Do you want to improve your social skills whether for general day-to-day interaction, promoting yourself as an author or creative, or perhaps to progress in your job? In today’s technology age, it’s easy to lose real social skills and rely on texting… yes texting is not a good form of communication. To make matters worse, your brain may be constantly worrying about what others think. It’s ok if you’re more introverted; you don’t have to be the heart of the party, but if you can develop your social skills (which like any other skill is an ongoing journey), you will have the advantage of connecting with more people who could be a great benefit to your life.
I was very much in that space, sometimes just speaking to someone, however through the years, I picked up various tools to progress. I am sharing three tips with you today.
Plan what you might talk about
Whilst you can’t predict what someone might say, you need to allow yourself to listen in social situations; it can be a good idea to plan a few points you might bring up or questions you can ask, especially planning some interesting questions that go past the point of ‘how are you?’ will give you a bit more confidence in the preparation for social events. I do this for speeches or interviews but without overplanning. I do this before dates and mentoring sessions too. There is a balance; don’t overdo it or else you might become too trapped in your head, but preparing some points of conversation can help. Think of fun and interesting things for conversation. You can even do what I do and write on a postcard.
Practice talking to yourself
This may sound crazy… but hey that’s me 🙂 Practising talking to yourself is the next step. It’s great planning a few points on what to talk about but it’s completely different saying it out loud. Again this comes back to confidence, although you can’t replicate an actual social situation itself without actually going, you can rehearse yourself speaking out loud. Experiment with your tone, experiment with your body language, and practice your eye contact in the mirror. I do this for speeches all the time. Again don’t overdo it but getting the practice out loud will give you an advantage.
Attend a social at least once a week
As I write this, it’s lockdown times but there are plenty of opportunities (if not more) to interact with people on zoom or even the phone, ideally face to face if you can though and you can see body signals. The more you practice speaking to people the stronger your social skills will become. Also don’t dismiss phone calls or conversations with close family or friends, appreciate them even more, take interest in what they are saying and make as much conversation as possible.
Having effective social skills in this day and age is no doubt going to give you an advantage. You don’t have to be the heart and soul of a party (probably a lockdown party) but if you take these small bits of advice and make them into easy habits, your social skills will increase. Happy socialising:)
Jonny Pardoe © February 2021
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