Social skills might be the most important of all the life skills. Those with excellent social skills will always have a job offer and plenty of friends. You’ll experience more career success and fulfilling relationships.
On the other hand, a lack of social skills can be a serious challenge to your success and enjoyment.
Cultivate these social skills and you’ll enjoy amazing results:
1. The ability to listen. Social skills are about communication. At any moment, one party is providing communication, and the other is receiving. Listening well is half the battle. There’s little more to good listening skills than giving your complete attention to the other person.
- Avoid looking around the room.
- Occasionally nod to show that you’re paying attention.
- Make relevant comments at the appropriate time.
- The other person should feel like they’re the most fascinating person in the world.
2. Smiling and maintaining proper eye contact. You’ll have more meaningful conversations if you’ll just smile and maintain an appropriate level of eye contact. Consider how you act when you don’t wish to speak to someone one minute longer than necessary. You avoid eye contact and smiling.
- Strike up a few conversations and smile. Look them in the eye. Notice how much better the conversation flows. People will appreciate it. Feel free to experiment.
- Observe others who find it easy to speak face to face. Notice how they smile and maintain eye contact.
3. Feeling at ease in social situations. Some naturally feel completely at ease in all social situations. The rest of us have varying degrees of comfort. When you’re anxious, your brain isn’t operating as well as it can be. It’s harder to be witty and charming when your heart feels like it’s going to burst forth from your chest.
- Others can sense when we’re anxious. It makes them anxious, too.
- Learn how to feel comfortable in all social situations.
4. Knowing how much to share and how much to probe. You’ve probably come across a few people that share too much, too soon. These same people also ask inappropriately personal questions too soon.
- The initial stage of a conversation with someone new is best left to topics that aren’t personal. There are times to discuss personal issues and your deepest, darkest secrets. That time is at least a few conversations down the road.
5. Building rapport. Building rapport is the ability to connect and move beyond the, “Gee, interesting weather we’ve been having. Huh?” Rapport is largely unconscious, but there are several behaviors that increase rapport:
- Mirroring the posture or mannerisms of the other person.
- Using the same vocabulary, volume, tone, and pace of speech.
- Showing comfort and confidence.
- Good eye contact.
6. Showing genuine interest in others. Not only will others be thrilled, you’ll be much more at ease, too. It’s easy to avoid feeling anxious in social situations when you’re focused on someone else.
- Ask questions. Ask the other person about things that are meaningful to them. Ask questions that show you’re interested and that you care. Maintain the conversation rather than letting it die.
Time spent on developing your social skills is time well spent. Even if you’ve struggled in the past with your social skills, you can quickly develop them. There are just a few fundamental skills that must be mastered. The world is full of people just waiting for you to use them for practice.