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13 Ways To Improve Social Skills And Make You Sociable

If you struggle to start a conversation with someone or nobody is listening to you when you speak, you might want to learn how to improve your social skills. Social skills, unlike computer science or mathematics, are usually learned through experiences.

It could be tough to learn social skills if you have not been part of any traditional social groups since young. Not having positive role models when you are young or experiencing mental health disorders like anxiety or depression can also contribute to poor social skills.

In this article, you will learn what social skills are and why social skills are important in your daily life and interactions with others. We will also share 13 ways on how you can develop and improve your social skills.

13 Ways To Improve Social Skills And Make You Sociable

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What are Social Skills?

Social skills cannot be characterized as a single skill as they are made up of a cluster of skills and actions. Social skills are abilities that allow you to communicate and engage with others in any situation.

It is a crucial skill to have when you need to expand your networks, prepare for an interview and build authentic relationships with others. We communicate and express ourselves verbally and non-verbally through our gestures, facial expressions, and body language.

At the same time, we also observe the person’s reactions and responses. We would then start weighing what would be an acceptable response in that particular situation.

What are Social Skills

13 Ways on How to Develop and Improve Social Skills

In this text, we will discover a list of 13 ways that will help you improve your social skills.

  1. Ask open-ended questions
  2. Develop your emotional intelligence
  3. Learn to read body language
  4. Be an active listener
  5. Show respect
  6. Be confident
  7. Have a positive mindset
  8. Stand up to your values
  9. Show appreciation to others
  10. Communicate clearly
  11. Ask for feedback
  12. Be authentic
  13. Identify and replace negative thoughts

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Ask open-ended questions

Great conversation is the foundation to communicate and engage with people. However, you may not know where to begin when trying to improve your social skills. It is not like you can always plan ahead of time before talking to someone because you can’t predict what the topic of conversation would be.

To overcome this problem, you can always start a conversation by asking an open-ended question. By asking open-ended questions, you allow others to tell you more about themselves. When you understand their interests and passions, you can connect with others at a deeper level and have great conversations.

Develop your emotional intelligence

Emotionally intelligent individuals are aware of their own emotions as well as the emotions of people around them. Emotional intelligence also refers to being empathetic to people with whom you interact.

Your actions and behaviors are always guided by the emotional information you receive from others. By improving your emotional intelligence, you will become more understanding of others, making you an approachable person to others.

Having high self-awareness is also critical in social situations. When you don’t understand what a person is saying, high emotional intelligence allows you to talk calmly and ask questions to clarify.

Learn to read body language

Do you know that 93% of your communication comes from non-verbal communication? Non-verbal communication refers to your body language, facial expression, and gestures. So, it is essential for you to develop this skill.

Body language may reveal a lot about how a person is feeling without them being aware of it. Each individual’s body language may differ from one person to another. However, as you start observing others, you will see some common themes of gestures and body language. Knowing how to read a person’s facial expressions, body movements, or posture can reveal a lot about them.

13 Ways on How to Develop and Improve Social Skills

Be an active listener

A good listener is someone who can listen actively when others are talking. Making simple gestures like a head nod or eye contact can make a difference when communicating with others. As a good listener, you also need to listen empathetically.

Do not pretend to be interested in what they are saying. Be genuine and show interest. Try to listen or see things from the other person’s point of view. Don’t jump to conclusions. Always ask for clarification when you are not sure about what others are saying. By showing empathy, the speaker will feel more comfortable sharing their honest feelings and thoughts.

Show respect

When making an effort to connect with someone, respect is a crucial ingredient. You can earn other people’s respect by demonstrating understanding of others’ feelings and opinions.

When you’re talking to someone, it’s crucial to show that you appreciate how they feel. Showing respect to others will make them feel more at ease communicating with you.

Be confident

Showing confidence attracts others to you and is essential for strengthening your social skills. Having confidence is not the same as arrogance. As a confident person, you will listen to others before speaking and allow them the opportunity to show their skills.

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Have a positive mindset

Developing your social skills can be challenging. But having the right mindset can help you bounce back after feeling like you messed up a conversation. Don’t give yourself too much stress if you think your social skills are not improving.

