Don't you wish you could talk to anyone and say anything in a way that makes anyone interested in what you have to say?  What would that be worth to you? 

It would be worth more money, social intelligence and confidence.  It would provide you an opportunity to say what you want to anyone exactly as you would like it to be heard.  You would have the ability to present, even disinteresting verbiage, in a way that makes people want to listen.

Our careers would improve

Based on current data, trends indicate more jobs for those who have good social skills.  Statistics gathered in a working paper, The Growing Importance of Social Skills in The Labor Market, for the National Bureau of Economic Research [David J. Deming, Harvard Graduate School of Education], indicate jobs with high levels of social interaction rose 12% from 1980-2012 while jobs with higher math intensive skills shrank by 3.3 percentage points over the same time period. 

Our relationships and lifestyle would change

Our careers are only part of what we can use our social skills to improve.  Communication skills are involved in many facets of our life.  They affect our relationships, self esteem, choices and lifestyle.  Not only do we demonstrate our social skills verbally, but our non-verbal skills including body language and physical appearance are also heavily regarded when interacting with friends, family and co-workers.  Being cognizant of our social behaviors is often a natural ability and reflects our cognitive control.  That is the ability of knowing when, what and how to use correct and appropriate behavior. 

Body language makes a difference

While some behavior is learned, most relates to our innate skills.  For example, I'm a dog person.  There was never a dog I feared.  It didn't matter how ferocious a bark they had or if they were charging right at me.  I was a "dog person".  Many people would ask me how I did it.  How I could walk-up to any dog and be accepted as if they knew me.  I simply was not afraid.  My body language was always open and relaxed.  I presented no threat to the dog.  I was calm in my approach.  I could generally sense the dog's personality and I would adapt.

While it isn't necessary to be a dog person in order to demonstrate fantastic social skills, the approach you take in social settings can similarly induce positive or negative reactions.  The choices you make both verbally and non-verbally affect how others respond to you.  A positive reaction builds self-confidence.  That confidence makes social interaction easier.  You feel better about yourself, what you say, how you look and how others perceive you.   This makes your social approach natural and relaxed.  When you feel more relaxed, others are more likely to relax.  Not only does it advance your social confidence, it provides you a positive experience in social settings.

Basically, in order to wake up your social skills we have assembled a quick run down of some basic principals for social success.

  • Understand what actions and behaviors trigger a good response and employ them in the appropriate social situations. 
  • Determine any goals before initiating social interaction. 
  • Learn how to pick-up on a person's body language, appearance and mood quickly in order to generate conversations.  Make sure your conversations are at the right time and place for the topics. 
  • Think less of what others are thinking of you and have a sincere interest in them.
  • If you have a goal for the conversation, stay on point without being overly direct in a way that detracts from the conversation.
  • If you find yourself talking the majority of the time or the person is demonstrating body language that suggests tuning you out, then ask a question to pull him/her back into the conversation. 
  • Determine if the social interaction is moving in a positive direction and learn to casually change the subject when it isn't.
  • Knowing the appropriate time to discontinue the conversation is important.  Especially learn to politely excuse yourself if your social interaction is not going well.  The way to determine this is to watch body language to include loss of eye contact, facial expressions, looking around or checking his/her phone.  
  • Finally, stay relaxed and don't overthink it.  Remember, people are more likely to stay engaged in the conversation if you are personable.  So, keep your conversation casual even in the most rigid of environments.  While you should stay on topic in order to achieve goal efficiency when warranted, it shouldn't sound like your discussion is primarily "goal" motivated.  People don't necessarily respond to your objectives, proposals or requests.  They respond to you.  It helps when they like you.  To like you, they must first get to know you.  So, be casual, relaxed and friendly.  

It shows when you enjoy talking and being social with others.   So get out there and wake up those social skills.  Get to know new people, score that big account and improve your life.  Believe in yourself!  You can do this!


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References:, David J. Deming, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Working Paper 21473 "The Growing Importance To Social Skills In The Labor Market" for the National Bureau of Economic Research, August 2015,  Revised June 2017, Retrieved 1/10/19, Retrieved 1/11/19