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Better Social Skills in 4 Simple Steps

Aug 18, 2007
Have you ever tried rating yourself on how you do with one-on-one, face-to-face communication? When you got your first job, did you feel comfortable speaking with the interviewer? When you had your first formal dinner, were you fumbling through the entire process or did you and your date have a great time together? When you meet a person for the first time, is there always a moment of awkwardness or do you often hit it off instantly? These situations are the basis for measuring one's social skills.

Basically, social skills are a necessity if you would like to survive any social setting where you need to mingle and converse with your peers, co-workers, superiors or even casual acquaintances. After rating yourself, if you feel that there is still a huge area of improvement, you can follow these tips on how to polish and hone your social skills:

1. Start honing your social skills with your body language.

If you have a strict mother and slouching or placing your elbows on the dinner table are a big no-no for her - just imagine how 'stricter' the codes of conduct would be in a social situation. Your body language says a lot about you, and it should coordinate with what you are saying verbally. Stand or sit up straight - your stance should not be too tense, but not too relaxed either. Smile politely, lean forward just a little bit towards the other person to show that you are listening intently, and maintain eye contact.

2. Practice active listening.

This is one practice that most people forget in any given social situation. Sometimes, they are too busy formulating what they should say next while another person is speaking - that they tend to not hear what is actually being said. Thus, the result is committing an embarrassing social blunder by saying inappropriate things. Your social skills will rise up several notches if you practice active listening so that you can come up with the perfect response and make the people around you feel as comfortable as possible.

3. Enhance your conversational skills.

One of the most important elements in honing your social skills is having the ability to make small talk and turn an otherwise dull and shallow conversation into an interesting one. Try to gain knowledge and updates about common conversational topics like music, film, art, technology, politics, world and national issues - you can even rehearse a joke or two - humor is a surefire way of breaking the ice in any social event.

If you are not a good conversationalist yet, you can easily practice by making small talk with the people whom you often encounter in your everyday life, like your neighbors, co-workers, the grocer on the store where you often shop or tourists that you may come upon while walking down the street. This will not just enhance your social skills but also give you an opportunity to widen your social circle.

4. Try to put up a polite and pleasant front even though you may not be feeling well or you are not up the task of 'socializing'.

We all have had our share of bad days, but this does not mean that we can be given an excuse to be rude in the midst of a social situation. Part of your social skills development should be the fact that you can adapt to any social setting without letting your personal frustrations show. Remember that the people with whom you are interacting does not know each and every aspect of what is going on in your life so no matter how bad things are, you should still be able to converse and socialize in a pleasant manner.

If you are rating your social skills on a scale of one to ten, you can easily have a perfect score if you follow these tips on how to hone your social skills!
About the Author
Peter Murphy is a peak performance expert. He recently produced a very popular free report: 10 Simple Steps to Developing Communication Confidence. Apply now because it is available only at: conversation starters
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