How To Develop Social Skills
Social skills are often referred to as interpersonal or soft skills. Social skills are skills that are used in communicating with people on daily basis. These skills include verbal, non-verbal, written, and visual means of communication.
Verbal skills involve the use of spoken words, while non-verbal communication includes body language, eye contact, and facial expressions. Having strong social skills can help you to build and maintain successful relationships professionally and personally.
Social skills such as communication, interpersonal, and listening skills are useful not just to your personal life but also to your professional life. In the workplace, these skills can be an important aspect of staff interaction, collaboration, and planning.
Examples Of Social Skills
The examples of social skills include:
- Empathy: Empathy provides an individual with the opportunity of understanding another person’s feelings, thoughts, and ideas. Having empathy in the workplace can foster healthy work relationships between co-workers. When you understand your colleague’s perspectives, respect their ideas, and feel comfortable providing your own input to the subject of discussion, collaborating effectively and finding successful workplace solutions will not be difficult.
- Interpersonal skills: Having in-depth knowledge of how to interact with others can help you engage in workplace discussions without biases. Identifying and interpreting social cues like understanding your co-worker’s current mood, plays a huge role in developing healthy work relationships which can open doors to great career opportunities in the future.
- Intrapersonal skills: Intrapersonal skills involve the capability of understanding your own thoughts, ideas, and emotions. Developing your intrapersonal skills(s) may include using appropriate ways to express your ideas, knowing when to share your opinions in a professional situation, and the ability to set social boundaries and goals for yourself.
- Communication skills: Communication which is the lifeblood of human existence is a crucial aspect of life that should not be neglected.
Effective communication skills such as active listening, and written, and non-verbal skills are essential in your career. If you interact with customers, the tendency of learning and developing active listening skills to help your customers to solve problems is inevitable.
How To Develop Social Skills
Developing social skills can be beneficial in every aspect of life. Social skills are important because they can help you to communicate your ideas effectively.
Here are different ways to develop your social skills:
- Interact with others: No human can survive in isolation. As an individual, always look for ways to engage in conversations with your friends, family, and co-workers. For example, always make an attempt to offer strategies on how to move the organization to a greater height in your next board meeting.
- Ask open-ended questions: Asking open-ended questions is a proven way of getting people to talk. Open-ended questions give you an opportunity of knowing and understanding people better. Engaging in an open-ended question can help your listener or the person whom you are interacting with feel valued which can have a positive impact on the existing relationship. Oftentimes, co-workers may acknowledge being asked open-ended questions because it shows that you are interested in their ideas.
- Observations: Observation is a great way of developing your social skills. Take note of the non-verbal/verbal way your co-workers or people around you communicate and how they respond to questions. Understand and study what makes your conversations effective and engaging. Through observation, you can improve your social skills.
- Maintain eye contact: Maintaining eye contact is very crucial in enhancing your social skills. During conversations, try to maintain eye contact with the person that you are communicating with.
Learning how to maintain eye contact, it is advisable to practice with a close co-worker/friend that you are comfortable with. Inform them that you are practicing with them to improve your ability to maintain eye contact when discussing with people.
- Develop listening skills: While discussing with people, always make sure that you pay attention to what the person is saying. It is not enough that you engage someone in a conversation, it is also important to be an active listener. Being an active listener encourages people to feel comfortable sharing their ideas with you.
You can practice your listening skills by maintaining eye contact using the non-verbal approach of communication which involves: nodding when you are following what the person is saying or in agreement with what the person has said.
- Offer compliments: Everyone loves to receive genuine compliments either from co-workers, friends, or family members. Complimenting others on a job done well is a great way to demonstrate friendliness and appreciation.
A compliment can act as an opening to a larger/deeper conversation. Do not just give compliments, give genuine compliments.
- Invite a co-worker to lunch: One of the easiest yet interesting ways to develop your social skills is by inviting your co-worker to lunch. Building relationships especially in the case of an introvert can be challenging, but it is important you build relationships with people, one person at a time to avoid getting overwhelmed. As you build more relationships, and connect on a one-on-one level with people who work in different industries, this will help you to grow your professional network and gain a better knowledge of how the work you do affects other industries.
- Be current: Staying up-to-date on current events and news stories can give you topics to talk about with other people. For example, you can subscribe to local news alerts or industry-specific newsletters to have content sent directly to you or you can also tune into relevant television channels to stay abreast of the things that are happening within and outside your environment.
Why You Should Develop Social Skills
Developing your social skills allows you to communicate and connect with other people without hassle. Building your social skills is important for establishing friendships and navigating your way through life with a better degree of satisfaction.
Here are the reasons why you should develop your social skills:
- Communication skills: Developing your social skills is a great way of building your communication skills. Relating with people and being able to work in large groups develop one’s communication skills. Remember, you can’t have great social skills without good communications skills.
- Build healthy relationships: You can’t advance very far in life without being able to leverage on relationships. Focusing on relationships will help you to advance in your job, grow your network, and have access to better opportunities.
- Career growth: Developing your social skills can provide room for career growth.