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A Guide to Sharpen Your Social Skills

Photo by Mabel Sim

Having social skills is one of the most essential keys in dealing with ups and downs we face in life. And by sharpening these skills, it creates a process where it enriches our unique personalities. Plus, social skills render a significant impact in our everyday life; especially when we make new friends, talk to strangers, venture out into the world or even travel. And when it comes to working? Social skills help a great deal! It allows us to better handle conversing with employees, dealing with clients and manoeuvring around those water cooler talks. On a personal level, social skills help us get out of our comfort zones; it allows us to better grasp things that life throws at us. And, it helps us engage with people from various backgrounds, ages and subcultures. So, here is a guide to help you sharpen your social skills.

Photo by Mabel Sim

1. Find Common Ground

First off, when meeting someone new, try to identify topics of common interest. According to an article by NBC News, by building a connection on a variety of topics, this helps people strengthen their relationships. On top of that, it allows people to get acquainted gradually without causing pressures and leads to connectivity and trust. When meeting new people, start off with basic questions, so you can read the room and network easily. For example, ice-breaker-type questions are a great route to go down, so build with a "what kind of music do you like?", “where is your hometown?” or a "what do you do in your free time?". And when they start talking, this creates a path for you to also share your likes and similar interests. From my personal point of view, my advice would be to not focus the conversation on yourself. This will probably make the other person feel a little sidelined, and your approach may even come off as egotistical.

Photo by Mabel Sim

2. Be yourself

Secondly, just be yourself. You don't need to pretend to understand topics that you are not familiar with, or pretend to be an expert. Just be humble. Instead of pretending to know about specific topics, it's better to be honest. Asking questions about things you are unfamiliar with will also show others that you are interested and are willing to know more. For example, when others talk about travelling to Spain, you don't have to pretend you know Spain very well, you can just say "I haven't been to Spain. What is the best thing about travelling there?" While it is good to have a common interest, it is also important to know when to just step back and listen. So, don't be afraid to be yourself when you are socialising with others because they will always appreciate your genuity.

Photo by Mabel Sim

3. Compliment People

Everyone loves a good compliment from time to time. According to Better by Today, complimenting people is beneficial to both the recipient and the person giving the compliments. When it comes to conversations, they can make great conversation starters because the energy given off would make other people feel happy and appreciated. Phrases like "I like your bracelets! Where did you buy it from?" or "you have a really nice smile" do the trick nicely. When complimenting someone, make sure that your word choice and tone of voice are friendly and genuine so that you would not be off-putting to people.

Photo by Mabel Sim

4. Maintain Eye Contact

According to Brandastic, eye contact is actually a type of body language, and it plays an important role when it comes to talking with people. It allows us to understand whether the person you're speaking to is actually interested in the conversation. If they look distracted, you should consider another approach and ask them different questions to keep the ball rolling. Now, we've all been in a conversation that is not the most interesting. When you're in a position like that, even if you don't feel like maintaining it, remember to maintain eye contact and keep smiling with them. This shows that you respect the person you're talking to, and that there are equals within the conversation. This will not only improve your non-verbal communication skills but your overall presence as well. People would feel respected and thus have a pleasant conversation with you.

Though social skills are of great importance in our lives, morphing into a social butterfly is easier than done. Truth is, conversing is hard, and some of us are not natural when it comes down to it. But with a little practice and finding out what works for you will help in the long run, and you will get there eventually!

By Mabel Sim


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