Everyone needs social skills to thrive in modern society. After all, it’s what sparks human connection! Social skills are how we communicate with others, both verbally and non-verbally. They include gestures, body language, facial expressions, and so much more.
As social creatures, we use our social skills on a daily basis to communicate our thoughts and feelings. They allow us to interact with others and broaden our understanding of the world. They strengthen our existing relationships with family, friends, and colleagues, and can even be a powerful tool for making new acquaintances as well.
So what are some social skills everyone should add to their repertoire? Let’s explore our top 4!
1. Positive Body Language
Your body language speaks volumes and impressions are typically made in less than seven seconds. Before you even speak, people are decoding your body language to measure your trustworthiness, confidence, empathy and credibility.
Make yourself more approachable by smiling more, straightening your posture, and uncrossing your arms. For extra effect, you can also adjust your attitude, make eye contact, and lean in slightly to show interest and engagement. This can help you build new relationships and accurately communicate your thoughts and feelings during social encounters.
The importance of body language plays a significant role in your romantic, familial, platonic, and professional relationships. According to Forbes, “your use of personal space, physical gestures, posture, facial expressions, and eye contact can enhance, support, weaken, or even sabotage your impact as a leader.”
2. Active Listening
Active listening is a highly underrated skill that benefits any social situation. From listening to a friend venting about a problem to taking instructions from your supervisor, you needed this skill yesterday.
According to The Balance Careers, active listening involves “paying attention to the conversation, not interrupting, and taking the time to understand what the speaker is discussing.” It’s a fusion of critical thinking and problem-solving that benefits everyone involved.
- Our favorite active listening techniques include:
- Paraphrasing to demonstrate understanding
- Asking specific questions for further clarification
- Brief verbal affirmations like “I understand” or “sure”
Using nonverbal cues like nodding, eye contact, and leaning forward
3. Being a Team Player
Team settings can be challenging, especially if you’re used to taking the lead or being in charge. Whether you’re playing a team sport, joining a new club, or strengthening your relationship with friends, being a team player is important. It involves a lot of effective communication, trust, and strong listening skills.
No matter what the situation, take a moment to pause and consider what each person brings to the table. Do they offer fresh insights you’re unfamiliar with? What can you learn from them? How are you different or similar to each other? These questions can highlight different perspectives that can be especially valuable for character-building and widening your social network.
4. Being Committed
Holding a high standard for yourself and keeping your word is important. It’s also a significant factor that determines how others respect you. So what are some strategies for accomplishing that?
Be on time - Whoever coined the phrase “Early is on time, on time is late” was on to something. Make it a priority to be early for everything. If you’re running late due to unforeseeable events, make sure to notify the person you’re meeting with ASAP.
Keep your promises - Sticking to your word is critical for establishing trust. It goes a long way to express how much you value and appreciate the relationship and can do some serious damage when broken. Promises are meant to be taken seriously and should never be made if you have no intention of maintaining them.
Ask Questions - Questions are powerful tools that can unlock endless learning. It’s also a great way to express interest and improve your relationships, personal or work-related. Learn more about the power of asking questions in this article by the Harvard Business Review.
Remember, practice makes perfect! Developing these social skills is an ongoing process and progress can vary from person to person. Whether you’re using them at work, home, or with friends, these social skills can be a powerful tool for self-development and broadening your social circle. Get started by choosing your favorite and putting it into practice today!