How to Improve Your Social Skills
Have you ever noticed that little shy guy in your class or street? That person that whenever he is forced to say something in a crowd; well because he’d never want to make contributions without being forced to because he suffers social anxiety and would rather avoid social situations at every cost. When this person finally opens his mouth to say something, everyone just goes mute, not because he is saying something incorrectly but because of the social awkwardness that comes with his speech.
What Exactly are Social Skills?
Social Skills are the set of skills utilized in communications and interactions with people. This includes verbal and non-verbal, gestures, body language and even personal appearance.
Human beings are naturally social creatures, but this doesn’t mean that they are ‘gods’ at it. The ability to interact effectively is not in everyone. While some people find it easy to talk in crowds, others find it difficult to have a 1-minute conversation with a stranger at the park. It is important that everyone desire and thrive to improve their social skills in order to communicate effectively.
Studies have shown that improving social skills has an ability to improve mental health. It also helps in reducing stress and anxiety. You’d agree with me that when you are able to communicate effectively about how you feel about certain things, there is this relief that comes with it.
While avoiding social situations may look like a way you can deal with your lack of good social skills, it is not a solution to it. Avoiding social situations would neither help you build up the confidence you’d require to interact with others nor help you develop communication skills that would increase your chance of having a good social relationship with others.
Social skills are very important in facilitating communication and interaction with others. Social skills include non-verbal and verbal communication. Communication is the key to developing strong social skills. Having effective communication skills will expose you to quality relationships with people.
There are 3 important skills that make up a good social skill. They include;
1. Non-verbal communication
This is largely done in the most part of communication. It is important to know that your body language is as important as the words you speak when socializing. A lot of people struggle with making eye contact or having an unreceptive facial expression when communicating. The person you are talking to may interpret these body languages as ‘I am not interested in talking to you’. While you may not mean that, the person got that vibe and would kindly leave the conversation abruptly, and you on the other end would be wondering why. Having good social skills means that your words, eyes and body languages must all say the same thing. If not, you’d end up in miscommunication.
2. Verbal communication
This is described as conversational skills. Starting a conversation might be a bit of a struggle in the first few minutes of meeting a person; while some people may talk so little, others may talk too much in the bid to hide their social anxiety and this can easily leave the person on the other end with a negative impression about you. To maintain good social skills, you should be able to start a conversation with someone and keep the conversation going by making small talks or finding a common ground.
3. Assertive communication
This describes an honest expression about what you want and the way you feel while respecting that of others. Nobody wants to have a conversation with someone that agrees with everything they say; this, however, describes a passive communication style. An assertive communication style allows you to have genuine relationships with others, allows you to have control of your life and also helps you avoid forcing your beliefs down the throat of others.
Looking to improve your social skills, this article highlights 5 strategies that would help your social skills.
1. Get out of your head
Stop communicating with just yourself. You would not improve your social skills if you do not leave your head and your house. Go out! This doesn’t necessarily mean go partying or clubbing. The more you go out, the more comfortable you would feel in public gatherings. Go for events; you can choose to go for a book opening or reveal. Find hobbies; if you like dancing, you can opt for dance lessons. This would put you in a place with people you share the same interest with and thus communication would be easier.
2. Have good vibes
It is good to think of what you are about to say before saying it but avoid overthinking. Having the most perfect thing to say is not as important as having fun and sharing positive energy with others. Feel good in yourself and smile. Don’t be a boring person, find ways to laugh. But don’t try too hard.
3. Be present
Improved social skills mean that you should also learn to focus on other people as much as you focus on yourself. Ask them about themselves, take note of what they like and avoid trying to listen with the intent of replying. People generally enjoy been around those who like them. Listen for those things you share in common and let them know about it too.
4. Learn to give people space
While you are trying to improve your social skills, you may think that bombarding people with conversations all the time is the way to go. This is the complete opposite. It is okay to just sit in silence and talk about nothing. Sometimes people are in a mood and do not want to talk about anything. It is important that you are able to identify when to just stop talking and give people the space they need.
5. Be yourself
Stop worrying about if people would like you or not and concentrate on being yourself. Being yourself doesn’t mean you should create excuses for your bad behaviors by saying ‘that’s just the way I am’. Understand that you are flawed like every other person and be open to getting rid of bad traits and embrace good ones. Let people know the things you like and things you are good at doing. This information will help them understand you better and like you for being self-aware.
The relationship you build with others is important in achieving success. Good social skills will help you learn and grow while adding a bit of fun in your life. No matter how smart you are, it is necessary that you have good social skills. It would put you at heights you never seemed possible.