20 Ways to Improve Your Social Skills to Win in Life


1- Interrupting strangers

It may sound kind of extreme but it’s very simple. Humans have a biological nature that kicks in when they get approached by strangers and it’s because we come from tribes a hundred decades ago where if you meet someone who’s a stranger meaning that they are outside of your tribe, your brain instantly kicks in and starts scanning them to understand are they a friend or a foe, an enemy or they are trying to sell you something.

When you approach a stranger, you’re flexing your social muscles and building them over time because you’re put into this high-pressure social situation where it’s kind of sink or swim, win or fail and you have to basically show up and be confronted in that social interaction. When you develop the habit of interrupting people you’ll improve your social skill to high levels.

Social skills mean the ability to read social cues. It's being socially aware and being able to tell what someone is thinking and feeling.

Not only from the words that are coming out of their mouth but also from the energy of the environment.

My action step for you would be to get a job where you’re approaching loads of strangers or where you have to interact with new people on a consistent basis. And if you can’t get that kind of job, I would recommend outside of your job to push yourself to say hello to everyone that you pass, to smile at people, to engage with everyone you come across to basically build your social muscles.

2- Raising your self-esteem

Self-esteem is how much you love and accept yourself and how much you understand and have compassion for yourself. The higher your self-esteem, the happier you are in life, but it also leads to much better social skills. By developing the habit of accepting and loving yourself you’ll raise your self-esteem and when that happens people will start treating you differently. The quality of friends and the quality of interactions that you’ll have will improve so much because you liked and respected yourself so much more.

People tend to take you at your own self-assessment.

Unknown

We always tell people who and what we are. It’s not the words that we’re speaking, it’s the body language, the underlying, anything beneath the words we’re always telling people who we are. It’s like if you get approached by a homeless person and they’re asking for money or cigarettes. Before they even say the words that are coming out of their mouths, you can tell that they’re asking to take rather than give. On the other hand, if you get approached by an individual who has high self-esteem, oftentimes you’ll stop dead in your tracks and you’ll say wait for a second, this person has something important to tell me. Developing your self-esteem also means that you tend to attract and get into relationships with people who have a similar level of self-esteem. So if you raise your self-esteem, you’re gonna end up attracting higher-quality partners, friends, business relationships, and everything.

3- Develop the habit of overcoming fears

One of the best ways to achieve any of your goals is to learn how to overcome your fears. Every time you’re trying something new, any time you need to approach someone, anytime you need to accomplish any goal, you’re always going to be scared. The best way I learned how to overcome fears was through meditation. In meditation, you learn how to tap into your body and you learn about physical sensations and how they relate to emotions and you discover what’s fear.

Fear is an uncomfortable body sensation we are resisting.

So if you need to approach someone for a business deal, if you are doing a cold call, or if you need to approach someone that you’re interested in, you’re always going to feel fear. The key is learning how to relax into your body to feel the sensations that are uncomfortable and that you’re resisting and to take action anyways. It’s like jumping in cold water or ripping a band-aid off. You know it’s gonna suck, but you take action in spite of that. So you feel the fear and take action anyway.

4- Keep your interest alive

One of the most important communication skills that help to be socially accepted is to keep your interest alive in people and places. Develop an interest in all the things around you when it’s right side up and when it’s upside down. Take a keen interest in the politics of the day and the speeches and all that’s happening that gives you good stuff to debate and decide where you stand on the major issues, not only the political issues but major life issues. Being interested in life and people, that’s the whole study: Life and People. Study life in all of its twists and turns. Study people and all of their variety. Somebody you thought was going to stay they leave, here’s what you have to learn to say “isn’t that interesting?” and somebody that you thought was going to leave stays and you say ” I wouldn’t have thought that in a hundred years. There’s a surprise a day waiting for you interacting with people. Some people are nice and some people are not so nice, but there are only a few really nasty miserable horrible people in the world so you can handle them for the rest of your life whenever you meet them. Be a student of life and people and all the varieties and what’s happening globally. Some people are easy and some are miserable. Be interested to understand them and learning how to interact with them.

5- Gather knowledge

Gather every idea you can that makes you a better communicator. You must learn to say it well once you’ve got something. If you’ve got something good to say you can’t mumble. It’s got to be clear or no matter how good the message is that you’ve got to deliver, how good the instructions, how good the ideas, no matter how good they are, if you don’t deliver them well you lose the power and the opportunity to be a good communicator. Number one is to have something good to say and number two is to say it well.

6- Be sincere

If a message is delivered with sincerity that makes all the difference. If the speaker is sincere, if the mother is sincere, that’s captivating for the children. If the friend is sincere, even when criticizing something about us, we will give them room.

7- Repetition

To get better at something you just have to do it again and again. Accept every opportunity to go make a little talk if that’s going to be your business. Get better at talking to your kids and come up with more illustrations. Come up with more ideas, read an extra book on how to communicate with teenagers so you have something a little better to say, and then practice it, be good at it. The more your repeat and practice the better you’ll be at communication.

8- Make it brief

Don’t take too long to say it if you can say it in shorter sentences and shorter time. This will make your talk powerful but brief, well said but briefer. The stronger you become and the wiser you become, it shows in your language and in your manner. The texture of your communication changes and reaches where it couldn’t reach before.

9- Develop your own style

To master communication skills, you’ve got to develop your own style. You can be a student of style, not copying any one person, but you like the way your mentor says it this way, you like your friend’s gestures. So you can learn good social skills from different people around you but you’ve got to develop your own style, your own persona. It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.

