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9 Tips & 3 Steps to Sharpen Your Social Skills Today

Updated: Jul 25, 2022

Here's How to be Less Like the Guy in the Background and More Like the Guys in the Foreground



Do you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert? The truth is that we all are on different points on a scale between those two types of people. We're never just one or the other. Because our mood changes. The company that we're in, changes. And our skills and confidence change.


We all need to be more social once in a while. I think of that feeling of loneliness as our body's way to tell us that we crave social interaction. Like hunger signals our body's need for food.


Awkwardness or worse, anxiety in uncomfortable social settings, are very often another signal that we get from our body that is worth the effort to explore ourselves. It's what it means to get out of your comfort zone once in a while.


Even the most introverted and independent of us, has certain social commitments to deal with at times. I should know, because I am one of the most introverted people I know! I find small talk drains my energy. Or so I convinced myself until I realized that I always feel great afterwards when small talk went well.


If you find that you struggle with small talk, you can certainly use these nine powerful tips to help sharpen your social skills.


 

Select your one or two ideas from the following list of 9. Try it for a week. Then come back to this list, and select one or two others. Find what works for you.


1. Start Small

One of the best ways to sharpen your social sills is by starting small in your day-to-day life. Small talk is a great way to sharpen your social skills, and it doesn't take much extra effort. The next time a neighbor says good morning, be willing to engage in a short chat. Even if it is only to comment on the weather today and something else next time.


2. Ask Open-Ended Questions

Open-ended questions are a great way to enhance your social interactions. Instead of asking questions that end with a quick "yes" or "no", ask a follow-up question that starts with “And,” so that it ties to the conversation. And make it a question that requires a more thoughtful answer. This will help keep people engaged and you won't feel like you have to carry the conversation on your own. Who said you have to make small talk? You can, instead, choose to create the space for the other person to make the small talk.


3. Seek Like-Minded People

If you struggle in social situations, why not try to make things easier for yourself? Try to find like-minded people that share similar interests as you. You will naturally feel more at ease when you are talking about the things you already love.


4. Develop Your Active Listening Skills

Social skills are just as much about listening as they are about speaking. You should ensure that you are a good active listener. A good way to learn active listening is to start by making eye contact, using other non-verbal cues and otherwise seeming interested in the person speaking to you. Take it from there.


5. Become a Storyteller

Being able to tell a great story is one of the best ways to sharpen your social skills. No matter how awkward or anxious you might feel, if you can tell a story that gets just one person on the edge of their seat or busting a gut, you will be remembered. A great way to practice storytelling is by writing them, and then practice delivering the elements of the story in the sequence that feels right. Keep in mind that some social settings may call for different levels of detail. Telling a quick story to make small talk with a stranger behind you in a line waiting to be served at the bank will be less detailed than when you tell the same story to a neighbor as you make small talk while they water their lawn. Find your own rhythm and style.


6. Learn to Read Body Language

You don't have to be a master of body language yourself. But you should learn the basics. When you know what to look out for, you will know how people are responding to you. You will know when to stop talking, as well as when to continue. You will know if people are engaged, or annoyed. Don’t assume automatically that they are annoyed. Start the conversation and take it from there.


7. Plan a Few Good Conversation Starters

If you struggle in social situations, make sure you have a couple good conversation starters or stories in your back pocket. To begin with, this will make you more confident in your social interaction. It will also ensure you have something to say when the conversation dwindles. If you need inspiration for conversation restarters, pay attention to others as they talk and you will quickly collect a few good ideas of your own.


8. Shut Down Your Distractions

This is going to be hard to hear for some people, but you should probably turn your phone off. It's impossible to have meaningful social interactions if you are constantly checking your phone. If you can't bring yourself to turn your phone off, at least keep it out of sight or face down on the table, switched to silent mode.


9. You Will Get What You Give

Like most things in life, when it comes to social interactions, you get back what you put in. If you want people to be interested in you, then show interest in them. If you want people to be kind, then show them kindness first. Social interactions are most pleasant when they are reciprocal.


 

Select one or two of the above ideas and apply these 3 action steps to each to plan your next social interaction:



 

Suggested Further Reading


Check out these gems available on Amazon. Note that Woodbridge Hypnosis earns from your qualifying purchases. However, these books may be available at your local bookstore or library. And if not, find anything else that may be on topic!


1. PeopleSmart: Developing Your Interpersonal Intelligence




2. How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships




3. Conversationally Speaking: Tested New Ways to Increase Your Personal and Social Effectiveness, Updated 2021 Edition




4. Talk to Strangers: How Everyday, Random Encounters Can Expand Your Business, Career, Income, and Life by David Topus




5. The 5 Essential People Skills: How to Assert Yourself, Listen to Others, and Resolve Conflicts (Dale Carnegie Training)




 

These are small action steps that you can start in your life today. I am very passionate about our innate ability to form little things into natural habits that can shape our behavior in amazing ways. Check out the 15 Uncommon MicroHabits eBook that you can get here, for free. Check out the video and be sure to subscribe to the follow-up tips and tricks that I will share with you every other day, and take one small step on your wood bridge to success!


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