in need of medical attention. Breaking down a door can save lives!
So how do you break down a door?
• Drive your shoulder into the door. The impact won’t open the door, and there’s a chance it will injure your shoulder. I’ve witnessed this far too many times during my police career and saw it work once on a paper thin door.
• Do a fancy kick. This isn’t time to show off your martial arts skills by doing a leaping kick that cracks the door in half. Simple and efficient= effective.
• Know which way the door opens. If the door opens outward, there’s no way you’re kicking it in. The door frame will reinforce the door and prevent it from opening. You’ll only succeed when kicking a door that swings inward.
• Use a front or mule kick. Firefighters and police who actually know what they are doing both employ two different techniques for kicking open a door: the front kick (facing the door) and the mule kick (with your back to the door). For the front kick, bring your knee to your chest, drive your weight down into your rear foot, and lean forward as you drive your heel into the door. For the mule kick, turn your back to the door, bring your knee up, and kick it backward with all the force of your legs and core. Both kicks are effective—try them both to see which work for you. Personally I have had far more success with a donkey kick.
• Kick the door right beside the lock. The lock is the “weak spot” on the door. The carpenter had to drill a hole in the door to install the lock, meaning the structure of the door is compromised. That is where you’re going to have the best chance of breaking the door/lock with your kick.
You’re not going to break the lock with the kick—instead, the force of your kick will splinter the wood of the door frame or the door. Most modern doors are made with softer wood or pre-fabricated materials that will crack or splinter on impact. Older wooden doors will be made of solid materials, so they may be harder to break.
If the door doesn’t give on the first try, adjust your aim, correct your stance, and keep trying. Follow the steps above precisely and that door will come down!
The ability to speak in public or what is known as being a good orator, is an asset that every man needs to develop if they want to go the distance professionally. I found this particularly important when giving briefings where higher ranked offers were in attendance. When you have command over your subject matter and can deliver the message with the correct balance of voice inflexion and passion, you will find yourself advancing in ways you didn’t know were possible.
It doesn’t matter if you’re an accountant, a blogger, or a high-powered executive: to be recognized as an authority, you need to be able to converse on that subject comfortably in public. You may not have to speak in front of massive crowds of people, but you certainly do need the ability to communicate clearly and efficiently in a seminar, presentation, or meeting.
It takes a certain degree of self-confidence to speak in public. Build up your confidence and your self-esteem, and spend time talking to others and being more outgoing.
A lot of people are naturally shy in public. It’s hard to swallow your nervousness to speak in front of crowds. Nerves can cause your voice to crackle and your mind to spin, but you can overcome it.
Here are a few things you can do:
• Practice in front of a mirror. This will help you to hear and see yourself as you talk, so you can fix your posture, voice patterns, and body language.
• Record yourself. Listen to your voice and see what your strengths and weaknesses are. Work on training away those weaknesses and focus on your strengths.
• Just do it. It shouldn’t matter how nervous you are—you still have to get up and speak, so just do it. Sometimes a bit of “grinning and bearing it” is enough to get you over the initial nervousness.
• Practice on someone else. Ask a friend, spouse, child, or coworker if you can rehearse the speech with them. Take their feedback seriously and use it to improve your delivery.
• Remember that everyone gets nervous. The vast majority of public speakers will feel the same nervousness and jitters you’re feeling. Don’t let it get to you!
Toastmasters International have some amazing tips to help you speak better in public:
• Know your material. A wise man once said, “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” The more you know your material and the more passionate you are about it, the easier it will be to talk about it. Without question this is the most critical component to being successful at public speaking.
• Know your audience. The way you talk to a group of CEOs is very different than the way you’d talk to a group of teenagers, a book club, or a crowd of software developers. Speak the language of the people you’re trying to communicate with!
• Prepare for questions. Spend time before the speech rehearsing answers to questions you might be asked. You may not be able to prepare for all the questions, but a bit of prep work will make you more confident on the stage.
• Organize yourself. Know how your speech or presentation is going to go before you walk onto stage. Have it laid out into a neat sequence of talking points and it will go much more smoothly.
• Rely on visual aids. Visual aids take the spotlight off you, so you don’t have to feel nervous that everyone in the room is staring at you.