10- Improve your vocabulary

The better your vocabulary the better you can share ideas that are meaningful and find words to use that you couldn’t use before. Interesting story in vocabulary, a scientist took a survey among prisoners many years ago, some rehabilitation programs they were working on for prisoners. They weren’t looking for this, but here’s what they found. There is definitely a connection between vocabulary and behavior and here’s what they’ve discovered:

The more limited the vocabulary, the more tendency to poor behavior.

Isn’t that interesting? If you were very limited in your ability to comprehend because you had such a small vocabulary that no matter what someone said it would still be confusing. Sometimes that’s because the vocabulary is so limited that it doesn’t have the ability to register the scene on the screen of your consciousness.
So they started working on vocabulary, and immediately behavior started to change.

11- Try a little humor

Sometimes you got to try a little wit and a little humor. When you get a silly question you should give a silly answer. You shouldn’t give an honest answer to a silly question. Ladu Astor in the English parliament exasperated one day with Winston Churchill. She said Winston if you were my husband I’d put poison in your coffee. He said lady Astor if you were my wife I would drink it.

Do not let anybody put you down. You can use this kind of humor to defend yourself without offending others.

12- Learn to listen

Listen more than you talk.

Richard Branson

When communicating with others, we often focus on what we should say. However effective communication is less about talking and more about listening. The better you listen, the better you are at communication. First, listen to what others have to say and then you can provide a thoughtful answer that shows you have taken those ideas into account. Don’t just wait for their mouth to stop moving to make your point. Listening is not the same thing as hearing. Learning to listen means making it a point to listen closely to not just the words they speak, but also to their body language and the emotions they’re displaying. If a speaker can feel and see that someone is listening and understanding that can help build a stronger, deeper relationship between conversationalists.

13- Pay attention to body language

Your non-verbal communication cues, the way you look, listen, move, and react to another person tell them more about how you’re feeling than words alone ever can. When your non-verbal signals match up with the words you’re saying, they increase trust, clarity, and rapport. When they don’t, it can generate tension, mistrust, and confusion. Basic rules for good body language when communicating include:

  • Feeling relaxed at all times.
  • Avoid crossing your arms.
  • Always making eye contact.
  • Take your hands out of your pocket while you speak.

This helps the other person know that they have your full attention and that you are open to a two-way conversation. If you want to become a better communicator, it’s important to become more sensitive, not only to the body language and non-verbal signals of others but also to your own.

14- Show respect

People have different opinions, different abilities, and different talents. Respectful communication involves the ability to effectively assert your own views and fully listen to the views of others. If you respect others when they show their ideas and opinions, they will be more likely to communicate with you. Active listening or simply using the name of the person you are speaking to, can both be effective. Don’t multitask while communicating, avoid using your phone, make eye contact, use people’s names, and make sure what you’ve said is professional and respectful.

15- Maintain eye contact

Some are blue and some are green. Some are brown and others hazel. That’s right the subject is eyes. But more important than the color of someone’s eyes is what their eyes are saying. Eye contact is a type of body language that is extremely important during communication and conversation.

Sometimes our eyes and body language speak even more than our words.

When you keep eye contact with a person to whom you are talking, it shows that you are focused and paying attention. It means that you’re actually listening to what the person has to say. Avoiding eye contact shows that you are not paying attention to what the other person is saying. It could mean that you may not like the person and you don’t want to continue the conversation anymore. These are the negative effects of avoiding eye contact.

Sometimes, the other person might read it wrongly and therefore produce a negative feeling towards you as well.

16- Ask questions

Asking questions is a powerful tool in communication. Questioning is a very good way of starting a conversation and keeping it going. It’s also a very good way of obtaining more information about a particular topic. Asking questions also shows that you are paying attention to what the other person is saying because you tend to spend far more time drawing information out from others than broadcasting your own opinions. By asking questions, you learn more and that helps you build stronger personal and professional relationships.

17- Have emotional awareness

Emotions play a major role in effective communication with others. Emotional awareness or the ability to understand and manage your emotions will help you succeed when communicating with other people. If you have emotional awareness, you will communicate more effectively. You will also better understand what the other person is communicating to you and why. Sometimes, understanding how a person is communicating with you is more important than what is actually being said. Sometimes we try to hide our feelings, but why? That’s because emotions don’t lie. Instead of trying to hide your feelings, focus on becoming aware of your feelings and the feelings of those around you in order to be a better communicator.

18- Keep it positive

An important aspect of good communication skills is the ability to communicate positively, no matter how upset and stressed you are. Try to stay positive because no one like to be around someone who is miserable and depressed. Do your best to be positive and friendly with other people. Maintain a positive cheerful attitude. when you always maintain a positive attitude, people would love to listen and talk to you all the time and also respond positively to you.

19- Avoid filler words

Words such as “like, well, you know, hmm, I guess, and uh” are meaningless and have no value in any conversation. Instead of using these filler words, take time and pause a little before speaking. For example, if someone were to ask you how was your trip to Turkey, instead of saying “Well, it was fun. Uh… I enjoyed it a lot.” Take time, pause, and say “It was fun and I enjoyed it a lot”

20- Think before you speak

Thinking before you speak is a good habit to develop to avoid causing problems in your life, whether it’s in your relationships, career, or elsewhere. On the other hand, speaking before you think is a bad habit that can get you into trouble and hurt you in the most important areas of your life.

Think twice before you speak because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.

Napoleon Hill

After you’ve listened and understood, pause and take time to draft in your head what you want to say. Avoid saying the first thing that comes to your mind.

The bottom line

Good communication skills can play an important role in every aspect of life. Communicating effectively is achievable. The popular saying “Practice makes perfect” is very applicable here.

By practicing these skills we talked about, you can become a more effective communicator and will and will reap benefits in both your personal and professional life.

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