If you want to know how to improve social skills , you’ll love this article.
Humans are social beings, so we have an inherent need for social interaction. It is because of this need that we are able to share to others what we have in mind.
However, there are people who prefer to just listen rather than to also share their thoughts; and this is not considered as communication.
After all, communication involves a discourse between two or more people, and it will not continue if the other party doesn’t have something to say.
One of the reasons for being passive is their shyness due to lack of social skills. Thus, it is important for people to learn how they can overcome this deficiency so that they may be able to interact well with others.
How To Improve Social Skills:
1. Criticize less
Learn how to enjoy the social interaction. Most shy people are not really shy. In fact, they have ideas of their own about the topic being discussed.
However, they choose not to speak because they fear criticisms from other people. This is especially true in auditions or performances; they can criticize but cannot take criticisms. Thus, one should criticize less. By doing so, one will be free from guilt that another person might do the same to you.
2. Take negative criticisms as a challenge
Another thing about criticism is that you should never let it get through your head. Some people think that negative criticisms are all that there is.
Never take them as hindrances; rather, take it as a challenge to improve yourself. From their comments, you will know where to start polishing.
3. Do not over-think
Shy people tend to over-think things, or in some instances, they always think through things differently. This should not be the case, as many people may not be able to convey the message that they want to say clearly.
They always think that they may also say something wrong, and the same over-thinking may happen to them, which in turn leads to restricting one’s self from interacting.
Remember that there are things that should be interpreted as is.
4. Do not give a big deal out of your grammar
Some people may be too critical when it comes to pronunciation or grammar. Unlike in writing where one can proofread what was written before letting another person read your work, speaking does not have the leisure of time.
After all, speaking should be spontaneous and natural. Although one should be careful with what to say, checking if everything is correct before saying it is not likely to keep the conversation going.
5. You’re not always on the spotlight
Shy people have the feeling that they are constantly on other people’s radar, watching everything that they’re doing. Thus, they should be perfect.
We all want to feel acknowledged; however, it should not be to the point that it is restricting us in what we want to say. To be better at interaction, they should think that silly comments or funny moments tend to just pass through the listener’s ears.
The essence of the message is more important than those blunders.
6. Learn to enjoy and find fun in interactions
Even the most confident and sociable people are afraid of doing something embarrassing (1).
Again, remember that people will not always focus on your faults, as they remember the message more than your mistakes. And even if you did mention blunders, let this pass and learn to laugh about it.
This can serve as icebreakers between you and your listener. Enjoy the conversation through jokes while learning something about the person’s idea.
7. Motivation can help
One of the ways to gain confidence in speaking is to be motivated by people whom you know believe in you. Surround yourself with people that can persuade you to do something that you’re hesitant to do.
If you know that someone believes in you and your ability, it is highly possible that one will be able to continue with it. Their motivation and words of encouragement will be a big boost to your confidence.
8. Practice conversing while standing in front of people
Another thing that can be done is to deliberately practice. Speaking to your friends with them sitting down and you standing up can help you get the idea that you are delivering a speech or a piece.
It may be awkward at first; however, getting used to this situation will help you to develop your speaking skills, confidence, and even your posture.
9. Enrich your vocabulary and knowledge
This can be done through reading, listening to conversations, and even watching movies. It helps you to conceive more ideas, and at the same time learn other words that you can use in a conversation.
It can also help in improving grammar and pronunciation, making you more confident in sharing your thoughts and making fewer mistakes.
10. Avoid unnecessary movements
Being more social is not just being able to express yourself well. It is also making the other person interested in interacting with you. And one of the things that can affect it is by doing unnecessary movements.
It distracts the listener, making them focus on your movements rather than what you’re saying to them. If this is a big no-no in a regular interaction, what more if you’ll be presenting in front of other people or being in a job interview?
11. Learn how to affirm
Interactions will not progress when only one is working to sustain the conversation. You should learn how to show interest to the speaker, and one way of doing it is by affirmation.
Simple phrases like “Yes, continue” or “So, what happened next” conveys the message that you want them to continue with what they are saying while you are listening to them.
12. Learn how to ask probing questions
This is different from affirmation, since the questions are based from their message.
This is a proof that you were analyzing their situation and you wanted more out of what they have already said, sustaining the conversation. The phrases “You said earlier that …” or “What did you do when …” are examples of these questions.
13. Look at the other person
The nonverbal method is also a way to convey a message without saying it. It also provides the other person several cues while you were listening to him/her.
The most important is to always look at the person you were talking to. This is a way to show them that you are interested in the topic and you’re looking forward to what will happen next.
14. Stop clock-watching
Do not constantly look at your watch. This will give the impression that you are giving him/her a limited time. You may do so when he/she took a break from telling her story like going to the washroom, or even when he/she has finished the story.
15. Focus on the person in front, not in your phone
Another no-no is checking your cellular phones for messages. This conveys the message that the person on the other line is more important. Do not reply to text messages in front of him/her, and you may cancel phone calls unless they are urgent or you are expecting somebody to contact you.
16. Learn to start the interaction
If there are people that you haven’t seen for a long time, it may be the right time to put your cellular phones to good use by calling them. Do not always be at the receiving end of your relationship.
It also builds rapport and gives them an idea that you are interested in what’s going on with their lives. It may even be the bridge for that long-awaited reunion with your friends and relatives living in distant places.
17. Greet and smile at people
Simple greetings like “Good morning!” or “Hi there!” while smiling is another way not just to show interest in interacting with them, but also being able to start the day on a positive note (2).
Being in a good mood can give an individual the confidence to take on anything. Just make sure that you know the person you will greet and smile at.
18. Introduce yourself to new people
Starting with simple greetings and introducing yourself is a good way to start a conversation, especially to the people that you will meet for the first time.
Being acquainted to the people introduced to you by your friends or family members is also a good way to get closer to them.
19. Attend events
Seminars, parties, and lunch or dinner meetings are good venues that you can attend to further your pool of acquaintances. You will never know when you will meet somebody who can help you with business or work.
This network of people can help in one way or another, so make the best out of events by getting to meet somebody new.
20. Learn how to work with other people
Go for variety. Get out of your circle of friends and try to accompany other people, whether at work or at school. This lets you learn something from them, especially on how they deal with things.
Learning how to work even around people you don’t usually work with gives you flexibility and helps you to learn how to adjust.
I want to thank you for taking the time to read my article about how to improve social skills .
I sincerely hope its contents have been a good help to you.