Social Skills: How Can You Get Round People?

May 17, 2019

When was the last time you went out of your way to talk to someone? Some of you may be introverts being dragged into a social event, forced by an extrovert with adept social skills to interact with complete strangers. In a situation like this, it’s okay to feel nervous because although born as social beings, humans don’t inherently have perfect social skills. It’s a skill after all, and it can be learned.

The way you talk, gesture, interact, smile, stand, sit, place your hand or tilt your body – social skills range from verbal to non-verbal cues that you display in any social setting.

How do you know if you have great social skills? Consider these: Can you behave correctly in a social situation? Read both verbal and non-verbal cues exhibited by other people? Can you swoop into a conversation and carry it on with ease? If your answer is yes, then you probably have fine social skills.

Now you might think, “This is the digital age. Why should I learn social skills if I can just talk to people online?”

Here’s why.

Getting better at your social skills goes beyond interviews or parties – it helps you improve your confidence and refine your personality. So the next time you want to impress a college admissions team, you’ll be able to pull it off spectacularly. Moreover, studies show that social skills are important for successful group work and cooperative learning. It’s not solely about waving and smiling at people – social skills are also about enhancing both yours and your group’s efficiency.

On a rather serious note, research shows that poor social skills is a cause of depression, as well as a factor of vulnerability in the development of depression. So you see, improving social skills is not only about getting good with people, but also about your mental health.

So how can you go from being ‘socially awkward and vulnerable’ to being ‘the life of the party’? Here are four simple steps to improve your social skills:

  • Greet

If you want to improve your social skills, start off by doing something as simple as greeting someone – either by smiling, waving or saying ‘hello’. It’s as easy as posting a story on Instagram, or hitting someone up with a quick text.

Challenge yourself: the next time you enter your classroom, a cafe, or a party, greet a person within 60 seconds – right before you start overthinking about the interaction. Improving your social skills depends on the initiative you take to make the effort.

  • Make small talk

Are you bad at making small talk? Yes, discussing the weather can be boring, but it can be a good opener to kickstart a conversation. It doesn’t always have to be boring either. If you stay up-to-date with the current events, you can easily strike up an interesting conversation, or join in on other intriguing conversations.

Don’t forget to keep up with the recent trends to appeal to your circle – relate with them as much as possible. Maybe your classmates are raving over the ending of Game of Thrones, or discussing the Bermuda Triangle, or complaining about the potholes on the road. Give your feedback when necessary and don’t hesitate to ask questions. Afterall, continuous engagement can help you with enhancing your social skills even more.

  • Listen

Initiating a small talk will be meaningless if don’t listen to the other person to keep the conversation going. Developing social skills includes listening with the intent to understand, not just to reply. Don’t drone on and on about your issues – consider their input and see things from their perspective as well.

Another thing to note to polish your social skills is staying unbiased when you’re listening to other people. Of course, this shouldn’t stop you from expressing your views, but it’s essential to let them know that their input is valuable in the conversation. The last thing you want is to be a ‘sentence stopper’, putting in your opinion by interrupting others – you’ll only put a chink on your social skills.

  • Communicate with more than words

Have you ever been in a situation where you were trying to say something but the other person understood a completely different thing? Maybe you wanted to genuinely thank them, but since you didn’t smile, it came off as a sarcastic retort. You see, non-verbal cues are equally important for improving social skills.

Non-verbal cues cover over 90 percent of whatever you’re communicating, which means that if you’re nodding your head while declining an offer, you’re confusing the other person. Your social skills depend on how you come off to the person. For instance, maintaining eye contact and sitting straight can make the other person feel like you’re being attentive to them. So it’s not about what you say, but what you do as well.

At Samriddhi School, we feel that social skills are important for our students to excel in the future. Considering this, we have incorporated interactive learning, presentations, extensive group-based assignments, and extra-curricular activities into our curriculum for the grade XI/XII management stream.

Contact us for more information.

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