How to Improve Social Skills

 

Good social skills are fundamental for leading a successful life.

Effective social skills mean that a person has the ability to interact and communicate with other people.

The communication occurs both in the form of words and through body language. Communicating through words is called verbal communication. While you may think that this is how people communicate, most of the messages we send are actually through non-verbal signals.

These include gestures, tone of voice, body language, the volume of speech, and personal appearance. Non-verbal communication is actually received much more clearly than the words we use.

Lacking good social skills can come with some serious consequences. You may feel insecure about yourself and lack self-esteem because it is hard for you to relate to other people.

You may also develop anxiety about being in social situations because you doubt your ability to do well in them. Since you are concerned about interacting with others, you may find yourself avoiding social situations altogether.

This causes you to lose out on chances to practice getting better and also causes you to miss out on fun life experiences. Finally, since you feel so concerned, you may pick up bad behaviors because of your limited interactions, making you fall even further away from others.

 

If you have poor social abilities, you may spend some time wondering, “Why am I like this? Why is this so easy for everyone else and so hard for me?” There are a variety of factors that play into a person’s ability to be social.

Here are some reasons that you may relate to.

  • You may have some natural personality traits that make it harder for you to socialize. They include:
    • Being highly intelligent. People with a very high IQ tend to have difficulty socializing. Your brain may process information differently. While you are highly skilled in one way, you lack skills in others.
    • Being rigid. If you are set in your ways it may be difficult for you to work with others. Friendships and relationships are about compromise. If you cannot compromise, others will have trouble socializing with you.
    • Being extremely anxious. This may make you awkward or shy during conversations. Both can lead to having poor social skills.
  • You may have different interests than the majority of people in your social surroundings. This can make it difficult to carry or even start conversations.
  • Most of your interests are solitary activities. While being comfortable spending time with yourself is important, too much time alone can lead to isolation and poor social skills. This is exaggerated if most of your activities growing up were solitary. You would have missed fundamental opportunities to cultivate good social skills.
  • You had/have poor role models. Children learn habits from their parents, whether they are intentional lessons or not. If your parents or caregivers growing up struggled with their social skills, you may be working towards the same fate.
  • If you had an isolated childhood you may not have developed good social skills along with your peers. This may be the case if you lived a very sheltered life, moved around a lot, or were very sick as a child.

Social skills are important because they help develop relationships with other people. The relationships may be familiar, friendly, romantic, in the workplace, or even in online forums.

Good social skills provide several benefits to your life. Firstly, they allow you to communicate effectively. You are able to share your ideas and feelings with others in a clear and conscious manner. Other people will be able to understand your point of view. Additionally, effective communicators are able to express their thoughts in an assertive way rather than with aggression.

Good social skills also include being a good listener.

Social interactions are about give and take. It is your goal to provide your thoughts to the conversation and in turn receive the thoughts of the other people.

To do this, you must develop the ability to listen actively. Here, you pay attention to what the other person is trying to tell you. Listen to their words and notice their body language. When they are speaking, truly hear them. Do not let your mind think about what your response is going to be.

Don’t get distracted by your phone or your surroundings. Doing so causes you to miss important parts of their speech. Being an active listener will help you gain respect from others. When someone feels heard, they are more likely to open up and return the gesture. This is part of developing good working and personal relationships.

 

 

Conflict resolution is another key factor when working with other people. Everyone is different, so conflicts are going to arise. This is okay! Conflict can actually be a good thing as it allows people to see things from a different perspective.

 Imagine you and your colleague are tasked with developing a training program for new hires. One of you believes that the best way to train is through hands-on learning. The other thinks that creating a how-to manual is the best way.

How do you proceed? Sit down and listen to the other person’s point of view. Be open to recognizing the good in their idea. Often, you can come up with a solution that incorporates both of your ideas.

In this scenario, the solution could be to provide an at-a-glance guide to your company’s processes and hand it out during a hands-on training session. This way the new employees have a guide to look back on and remind them of what they learned in the session.

This is a win-win solution and the new employees also win because you have created an effective training program.

 Good social skills also provide you with the ability to manage your relationships. Again, these can be personal, romantic, or business relations. It is important to be able to not only build a relationship but maintain it as well.

For example, let’s say you are in a coffee shop on a Saturday afternoon. The person beside you strikes up a conversation about the weather. You continue to chat and discover that you have some common interests.

You feel you would like to get to know this person better so you ask them to meet again at the same time next week. They say yes. When you meet again, your goal should be getting to know them better.

This is where maintaining relationships is important. You have established a connection so now it is about how to further that connection and create a lasting bond.

 

Anger Management by Tony Sanders

 

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