These skills are not something that can be learned overnight! Learning through your experiences and constant practicing is what will help you master these skills.

Stand up to your values

Improving your social skills does not imply that you should think or feel the same as everyone else. Social skills are required when you are dealing with disagreements or conflicts.

During these challenging situations, you will need to stand firm on your principles and values. By doing so, you are being honest about yourself which will prevent you from jeopardizing your own or the other person’s integrity.

Show appreciation to others

Everyone desires to feel appreciated by others. Yet, we are not always quick to express our gratitude to others. A simple “thank you” when someone does you a favor goes a long way to show that you appreciate what they do.

Showing appreciation and gratitude facilitate the development of meaningful relationships. People are happier and more willing to connect with those around them when they feel valued.

Ways To Improve Social Skills And Make You Sociable

Communicate clearly

Communicating clearly is a crucial aspect to develop if you want to improve your social skills. It isn’t easy to have a meaningful discussion if you cannot articulate your points well enough to others. Remember to take deep breaths when you are nervous.

Don’t be afraid to pause for a while if you need a minute to think or refocus. You can also ask questions to check others’ understanding of what you said to ensure everyone is on the same page.

Ask for feedback

It’s critical to be receptive to constructive feedback from others if you want to strengthen your social skills. After giving a presentation or a meeting, find someone you can trust and ask for honest feedback about your skills.

Be open and accepting of others’ feedback and criticism. Once you identify the areas of development, you can start putting a concentrated effort into improving that area of your social skills.

Be authentic

Be comfortable showing your authentic self when having a conversation with someone. Remember that you are not going to get along well with everyone you meet.

But if others feel your authenticity when you are connecting with them, they are going to respect you and will enjoy being around you. People dislike connecting with others who appear to be faking their every action and word.

Identify and replace negative thoughts

When you start having negative thoughts about your social skills or ability to interact with others, it may become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

To prevent your negative thoughts from manifesting themselves and becoming an actual reality, you first need to identify negative thoughts that are pulling you down. Then replace them with more realistic and positive thoughts. You can also visualize yourself having all the necessary skills that make you a people person.

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5 Most Common Social Skill Examples

  1. Empathy
  2. Interpersonal skills
  3. Intrapersonal skills
  4. Communication skills
  5. Listening skills

Empathy

Empathy is essential for building genuine relationships with others and improving workplace performance. Empathy refers to your ability to perceive and understand another person’s feelings, thoughts, and experiences.

Empathy is when you know your coworkers’ points of view, acknowledge their inputs, and share your perspectives openly. With empathy, you can foster a collaborative and successful working relationship with them.

Interpersonal skills

Being able to communicate effectively with your colleagues can help keep them engaged and focused throughout the discussions. Having good interpersonal skills allow you to be sensitive to others’ social cues.

You can also find different methods to adapt your communication styles when interacting with others which will help you to grow your professional connections. Having significant work relationships will also provide you with more career advancement opportunities.

5 Most Common Social Skill Examples

Intrapersonal skills

Intrapersonal skills refer to your ability to recognize your thoughts and feelings. To improve your intrapersonal skills, you may want to be more aware of finding a suitable time and context to share your opinions and setting social boundaries and goals.

Communication skills

Effective communication skills, such as active listening, written communication, and nonverbal communication, are instrumental in the workplace. If you are a salesperson, you may want to develop your active listening skills to understand your potential customers’ needs.

As a team leader, you may want to hone your skills in providing constructive feedback to your subordinates to help them develop and perform better.

Listening skills

Listening and following instructions are two crucial social skills to have in the workplace. As most employers expect employees to follow their instructions, you will need to brush up on the two skills.

You can ask clarifying questions if you do not understand the instructions. You can also take the initiative to offer your opinions or perspectives when necessary.

How to Develop and Improve Social Skills in the Workplace?

Improve your self-esteem and confidence

People usually avoid communicating with their colleagues at work because they lack confidence. They are afraid of saying something wrong, so they would rather keep quiet. When speaking to others, don’t assume that what they said is always correct and you are wrong. Your experiences and viewpoints are not only valuable, but they may be what others need to hear.

