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15 Social Skills That Will Make You Successful In Every Aspect Of Life

15 Social Skills That Will Make You Successful In Every Aspect Of Life

In a world where technology is increasing our capacity to connect with people worldwide, it is also diminishing our ability to effectively connect with people in person. Just like learning how to cook, develop software, or play a sport; the ability to connect with others is a skill and you can learn how to do it more effectively. Learning the social skills necessary to connect with others will help you be more successful in every aspect of your life. Here are 15 social skills you can develop to be more charismatic:

1. Speak Less, Ask More

Those who are great with people don’t necessary have the gift-of-gab, but rather, are great at asking questions. One of the most important social skills you can develop is the ability to ask questions; not in an interrogating way, but in the way that will help you understand people better and strengthen your relationship with them. People love talking about themselves, so asking questions that trigger memories (i.e. “What was it like for you when…?”); cause them to give their opinion (i.e. “What do you think about…?”); or ask for advice (i.e. “I have a dilemma and would love your thoughts…?”), will put you in the driver’s seat by allowing them to be the center of the conversation.

2. Celebrate Their Wins

When someone shares great news with you, instead of dismissing it, sharing good news of your own, or even bashing their good news — celebrate their win by being genuinely excited for them.

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3. Lock-in On Group Settings

For many, the group setting is the perfect opportunity to pull back, check their phone, and zone out of the conversation–but not you. Pay close attention in a group setting, you’ll be able to learn how to connect with others by what they say, how they say it, and even what people choose not to say. Be aware of who likes to lead the conversation, what people like to talk about, and if someone is being excluded from the conversation.

4. Make Eye Contact — Or Not

On a daily basis you are bombarded with distractions competing for one of your most precious resources–your attention. Making eye contact with the person you are speaking with face-to-face is an outward expression that you are confident and fully engaged with that person. However, if someone isn’t looking making eye contact with you, before you jump to conclusions, be aware that it may be culturally unacceptable for them to do so; they are intimidated by you; or it makes them uncomfortable.

5. Show Positive Body Language

You can project confidence, kindness, and leadership just by the way you carry yourself. Keep your head up, shoulders back, and chest out. We learn from Dr. Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk, “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are“, that how you carry yourself can impact how you think and feel about yourself–so get big!

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6. Pay Attention To The Little Things

Life is hard. And many people are going through life in quiet desperation with little or no support from family or friends. The problem is, people are so good at hiding it, that they give off the impression that everything is good in their life and they don’t need help. Keep in mind that people have lives outside of work, school, and other places you seed them. A simple awareness of others’ body language, behavior, and facial expressions will give you insight into how things are really going for them.

7. Praise People’s Strengths

One way to bring the best out of someone is to praise their strengths. Could you imagine how you would respond if someone came up to you and said, “Just so you know, your ability to [insert strength] is incredible. I wish I was more like that.”? Giving praise to someone else is a sign of confidence on your part, and a tremendous confidence builder for the other person.

8. Build Others Up When They Aren’t Around

You can tell a person’s character by how they talk about others when they aren’t around. If you know someone who is constantly talking bad behind people’s back, you can be certain they are talking negatively about you when you’re not around. Be the kind of person who speaks highly of others when they are not around.

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9. Listen To Their Voice

People will reveal a lot about themselves by not only what they say, but how they say it. Some people connect better when you speak loud and fast, while others prefer to be communicated to in a softer tone — know your audience.

10. Smile More

Research shows the confident people smile more. I’m not saying walk around with a beaming smile from ear-to-ear at all times–that’s creepy. What I am saying, is if you are in a good mood, make sure you don’t forget to tell your face. Additionally, smiling at others will trigger the mirror neurons in their brain to smile back at you–it’s contagious. People with great social skills are approachable, and nothing says, “Let’s be friends!”, than a genuine smile.

11. Be Polite

It’s easy to connect better with someone with manners. The simple things your parents taught you when you were a child, a little “Please”, “Thank-you”; and “You’re Welcome”, can go a long way.

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12. Provide Value

To be at the top of your social skills game you’ve got to bring something to the table. Use what you know or do to be a benefit to those around, with no intention  ask for anything in return. Share what you’re good at with others and you will experience the fulfilling joy of giving.

13. Say Nothing

Sometimes people don’t need to hear your opinion. The next time you want to chime in and give empirical data supporting your side of an argument, stop and ask yourself the question, “Do I want to be happy, or do I want to be right?” More times than not, being happy means conceding the argument and enjoying the company of others.

14. Focus On The Bright Side Of Things

Negativity is contagious and can spread quickly; refuse to be that person who transmits negativity through your family, friends, and coworkers by complaining all the time. Instead, be that person who can look at the bright side of a difficult situation and keep tough times in perspective. This doesn’t mean to be unrealistic and overly-positive, it means to be that person who can look adversity in the face and focus on what you can control.

15. See The Good In People

Develop the skill to see the good in others. It’s human nature to put others down in order to make ourselves feel better; but be that person who can spot the diamond in the rough; especially when they can’t see it themselves.

Featured photo credit: Early Telephone/Ryan McGuire via imcreator.com

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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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