Advertising

10 Secrets of The Socially Successful

Advertising
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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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?

More by this author

CJ Goulding

CJ Goulding is the Lead Organizer at Natural Leaders Network, building leaders and connections in and between humans.

7 Tips to Improve Your Attention Span and Focus Instantly 11 Ways to Shine in Your Dream Job Interview 6 Practical Ways to Create an Accountability Culture in a Company 13 Inspiring Life Lessons from Steve Jobs 22 Things Everyone Always Forget to Be Thankful For

Trending in Communication

1 10 Signs You Are in a Codependent Relationship (And What To Do About It) 2 I Want To Be Happy: 7 Science-Backed Ways to Find Happiness 3 13 Ways Happy People Think and Feel Differently 4 10 Morning Habits Of Happy People 5 What Makes People Happy? 20 Secrets of “Always Happy” People

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

Advertising
How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

Advertising

  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

Advertising

Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

Advertising

However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

Advertising

Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

Advertising

  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

Read Next