Habits and Social Skills
Habits form an integral part of our daily routine and these habits or practices are the ones that majorly impact our social skills in our social circle. Today, let’s talk about 8 simple habits that will improve your social skills and take you from 0 to 100 in no time.
Listen to people
It comes as a no-brainer that listening is the key to unlocking great prospects in your social circle. Be it personal, romantical or professional.
Most of us don’t listen, but rather try to be the loudest person in the room. It’s really important to be a good listener when it comes to interacting with anyone, your listening habit will help you to engage more with the conversation and connect with someone at a different level than just listening for the sake of listening so that you can put your point forward.
It’s interesting to me that we have considered so many facets of communication in our social circle but have inadvertently overlooked listening. It’s the most important link in any social engagement, and it’s also the weakest one. Listening is one of the key habits out of the 8 simple habits that will improve your social skills.
We have assumed that learning to read will invariably teach us to listen too. While some of the skills accomplished through reading may apply to listening, the assumption is far from practicality. Listening is a different exercise from reading and requires distinctive skills.
Research indicates that reading and listening skills do not improve at the same rate when only reading is taught and not practically approached.
If you ask questions and listen, you are extremely likely to stand out from the crowd. But, beware! Most of us think we are listening, but all we are doing is listening through our ears and not acknowledging the conversation.
Listening is not as common as you may think so practice listening and whats a better way to start than starting from your home.
YES! your home. Talk to your partner, parents, spouse, kids, elderlies, your helper, etc. and start engaging in meaningful conversations. Listen to them. Try to understand them. You won’t believe how effective listening can strengthen your relationship bond with your family and this simple habit will improve your social skills
Be interested in people’s stories
“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” – Dale Carnegie
Have you read the book – “How To Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie? Well, its one of my favorite books of the 21st century and has made a lot of impact in my life.
One of the fundamental principles Carnegie talks about in the book is to “become genuinely interested in other people.” This is something we have all had hard times with, but its something that I have worked hard to instill in my day to day life. I am not advocating the book here, rather the principals that govern this new way of life.
They say “Interested people are interesting.” Ask people questions. Try to learn something you did not know before from your interlocutor. After all, we are social animals, aren’t we? So be social, be interested in your social circle’s stories, experiences, challenges, how they get through their day, get through their lives. We all have long and complicated stories, don’t we? And the truth is and how we sometimes may not even know what the story is!
Being interested in people’s stories is another key habit out of the 8 simple habits that will improve your social skills.
If you’re interested in people’s stories, they will be interested in yours. Inculcating this habit will noticeably improve your social skills.
Remember people’s names & their stories
We often meet new faces in a social gathering and introduce ourselves starting with our names. And the name is something we forget the most, isn’t it? Recognize this statement – ” Aah Man! I remember his face, but I can’t recollect his name.” Well, we have all been there.
Ask people to repeat their names. If it’s hard, ask them to spell it for you. Repeat after them. If you forget, ask someone else from the group, “Hey, what was the name of the guy in a red shirt? I forgot.” Do whatever you have to do to remember. When you remember, call them by their name. People love that.
Remember the names of people’s family members, pets, hobbies, details about the job, a side gig, what are they obsessed with, remember as much as you can. People appreciate it when they realize that you listened to them and remembered their stories.
SO, next time you’re in a social gathering, don’t hesitate to meet new people, introduce yourself, remember their names, their stories. Put this habit into practice and I bet it will do wonders to improve your social skills
Find your comfort zone
Stories are the thread that holds the fabric of society together. Storytelling lets people see things they haven’t actually seen. And prepare for things that might be. Our primitive ancestors told tales of valuable discoveries and the prowling grounds of saber-toothed cats. Storytelling was our early survival masterstroke.
Here’s what I want you to do. Ask yourself –
- Do you function better in 1-on-1 conversations or a large crowd?
- Do you like to have conversations in groups or individually with a person sipping on your favorite beverage?
This is an important distinction and knowing how you function best will help you create the best environment for your social skills to shine. Remember, if you’re not comfortable with the setup of the conversation, how will you be comfortable interacting at all?!
Don’t be too negative
Negativity is multifaceted and occurs differently in each person. In a broader sense, negative people are more likely to focus on displaying flaws in situations or argue about things they despise. They have a cynical and pessimistic attitude. They are usually moody or grumpy or have more of a subtle prickly, sarcastic edge to them.
We naturally gravitate towards people who are kind, loving, cheerful, and funny, rather than to those who complain all the time.
Notice your body language –
- Do you appear welcoming?
- Do you look like you are open to being approached and for people to start a conversation? Or are you closed off to interactions with others?
The more positive and open body language you present the more you will invite others to initiate a conversation with you.
