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Learning Social Skills in 8 Simple Steps

Aug 18, 2007
No matter how smart you are and how good you are in individual or group gatherings, there is still a need to know and learn the proper social skills as you interact. It is not enough to learn the basics of social interaction. Learning social skills is a continuous process.

The more social skills you learn, the more successful you will be in gaining acceptance from people. You will feel more comfortable with your environment and find it easier to choose your friends wisely while resisting those individuals who are a negative influence.

Here are some social skills learning tips you need to know:

1. Observe your interactions with others in different situations. If in an initial interaction there seems to be no rapport or sense of being comfortable, you might consider getting to know more about the person before making a second attempt. The person may not be ready for interaction and you may be trying to be pushy. You might need to change strategy.

2. Be aware of your real intentions. What are your true feelings about your interaction with the person? Are you interacting because you want to gather information that you need and that person is not freely giving the information you need? Social skills are a one on one communication. They involve give and take, listening and understanding the messages being conveyed by both communicators. Do not just focus on your needs. Try to understand the other person as well.

3. Be open for any criticisms. A constructive criticism helps towards improving oneself. As you interact be sure to ask for feedback whether that be positive or negative feedback. Ask frequently and make it known that you need honest feedback. It is through their honest feedback you are able to correct yourself and to note your mistakes. Such feedback will enable you to improve your social skills the next time you are faced with the same situation.

4. Take responsibility for your behavior. Apologize for mistakes committed or acts of insensitivity to the issue. Be humble enough to say you are sorry.

5. Be aware of your verbal and non-verbal social skills. Be careful of addressing words that do not go well together with what you feel or your real intentions. Words and actions are often times misinterpreted and can create a lot of confusion. Try to be clear in the things that you say and do.

6. You need to be an active listener before any suggestion or criticism can be learned from. You may hold on until the person delivers his opinion and ask later for clarification. Make it appear that you are interested in fully understanding what is being communicated.

7. Don't be in a hurry to improve everything. Think of one or two interpersonal behaviors you would like to give attention to. But don't obsess over it as there may be be the tendency to not meet expectations and feel discouraged instead. Aim for gradual improvement.

8. Ackowledge your interpersonal strengths and maximize them to the fullest. If you think that your expertise in cooking could have a positive impact in drawing people to you who share your interests, you might want to host a party and let them taste your special dishes. Who knows you may not only draw friends who will enjoy your cooking but make some new life long friendships.

Learning social skills and applying them in practice makes a person more credible to the social group. Keep on updating your social skills learning in preparation for more challenging situations in life. Get ready and take control.
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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