If you have ever found yourself being awkward at social events, developing your social skills is something you will need to work on; otherwise, it can negatively impact your personal and professional growth. Whether you own a business or do a regular job, trying to succeed in your work is mighty hard work if you don’t regularly improve your basic social skills. There are so many different things that come into play. It’s even harder when you just happen to be an introvert who is not well-practiced at being social or regularly talking to people.
Statistics show that 15 million American adults suffer from social anxiety disorders, and they feel apprehensive about talking about it openly.
However, many introverted people have developed social skills for their business. It may not be easy to do if you have an introverted personality, but it’s definitely possible. With a bit of courage and coming out of your comfort zone, you can undeniably become more of a social person.
Being social doesn’t have to be stressful as we make it out to be. You don’t have to put yourself in a series of panic attacks to become more social. It won’t happen overnight, but becoming more social can be accomplished if you take the proper steps.
What Exactly Are Social Skills?
The typical definition of “Social Skills” refers to how we communicate with others through our verbal skills, gestures, facial expression, and body language.
Social skills are an essential aspect of connecting with other people on an emotional level. Different people use different social skills as a way to interact with others. Some of the examples are mentioned below.
Here Is A List Of Examples Of Social Skills:
- Active listening
- Effective communication
- Respect towards others
Do You Shine In One-To-One Conversation Or Group Discussions?
When do you feel less stressed and actually enjoy having a conversation? Is it in a one-to-one or larger audience? Know your strengths and try to play safely, at least initially.
Perhaps you interact incredibly well in a one-to-one conversation with your own strategies. But the same cannot be implemented while talking in a group discussion. You need different social skills for a group discussion which is unique from the one necessary for one-to-one conversation.
In A Group Discussion, The Following Skills Are A Must-Have:
- Public Speaking
Whereas, In A One-To-One Conversation, The Following Skills Are Essential:
- Active Listening
- Talk slowly and clearly.
- Make eye contact.
- Compliment others.
- Express your opinions with emotions.
Why Are Social Skills Important?
Did you know that according to a study by the University of Arizona, those who struggle in social events may be at a higher risk for physical and mental illness?
It’s because people who lack basic social skills can feel more stress and loneliness, resulting in physical ailments of overall well-being. Humans are meant to interact with others to survive, but failing to do so can cause loneliness, which in the long run can severely affect an individual’s health.
Social skills are developed over time, starting from your childhood and throughout life. But, according to researchers, one of the biggest reasons for the lack of social skills is technology.
Nevertheless, improving your social skills is crucial if you want to enhance the quality of your life.
Advantages Of Social Skills
1. Healthy Relationships
Social skills can enhance the quality of your relationship, whether it’s personal or professional. When you develop your social skills, you become a person full of personality in front of others.
And people tend to be more attracted to those who are strong in character. All these positively increase the quality of your relationships and eliminate stress and tension from your life.
2. Effective Communication
Effective communication is one of the top soft skills you can use to socialize with others. After all, you can not have excellent social skills if you cannot properly communicate your thoughts to others.
3. Career Growth
Research shows that social skills are a crucial factor in an employee’s success, and it plays a significant role in determining one’s career growth.
It is impossible to stay without interacting with coworkers in a working space. Developing social skills gives you an edge over those who don’t possess the basic soft skills that most organizations look for these days.
4. Make More Friends
One of the amazing benefits of practicing a list of social skills is to learn how to make friends easily. But, unfortunately, it often becomes difficult for people without social skills to make friends after moving to a new city.
With the right set of social skills, people who once struggled bonding with new people learn the tricks needed to build a new relationship.
Furthermore, studies claim that good social skills aids in the development of positive peer relationships among school children, which further enhances their academic achievements.
Tips on How To Improve Your Social Skills In Real Life
1. Take Baby Steps
Going out and interacting with people can be so daunting if you’re not a social person.
Poor social skills can lead one to have the following issues:
- Anxiety attacks
- Panic attacks
So don’t rush into meeting people at large events while starting. You’ll end up draining your energy and never wanting to socialize. Instead, start with something small and simple.
For instance, greet a stranger and start a conversation with them at a coffee house. Wave at someone that you don’t know.
You do not have to go and interact with many people immediately. But, first, dip your toe in the water before you dive headfirst.
2. Go Out Often
In this modern digital age, where everyone is busy being active on social media all day, it can adversely affect social skills.
Studies show that 75% of teenagers own mobile phones, and they log onto their favorite social media more than ten times a day.
The number is quite concerning, as it shows that most teenagers have forgotten to have a good face-to-face interaction separate from virtual life. This can later impact their social life, too, when they step into adulthood.
Being on social media all day doesn’t count to having social skills in real life. Going out and meeting people is an effective way to brush up on your social skills.
Here are a few places where you can start meeting people:
- Public library
- Local community clubs.
- Cooking or baking class in your local.
- Social skills support group.
3. Give Genuine Compliments
We all love genuine compliments, and there’s nothing better than offering praise to start a conversation with someone. And giving compliments isn’t that hard either.
Just like how you practice gratitude by acknowledging all the good incidents in your life, offering compliments to others is a similar tool that can improve your social skills.
Here Are Some Ways You Can Present Compliments To Others:
- Appreciate your friend for always supporting you.
- Praise a coworker for the presentation they gave.
- Tell a stranger that you love what they are wearing.
4. Remember Their Birthday
Almost every one of us remembers who wished us on our birthdays.
Remember their birthdays, names, and stories that they share. It means a lot for people and can take your social skills to the next level.
For example, if a colleague mentions something about their child named – Sara, the next time you meet, check with them about their child if they are doing well.
