6 Ways to Supercharge Your Social Skills
What Are Social Skills?
Social skills allow a person to engage in mutually enjoyable interactions with other humans. Good social skills involve being empathetic, listening, and having the ability to speak freely. Interacting with other people despite the presence of anxiety is also a social skill. When a person has great social skills their life tends to go better. Their social interactions are more numerous and more enjoyable. More opportunities come their way. Great social skills win a person more friends and more opportunities for connection and romance.
How Do I Improve My Social Skills?
Most humans desire to improve their social skills in some way or another. All improvement is relative. A shy person may want to learn to hold eye contact for more than a nanosecond. An already outgoing and charismatic extrovert may desire to be a better listener. To improve your social skills, first become aware of what areas you need to improve. Once you are aware of what you need to improve, you then practice deliberately and systematically. Here are 6 ways to supercharge your social skills.
Build and Maintain a Social Circle
It’s all too easy to let friendships and social contacts wither and die. Modern life can be fast and furious. Time is often of the essence! Sometimes our priorities get out of whack and we let important social contacts slip out of our lives. We are often too busy grinding our way through the rat race to maintain our friendships. To avoid this we need to cultivate a social circle and tend to it like we would a beautiful garden. Keep a list of the people that you want to keep in your social circle. Make sure that you contact these people as regularly as you need to to keep them in your life. Having the foundation of a strong social circle will enable you to supercharge your social skills from a place of confidence.
Deliberately Practice Being Social
Being social does not always come easy. Sometimes even the most extroverted of people are not in the mood to chat. It’s all too easy to keep oneself to oneself. To supercharge your social skills you need to practice regularly. And intelligent, systematic practice is most effective. Set targets, have goals. “Today I will have a small chat with three people.” “This week I will genuinely listen to every shop clerk I interact with.” Deliberate practice and goals will help you improve your social skills as efficiently as possible.
Become an Expert Listener
Listening is an absolutely crucial social skill. We’ve all had ‘conversations’ with people who don’t listen. Some people are clearly just waiting for their next chance to speak (usually about themselves). This is highly unattractive. People who don’t listen usually seem oblivious to the damage they are doing to their relationships. People who can listen well tend to be very popular conversation partners. Good listeners learn far more about the world than people who don’t listen. The psychologist Carl Rogers pioneered the technique of empathic listening. Listen to people so well that you can repeat back what they’ve said in a way that makes it clear that you get them.
Be Curious About Other People
Everybody has something to teach us. This is a profound truth that not enough people seem to grasp. When you are genuinely curious about people you want to connect with them and hear them. When you are genuinely curious you can forget about yourself to a healthy extent. When you forget about yourself and stop self-monitoring you can be spontaneous and flow. Get out of your own way by becoming genuinely curious about other people.
Pay Sincere Compliments
When you notice something positive about a person, tell them! Don’t miss an opportunity to make somebody feel good by genuinely complimenting them. Many people don’t compliment because they are afraid of looking silly or being rejected. Stepping into this fear repeatedly, by paying compliments, will supercharge your social skills.
Make Small Talk
People think their conversations need to be profoundly meaningful to be worthwhile. This is a big mistake. Smalltalk is the necessary first step in the vast majority of human interactions. Smalltalk is a crucial skill. To make good small talk you need to lower your standards, stop judging yourself, be boring! The purpose of small talk is to make people comfortable in each other’s presence. Practice small talk. Become brilliant at chit-chatting about the weather!
Reflect on Your Social Performance
Stay aware of the progress you are making with your social skills. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Regularly reflect on how you are doing in social interactions. Are you starting little chats in spite of your anxiety? Are you listening? Are you paying compliments? Monitor your progress in order to stay on track and make further improvements.
If you practice your social skills on a regular basis you will certainly improve. There is no end to the progress you can make in supercharging your social skills. Enjoy the journey!