When others start off negatively, acknowledge their grief and then stimulate them toward a different subject. You can respond with a sincere, “Oh, I’m sorry to hear that,” accompanied by a more positive proposal, like, “Let’s go get a cup of coffee and talk about the upcoming project. I’d love to get your thoughts.”
But remember, Don’t see being positive as a liability. It doesn’t mean you have to be hipp and happidity all the time and love everything. You don’t have to sacrifice your likes, tastes, experiences or think that you can never think anything is wrong with something.
Consider focusing on the emotional aspect of conversations. On a logical level, something may not seem fine to talk about, but if you do, it may sour people’s moods, or collapse the enthusiasm of a discussion happening in a social gathering. Work on this habit to bring more positivity in your group discussions and you will see a positive change in your social life
Don’t fill every gap with talking
Conversations are two-way streets and they hold a lot of power. They make your intentions clear, build bonds between you and others in your social setup and can make or break a first impression when you meet someone new. The words you choose and how you choose to use them can make you appear smart, foolish, warm, distant, bright, humble, bold, shy or anything in between.
Don’t try to dominate a conversation by putting your foot first always. As discussed earlier, listening holds key to good communication and an effective one too. Contribute to the conversation with your own style, but don’t forget to give the other person plenty of time to talk. This is how you will build an effective relationship with the person and your bond will grow stronger in times to come.
“I disagree” spontaneously make you the adversary in a conversation, and can make you look meaner or less of a confident and positive contributor. Instead of arguing, present a different opinion. Bring in your experience with the topic at hand. Present your views and you will be amazed at how people will connect with you in a better more pleasing way.
However, sometimes it’s perfectly fine to say, “Wow, that’s cool.” You don’t always need to have a follow-up story, or the answer or the opinion. Ask your speaker another question. Nod your head. Be silent. Sometimes, silence is the key – You don’t have to fill every gap with words.
The truest power of networking lies in following up. That is how relationships are built.
“Hi. How are you?”
“I’m good, what about you?”
“I’m good too, thanks for asking.”
There’s nothing wrong with the conversation above, but it will certainly not lead you to a memorable discussion.
When you follow up on conversations with anyone in your social network, try to come up with connections that bonded with you two in the earlier conversation. It can anything from that person’s pet, a song he/she recommended, or any office project you both discussed.
Following up with a connected thought leads you to a memorable dialogue exchange with the other person and they appreciate that you remembered the conversation and are actually interested in talking.
One way to achieve this is to try and come up with recommendations during the conversation and then promise to follow up with the connection/recipe/code/pet’s health, contact, etc. And do it. This will show that you are caring, diligent, consistent, and reliable. Moreover, this habit of yours will ignite a genuine curiosity in the other person’s mind about your life too
Know when to leave
Knowing how to leave a conversation can sometimes be just as important as knowing how to join one. Nobody wants to chat only with you for hours and I’m sure there will be times when you wouldn’t want to continue a conversation in a social gathering. Do not feel bad about leaving a conversation. Someone has to do it eventually, and when done right there will be no hurt feelings.
Have a nice conversation and move on. It aids to have an idea of how long discussions usually last. While talking with a friend one could go on and on for hours but with people, you don’t know, conversations can last for less than 10 mins sometimes. Don’t feel bad about moving on.
If you’re stuck in a one-on-one conversation, try to introduce another person into the conversation to change the environment and situation of the topic in hand. The person who joins can bring new discussion points on the table and you can decide to engage or excuse yourself from the conversation.
The idea is to have the conversation flow going on. Avoid abrupt ends. And as we discussed above, always have a follow-up discussion topic ready so that you can connect with that person later.
To sum up our conversation, the following are key things that you need to focus on –
- Listen to people – This way you engage in meaningful conversations
- Be genuinely interested in people’s stories – This way you share a bond which lasts for a long time
- Remember names of the people you met and remember the stories they told – This way you always have something to followup later when you meet or connect
- Always follow up with the person or group – This ensures a recall factor their mind about you
- You don’t have to fill all the gaps in the conversation – Keep the conversation short, sweet and memorable
- Know when to leave or end the conversation – Always move on with a positive end or conclusion to the conversation. This way you will have something to connect to next time when you meet the same person or group
Moreover, The ultimate social skill is to Love people, respect people, admire people, be interested in what people are going through, compliment people, see the best in people, forgive people, don’t judge people, help people, shower people with your love. No matter with you do in life, social life is the biggest reward you can have and it depends on you how you achieve this reward.
Take a step towards personal development, incorporate these habits and in time you will see the positive changes it brings in your social life. Be it with friends, family, colleagues or your social security guard, these habits will transform your social network and take from a 0 to 100 in no time.
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