5. Ask Open-Ended Questions
Asking questions is a great way to divert attention from you to others. Mostly, people with poor social skills dread small talk as it can cause anxiety to them. A practical way to overcome this problem is asking the other person questions which don’t have a generic yes or no answer.
People love it when you ask them a question that provokes them to talk about themselves, and it will also relieve them from unnecessary stress and anxiety.
If you want to improve your social skills, start asking appropriate questions.
Examples Of Open-Ended Questions To Improve Social Skills:
- What do you do in your job?
- Why do you feel it is the best job for you?
- How did you realize this job is the best for you?
You May Follow The Below Points Whenever You’re Asking A Question:
- Always ask follow-up questions to dive deep into the conversation.
- Do not interrupt the other person when they are answering.
- Instead, actively listen to what they are talking about and lead them to your next question.
Asking open-ended questions allows us to understand potential customers’ pain points and close deals efficiently.
6. Practice In Front Of A Mirror Or Video Camera
It may sound crazy, but talking in front of the mirror or phone camera does help with a confidence boost for people who lack basic social skills.
Claude Bristol, the author of the self-help book “The Magic Of Believing,” believed that talking in front of the mirror boosts your self-image by bringing a positive change in your mindset.
True, the first time you look into the mirror and talk, you’ll feel discomfort. But only after a couple of practices later, you’ll get accustomed to the feeling and start enjoying the process.
Here’s A List Of Affirmations That You Can Practice To Improve Your Social Skills:
- I am confident.
- I make genuine friends with ease.
- The conversation is fun for me.
- I radiate positivity, and that helps me attract positive people.
- I genuinely love interacting with new people.
7. Read Books Related To Social Skills
People who lack basic social skills can overcome their issues by going through therapy. But not everyone can afford to consult a therapist. That’s why reading books related to social skills is a great way to deal with this problem.
There are books available that talk about practical ways to improve social skills. For example, you can buy the book “How To Win Friends And Influence People” by Dale Carnegie.
However, you need to implement the teachings in real life and practice them consistently.
8. Practice Good Ettiquettes
Etiquettes matter as it reflects how respectful you’re towards other people, and it’s a fundamental element for developing some basic social skills. Practicing good etiquette and showing friendly behavior can take you far in improving your social skills.
Be polite and show gratitude towards people you interact with. But, most importantly, do not talk negatively and stay away from gossips.
9. Pay Attention To Your Body Language
Your body language matters a lot as it reflects non-verbal communication, making the other person comfortable whenever you have a conversation. For example, mirroring body posture denotes you agree with the other person. However, it could also mean that you like them.
Maintain direct eye contact as it shows that you’re effectively listening to what the other person is saying.
Do not forget to keep your stance more relaxed, as when you stay calm, people around you will loosen up too.
10. Be Nice
Being nice to the people you meet daily can improve your social skills significantly without you noticing it. So talk to your mailman, neighbor, or even your dog walker!
In a study published by the Journal of Social Psychology, it was found that people who expressed kindness to others daily experienced an enhanced level of happiness.
Hence, don’t feel tense while expressing gratitude and kindness towards other people.
For instance, when you meet your neighbor in the elevator, greet them with a “good morning or good evening.” Well, you know what we mean!
But don’t overdo it, which leads us to the next point.
11. Don’t Fake It & Be Your Real Self
Lastly, don’t forget to embrace your authentic self. We often make the mistake of fitting in where we don’t even belong. After all, we all seek a sense of belonging from others.
However, it’s essential to remain honest with your own morals and values whenever you want to build a new relationship.
In a study conducted on 505 Chinese participants including students and adults, researchers found that being authentic among other things like relationship satisfaction can boost one’s self-esteem.
Being social, especially as an introverted person, is quite a task. It requires time and consistent practice before you truly become a natural social butterfly. Learning to conquer your lack of social skills is vital as it can get you far in life.
What tips do you have for being social? If you are an introvert who isn’t used to being in social situations, what makes you want to change that?
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Key Takeaways On How To Improve Your Social Skills And Reach Great Potential At Work
- Social skills are the skills we use to communicate with others effectively.
- For example, empathy, active listening, critical thinking, and good behavior are social skills.
- According to a study, people with a lack of social skills are at risk of depression and loneliness.
- Developing social skills can help one have healthy relationships, effective communication, and career growth in life.
- Start small and do not rush to meet people at large events.
- For instance, you can greet a stranger and start a conversation with them at a coffee house.
- Go out more often and interact with people in libraries, community clubs, cooking classes, etc.
- You can also give genuine compliments to others as this will make them feel appreciated.
- Always ask open-ended questions that have follow-up questions, as people love it when you allow them to talk.
- Choose to read books about the importance of social skills and a practical way to implement them in real life.
- Etiquettes matter, so practice good manners whenever you’re in a public space.
- Lastly, maintain confident body language while conversing with others.
How Can I Improve My Social Skills?
- Show genuine interest in others.
- Ask open-ended questions and follow up.
- Actively listen and communicate.
- Read books on personal development.
- Work on your body language.
Does Social Media Improve Social Skills?
You can not improve your interpersonal skills by being on social media all day. You have to go out, meet with people, and regularly interact to better your soft skills.
How Does Technology Affect Our Social Skills?
Social media interactions aren’t the same as having a face-to-face interaction. Studies have shown that students who spend most of their time on technology may be at risk of depression due to a lack of social skills.
How To Work On Social Skills At Home?
- Read a story out loud to small kids.
- Talk with the mailman or plumber guy.
- Give compliments to your neighbor.
- Join your local volunteering community.
What Are The Basic Lists Of Social Skills?
- Effective communication.
- Active listening.
- Empathy and cooperation.
- Good behavior and respect for others.