‘If you just communicate, you can get by; but if you communicate skillfully, you can work miracles.’
No human can ever survive without communicating. Even when there’s nothing being said or heard, communication takes place. In every walk of life, we communicate with other people, express our feelings and thoughts, and develop relationships as we move.
And maybe that’s why we are called social beings. Humans come with an inbuilt tendency to socialize, and interact with others. Though as natural as communication might seem, there are certain skills that make a person an effective communicator.
Social skills are a set of skills that enable interaction and communication with others. Good social skills present an individual as trustworthy, respectful, responsible, fair, caring and empathetic. A person becomes socially more competent and stands out from the crowd when he has better social skills.
No wonder there are some people who are great at interpersonal skills and instantly become the center of attraction wherever they go. We all want to be that popular face, but are we really working towards getting there?
Here are the most essential social skills that we need to master.
Communication is not just about expressing yourself, but also about listening to what the other person has to say. People love to listen to those who listen to them in the first place. One of the most essential elements of communication is active listening, paying attention and understanding what the other person is saying, before you speak.
And, remember to show genuine interest. People can always make out when you’re pretending to listen but actually not listening.
You don’t have to be an orator to be an effective speaker. You just have to be pleasant and noticeable. Remember, no one is a born speaker. You become a good speaker over time, by practicing the art of speaking and polishing yourself. What you say becomes effective by how you say it.
The way you speak includes the pitch of your voice, your tone, the pace at which you speak, the timing of pauses in your speech and a lot of other little details. To become a good speaker, I insist you to follow the best speakers in the world, follow their body language, their speech variations, and implement them in the way you speak.
Body language is the most essential tool in communication. Apparently, 80% of what you understand in a conversation is read through the body, not through the words. People may not always tell you how they feel, but they will always show you. Pay attention to the details.
Non-verbal gestures, physical behavior, hands, and eye movement tell a lot about a person. Knowing body language basics benefits you doubly. It helps you control your poise and present yourself in a better manner; and, it helps you understand others by what they are not saying.
When you are communicating with someone, you are doing it for a reason. Your interpersonal communication should be able to change a person’s attitude or mindset towards an idea, an object, or a person by what you convey. Words have an effect, words with emotions have a powerful effect.
You see, there are some salespersons who engage their clients in a way that they never leave the room without closing a deal. Is it some magic? No. It is purely the art of persuasion, practiced until they became perfect at it.
The important thing, however, is that people get persuaded by others only if they something valuable and trustworthy in them. So, before you try to persuade others, build trust, and show them integrity.
There are a lot of people who are very intelligent, great at their work and really talented. But, they lack an emotional quotient. Emotional quotient, or what you call empathy is the ability to understand others’ emotions.
Being aware of other people’s reactions and the ability to understand why they react as they do is really important to develop your interpersonal skills.
Empathy and compassion are the key elements to building long term relationships. People love to associate with others who are considerate, understanding and empathetic. Before you make judgements about others, put yourself in their shoes.
Social skills is a vast subject and includes several other virtues including friendship skills, cooperation, politeness, respect, sharing, participating, encouraging, et cetera. While most of these virtues are taught to us by our parents while we are kids, we kind of forget to implement them when we actually interact with others.
The key to excellent interpersonal relationships is to hold in to the values that we’ve been learning and keep working on these essential social skills.