• Prepare for mistakes. More than that, be OKAY with mistakes. You’re bound to say something wrong or do something foolish. Prepare yourself to recover from mistakes with dignity, maybe even a joke to get people laughing. A mistake can help you break the ice, but it doesn’t have to derail your presentation.
• Get familiar with the locale. Unfamiliar surroundings can make you nervous. Spend a few minutes before your speech or event learning the layout of the stage or presentation room. It will be one less thing to worry about.
• Speak properly. Take your time with the presentation. Don’t talk too fast or rush your speech, but make sure to enunciate each word clearly. Avoid the use of clever metaphors or jargon, and be wary when making jokes.
• Be aware of your unspoken communication. Body language, eye contact, posture, clothing, and hand gestures all communicate in ways words never can. Spend time practicing your presentation or speech with all the right non-verbal communication techniques.
• DO NOT READ FROM NOTES! If there is one thing guaranteed to bore your audience, it’s you reading from a script or notes. You can have cue cards to keep you on-topic, but don’t read off a script. Know your material beforehand and speak in a conversational tone of voice.
• Be passionate. This is the most important aspect of public speaking. Passion communicates more clearly than any technical jargon or impressive know-how. Be passionate about the subject and it will infect the people watching you talk.
For those who want to improve their public speaking skills, consider joining Toastmasters International. It’s an excellent way to get expert feedback on your public speaking skills and real advice that can help you to be more comfortable and confident when speaking in public.
Of course, there are always online courses to help you master the art of public speaking:
These courses will walk you through the process of public speaking and help you to be prepared to get up in front of an audience and be confident as you talk.
Cook a Meal
Yes, a good man knows his way around the kitchen as well as the toolshed and the PC. There are very few things that women love more than a man that can cook. If you have the ability to prepare and serve her a romantic meal from scratch, you can bet your boots that will earn you major “bedroom fun time points”. It’s also a skill that will help you to carry the load of keeping with your house and family.
There are a few basic techniques ALL men need to know to cook a good meal:
• Chopping onions and garlic
• Slicing tomatoes
• Frying eggs
• Cooking pasta
• Leveling off flour
• Creaming butter and sugar
• Cutting lettuce for a salad
• Browning ground beef’
• Peeling veggies
• Cooking a steak
• Pounding meat for tenderness
• Cutting raw meat
Here are some great resources to help you learn the basics:
• Basic Cooking Lessons on The Spruce. These lessons cover everything from grocery shopping to reading recipes to food safety to simple appetizers, side dishes, main dishes, and desserts.
• CookSmarts. This 6-week cooking course will walk you through the basic skills needed to dominate the kitchen.
• The Kitchn. This course is 20 days long and teaches you the 20 most important cooking skills to master.
Of course, you can always watch YouTube videos to help you see how the cooking is done. There are dozens of amazing YouTube channels run by professional chefs, food bloggers, and cooking websites that can teach you everything you need to know about food prep. Here are a few of my favorite:
Brothers Green Eats – If you like eating healthy and “green” (with plenty of high-fiber foods), you’ll love the videos on this channel.
Sorted Food – This cooking channel is as entertaining as it is informative. The guys who run the channel make learning how to cook fun yet offer a lot of valuable information that will help you master delicious meals.
Tastemade – This channel gives you a lot of very interesting recipes from around the world, most of which are fairly easy to prepare. If you feel ready to step up your cooking game, give them a view.
Jamie Oliver – Few people master healthy, natural cooking and eating like the UK’s Jamie Oliver. His channel offers a breathtaking array of recipes from around the world.
Gordon Ramsey – Think you’re ready to tackle some high-level meals? Gordon Ramsey’s channel has more mouth-watering dishes than you’ll find anywhere else, and step-by-step guides on how to prepare the meals. He also gives a lot of useful information about everything from food prep to knife skills to cleanliness to kitchen safety.
These are the YouTube channels that will turn you from a Homer Simpson into a true home chef!
Being a man is so much more than just being “strong and silent”; you need to be a versatile, well-rounded person in order to be a proper modern man. The three skills listed here are just the beginning.
Hemingway said, “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.” These man skills will help you to do just that!