Having great social skills can be very handy for building and maintaining relationships and careers. Social skills were even found to play an important role for leading a happy, enjoyable life.
This is because there is a positive correlation between social skills and mental health. With more healthy relationships, you’re more likely to be satisfied with your life. Unfortunately, there are some people who have poorly developed social skills or people who have anxiety and may therefore find social situations unbearable. When you have great social skills, you can improve not only your relationships, but your self-esteem as well. Everyone can improve their social skills with just a bit of practice. Here are eight ways you can improve your social skills and become more charming, confident, and approachable in order to build healthier relationships.
1. Start small
You don’t have to force yourself to go big right away and do something you’re not comfortable with. Start small by giving out compliments or by smiling to people you know or by saying “thank you” to salesclerks. It’s best to start small than to force a long conversation with someone which might only end up being awkward. By starting small, you begin to develop your self-confidence.
2. Be confident
Even if you’re not, be confident and act like you’re used to being sociable. Don’t let anxiety hold you back. Jump into conversations before you let your nervousness get to you. You don’t have to make the conversations last long. The main goal is to make it easier for you to start conversations thereby improving your social skills. Eventually, you’ll find that you’ve become more confident in talking to other people and you can keep conversations going for longer.
It’s very important to actually listen to the people you’re talking to. By listening and understanding what is being said, it will be easier for you to find paths to keep the conversation going.
Although it may sound easy to do, many people does not really know how to keep their focus solely on the person they’re talking to since many prefer to talk about themselves. Practice listening carefully and keep your attention to the speaker.
4. Be open-minded
One thing that can hinder you from listening properly to another person is your close-mindedness. You might not think you’re being close-minded but while you’re speaking to someone, you might already be judging him or her in the back of your mind.
This doesn’t mean you have to agree with everything they say but try to understand their point of view as well and raise any questions you might have.
5. Ask open-ended questions
If you’re not confident enough to do the talking in a conversation then encourage the other person to keep talking. You can do this by asking open-ended questions that require more than a yes or no reply. Many people are fond of talking about themselves so you can keep the conversation going by simply allowing them to talk about themselves and by being actually interested in listening to them.
6. Be friendly
Always offer a smile to other people so that you’ll appear approachable and people would want to talk to you more. Always greet people and offer help in situations you can. By being friendly, you’re encouraging others to start a conversation with you.
7. Stay up to date on current events
Listen to the news or read up on current trends. This way, you’ll always have something to talk about. Stick to neutral subjects though and avoid the ones that may spark up a conflict of interests and misunderstandings. But still, choose to talk about topics that may be of interest.
Social skills will improve by regular use and practice. Find time to practice your social skills. It doesn’t always have to be with someone new. Talk to close friends or family before trying to make new friends and adding someone new to practice your social interactions with.