How to Develop and Improve Social Skills in the Workplace

Participate in team and office discussion

In the office, people will be talking about different topics of interest, including sports and politics. When you encounter an argument during a discussion, practice conveying your views and opinions with justification.

Remember to keep an open mind whenever you are in discussion with others. Be open to constructive feedback and criticism from others. When others point out something wrong in what you said, accept it gracefully.

Volunteer yourself when given the opportunity to deliver presentations

The social skills needed in the workplace may not necessarily be the same as those required in your personal life. Giving presentations to stakeholders often reflects your competence and knowledge level in a particular area. Individuals with insufficient experience are not suitable to deliver any presentations.

To get to that level, you must first volunteer for every available presentation opportunity. You can start small by presenting to your team members. When you are confident in your presentation skills, you can look for opportunities to present to clients.

How to Practice to Have Better Social Skills?

You can behave like a social person to improve your social skills. Do not let fear get the best of you. You can start small and set goals that can give you quick wins. For example, you decide to say “Hi” to three strangers and start a conversation in a week.

Over time, you will get better at these skills, and you will notice an improvement in your social skills. Giving compliments to others can be an excellent approach to initiate a conversation with others.

Showering others with compliments can make them feel that you are a friendly person. Good etiquette can help you to improve your social skills significantly. Being courteous, saying “thank you” and having proper table manners are all examples of having good etiquette.

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How to Highlight Social Skills in a Resume

When applying for a job opening, you might want to consider highlighting skills related to social skills, such as effective communication, active listening, and collaboration skills. By highlighting these specific skills, potential employers can assess your social skills more objectively.

You can also highlight your social skills in your job description section. Look for specific situations in which you applied your social skills for the team’s success or solved problems. Using these specific examples can help you to showcase and quantify social skills in your resume.

Social Skills for the Job Interview

During your interview, you should highlight your social skills, both in sharing your previous achievements and how you present yourself throughout the interview. Make eye contact, smile, and give a firm handshake when you greet the interviewer.

These gestures will give your interviewers a positive impression of your interpersonal and communication skills. Display your active listening skills by paying attention and making eye contact. Use open-ended questions to invite a more open conversation and gain a deeper understanding of what you are curious about.

Social Skills for the Job Interview

How to Improve Social Skills as an Introvert?

As an introvert looking to improve your social skills recognize that it is acceptable to remain quiet during interaction with others. You can learn to step out of your comfort zone by looking around you for social events or individuals you are interested in.

Then make an effort to connect with these individuals and projects. Before starting a conversation with others, you can prepare a list of conversation starters ahead of time.

Identify the professional individuals you want to network with within an event or webinar. Then think about a common topic or shared interest that you can utilize to initiate a conversation with these individuals.

5 Books on How to Improve Social Skills

  1. How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie
  2. How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships – Leil Lowndes
  3. PeopleSmart: Developing Your Interpersonal Intelligence – Melvin L. Silberman
  4. Simple Small Talk: An Everyday Social Skills Guidebook for Introverts on How to Lose Fear and Talk to New People – Gerard Shaw
  5. Surrounded by Idiots: The Four Types of Human Behavior and How to Effectively Communicate With Each in Business (and in Life) – Thomas Erikson

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Frequently Asked Questions About How to Improve Social Skills

How can I improve my social skills alone?

Giving compliments and good etiquette can go a long way in helping you to improve your social skills significantly. You can learn to step out of your comfort zone by looking around you for social events or individuals you are interested in.

Then make an effort to connect with these individuals and projects. Before starting a conversation with others, you can prepare a list of conversation starters ahead of time.

What causes poor social skills?

Many factors can cause a person to have poor social skills. These factors include lack of knowledge, issues with self-control, communication problems, language barrier, mental health illness, or stressful personal situations.

How to improve social skills in school?

Role-playing is an excellent way to improve social skills in students. Besides educational benefits, group activities can help students to develop different social skills such as cooperation and accountability. You can also find ways to incorporate stories that teach social skills into the students’ education program.

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