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10 Secrets of The Socially Successful

10 Secrets of The Socially Successful

Have you ever attended a social gathering and noticed that one socially successful individual who seems to effortlessly flit from group to group? Or maybe you have a coworker who makes networking seem as easy as an elementary school spelling class (which, I admit, may not have been easy for all). Everyone has that friend who introduces themselves first, has no problem meeting new people, and never seems to be uneasy in any social situation. And if you can’t think of anyone who fits these categories, that friend is most likely you. Congratulations!

In any case, no matter where you fall on the spectrum from shy caterpillar to social butterfly, everyone can integrate these secrets and tips into their life to make interactions easier and become socially successful. But, as it is with most things in life, these techniques are most effective when put into deliberate practice.

1. Be yourself.

It seems simple, but no one wants to meet a clone, a copy of everyone else. The things that make you different are the very things that make you interesting. People with magnetic personalities are people who are comfortable in their own skin. This doesn’t mean that you should be different just for the sake of it. But if your hobbies and traits are naturally different from those of everyone else, embrace that! People enjoy learning about new things. If your interests are similar to what everyone else likes, then you have found things in common and should embrace that as well.

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2. Be genuinely positive. 

People with an optimistic view on life are always welcome in any social setting. A smile is never out of style. Having a positive view on topics is contagious and spreads to others, bringing rays of sunshine to the conversation. However, there is a balance. Just as eternal pessimists can be draining, continual optimism can be equally exhausting and seen as fake.

3. Focus on being interested, not interesting.

Many people mistakenly assume that social success comes from having lists of accomplishments to rattle off, amazing adventures to recount, or a plethora of never-failing jokes. But in reality, you can increase interest in yourself simply by increasing how interested you are in the lives and stories of others! People love to talk about themselves, and love having others around who seem to have a genuine interest in their stories.

4. Build others up. 

The foundation of you becoming socially successful will always lie in how you treat others. Take care to refrain from gossip and cutting sarcasm when meeting new people, as this may leave a biting impression of you in their minds. Learning how to give a proper compliment also goes a long way. People trust someone who says the same thing about them in front of their face that is said behind their back.

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5. Be helpful and dependable.

It seems simple, but if someone needs assistance that you’re able to provide, help them! Giving aid when you’re truly in a position to do so communicates a sincere interest in the welfare of others. Just the thought that you are available when someone may need it is reassuring. However, promises not kept, even those made with good intentions, decrease credibility and trust.

6. Include others.

Going to see the latest movie and only have two people in your car? Have extra tickets to a great upcoming concert? Invite someone who really wants to go or someone from another group of friends. Keeping others in mind, even for simple things like lunch or a movie, lets people know that they are on your mind and that you feel their friendship and company has value. They will undoubtedly return the favor, allowing you to meet new people and remain connected.

7. Don’t forget your manners.

When out and about, remember to introduce yourself! A simple introduction breaks down many of the social nerves and barriers that popular people seem to avoid. And if you have invited friends out with a new group of people, be a good host and make sure to introduce them as well.

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8. Step outside of yourself.

Be sure to take moments for purposeful introspection. Evaluate your self-image and what impression you may be leaving on others. Ask friends or others what impression you give off and what things may inadvertently be affecting your social impression. Traits like a lack of eye contact, crossed arms, mumbling, and others may not be easily diagnosed and worked on unless pointed out by someone outside of yourself. Assessing your social skills shows the areas that need more work on your way to becoming comfortable in all social situations.

9. Make eye contact.

Eye contact helps you come across as more engaged, friendly, and confident. Another benefit is that making eye contact forces you to put some of your mental energy into focusing on other people, which means you have less left over to get stuck in your head and think insecure thoughts. Getting comfortable is something that happens over time and not all at once as you manage the balance between staring and affirming eye contact.

10. Learn how to read body language and social cues. 

While this may seem like a difficult and expert social tactic, it is one that all those who are socially successful employ. Noticing things like mirrored body language when people are interested, folded arms when people are in disagreement or uncomfortable, or knowing how and when to exit a conversation are all tools that make social interaction much easier and smoother. There are many sites on the internet with information in this category.

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In the end, these “secrets” of a social butterfly are great in theory, but only truly effective when put into practice. And although the change does not happen overnight, deliberate effort will complete the metamorphosis from shy caterpillar to social butterfly.

How would you define “socially successful?” Are there any other tips that you have found useful?

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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