Social skills can help advance an average person in life and career; a lack of the same skills can hinder the career advancement of the most qualified and knowledgeable person.
A Harvard study says that people who have the added advantage of social skills along with their technical skills have more job opportunities and higher wages.
Man is a social being, and very few professions allow you to exist in a vacuum and not interact with many people. And if you are in a customer-facing profession, services, sales or marketing, or even work in a collaborative environment, highly developed social skills are a necessity.
Tips for learning social skills
A Pew Research Center report notes that the strongest employment growth—13.1% by 2024—is expected in jobs that require high levels of social worker skills, including everything from bartenders to home health aides.
So, how do you go about beating the social phobia and developing soft skills in the workplace? These top tips will help you improve your interpersonal skills and become more outgoing and confident in the workplace.
It is all about what you say and how you say it. Body language is an important part of communication. For presenting a confident front, one cannot fidget, be hesitant. If you know your stuff in a meeting, putting it across in a self-effacing manner is not going to garner you any attention.
Use a clear tone and diction. If you swallow your words, talk inwards, people will overlook your inputs.
Adopt an authoritative tone but do not get overloud to gain attention. State your case clearly and evenly. A sedate pace of delivery always works. Observe your boss or anyone in a leadership role and emulate.
2. Show Interest in Others
It is a simple thing but overlooked by most. People love to talk about themselves and show no interest in others or at best give a perfunctory nod to niceties.
So, start showing an interest in what others have to say, and you’ll soon notice how your relationship at work improves.
3. Do not be Aggressive in your opinions
Having an opinion and sharing your passion about a specific subject is acceptable. However, be sure not to overstep the line and make the other person feel as if they are wrong or, even worse, stupid. It can border on being offensive and may lead to disruption or confrontation.
4. Be Flexible
Having an open and flexible mindset can help you in any social situation. Accept people have a different way of doing things and be open to their ideas. If you resist change and do not accommodate people, you are likely to be overlooked in professional and personal settings.
5. Push the envelope
If you are afraid of social settings, then try to get out of your comfort zone. Seek some help, talk to a professional, practice in front of a mirror. Offer to make a presentation—practice public speaking with a partner or friend. You might even discover some hidden talent once you take the center stage.
6. Remain Positive
A positive attitude is essential in any office environment. People will flock to you if you throw out pleasant vibes and do not speak or indulge in negative talk.
As Doug Sandler, the author of Nice Guys Finish First, says: ‘Highly social people tend to be very positive as well, making them much more likely to be successful’.
7. Ditch the Distractions
With so many distractions – from social media to TV and computers – we can easily get distracted at work and shut ourselves from our surroundings. These gadget can even act as a way to protect oneself from uncomfortable situations. To engage with other, keep the use of social media and gadgets to the bare minimum.
8. Learn How to Small Talk
You might dismiss it’s as an etiquette lesson, but the art of small talk is what distinguishes social people from the awkward ones. Learn to greet people by name or introduce yourself. Small talk is about making the other people around you feel easy and drawing them out.
The best salespeople have the knack of creating small talk with their clients and making them feel special.