Are you planning to attend or host a party soon? Have you been working too much lately or just gotten used to staying home? Now is the time to get out and exercise your social skills.
In social situations, why is it that some people make such a positive impression? What are the behaviors that define someone as a confident class act? The answers are found in five key social skills.
How You Feel
It’s not really anything you do, but how you feel. It’s the capacity to relax. Stress and anxiety are contagious. If you seem confident and composed, you’ll encounter that in others. The first step in the ability to relax is to identify what makes you anxious. Sometimes, it’s simply nervousness about being nervous. Certain actions also trigger anxiety. Try to do things with calm intent. Doing things in rapid, jerky motions awakens a primitive fight-or-flight syndrome. So take your time. Be aware of your posture and remind yourself to stand or sit up straight. During the gathering if you begin to feel nervous, step away and power pose behind closed doors for a couple of minutes. (Super heroes do it all the time. Make it your own super power.)
Ability to Listen
The ability to listen is the second skill for social success. People who are ill at ease often have a habit of talking too much, too fast, or too loud. Don’t be that person. Think of the conversation as a traffic light. Sometimes your light is green; sometimes it’s red. Cooperation in conversation gives everyone a chance to get where he or she is going at a balanced pace. While you are listening, take the opportunity to control your breathing. Your voice will sound calmer and confident during your turn to speak.
Confident interaction is a skill tapped into while you are listening. Empathy and genuine interest in the experiences of another person develop with training yourself to really feel what someone is trying to communicate. It is probably the quickest way to make yourself truly unforgettable in a positive way. Topping someone’s story is the opposite of empathy. Despite its regularity in social settings, topping shows lack of confidence. It’s another way for people to get back into their comfort zone. A major part of social anxiety is self-consciousness, which is helped by focusing strongly on someone else. That is empathy.
Building rapport is the outward expression of feeling empathy. When you feel empathy, you act so as to build rapport, which says basically “I am like you; we understand each other.” This way of communicating can synchronize down to incredibly fine levels. It is an unconscious process, but it can be encouraged by conscious efforts. Mirroring or matching verbal behavior is one example. Another, important conscious act is appropriate eye contact. It simply shows that you are offering undivided attention. People need to receive and give attention. Be willing to do both.
Sense of Status
People need a sense of status. As a confident person and as a class act, you are in a unique position to make others feel recognized and important. Sometimes it means singling someone out for praise in front of a group. Taking someone aside to show gratitude has the same affect.
When you are elevating others you can enjoy the feeling of being at ease as you direct the focus off of you.
As the door opens upon your next social gathering, apply these five key social skills and you’ll radiate power, and in its reflection you’ll shine brightly.
Adapted from Dale Carnegie: The 5 Key Social Skills
Reprinted by Permission of Nightingale-Conant Corporation www.nightingale.com