There are many things that one can learn in life. But, out of all the different skills and knowledge that one can acquire, learning social skills may be one of the most important. After all, it is through socializing with others that we learn about communication, relationships, and networking.
How to learn social skills in 5 steps
While some people seem to be natural-born socializers, for the rest of us it takes a lot of practice – and often learning from our mistakes.
After spending 15 years studying social skills here is everything I’ve learned summed up into 5 points:
1. Social interactions are what you make of them
How you act is contagious.
- If you act nervous and awkward, then the interaction will feel nervous and awkward. If you act confident, then it will feel confident.
- Act how you want it to feel and it becomes that in a real way. Behave like you are already friends and the social frame feels that way.
To have a strong social frame of mind, you need to be in a good place internally.
This means feeling confident and positive, being proud of yourself, and having a good sense of self-worth at that moment. This authenticity builds on the next successful interaction and becomes your genuine belief.
If you don’t feel good about yourself, it will be difficult to project that confidence and positive energy when interacting with others.
If you feel jaded, you can reframe your feelings and learn to view them as strengths, like wisdom and good foresight.
So make sure to work on building up your self-esteem, and focus on the things that make you feel good about yourself.
2. Practice is key
Practice social skills as often as possible. Talk to people you don’t know. Books, articles, and videos alone do almost nothing for you.
- Practice social skills every day by starting and holding conversations with cashiers, neighbors, and classmates. The more you practice, the better you’ll get at it. This includes live role-playing – soon enough, it’ll become second nature.
- Social skills are learnable, and like any skill, the more you practice them the better you’ll become. You can learn storytelling, humor, and conversational structures. These can be learned similarly to music. You can learn conversational “scales” and then riff on your own.
- Feedback is golden. If you can find real-time feedback it will help you iterate and rapidly improve.
3. There are 4 cornerstones
Body language is the way we use our bodies to communicate. It includes things like eye contact, hand gestures, vocal tonality, posture, and facial expressions.
Conversational agility is the ability to start a conversation, keep it going, and make sure it’s enjoyable for both parties. Breaking things down like storytelling, humor, questions, statements, flirting, and topic choices will help you navigate your communication better. It is all learnable.
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. It’s important for building relationships and maintaining rapport. Caring is important! Listen to others and be very slow to judge.
Assertiveness is the ability to speak up for yourself, respectfully set boundaries, and effectively say no when needed. It’s an important skill for maintaining relationships and not getting taken advantage of.
By breaking these social skills down into bite-sized chunks you can learn and improve in each one.
4. There are social barriers that are stopping you
Social anxiety and fear
Social anxiety and fear are the two biggest things stopping people from reaching their full social potential. These emotions can be so powerful that they can completely paralyze us and keep us from interacting with others.
The more you practice socializing despite these fears, the easier it will become. Soon enough, you’ll start to see that your fears were unfounded and that socializing is not as bad as you thought it was. You build up real courage.
If you are very shy or very disagreeable, it will be more difficult to be social or hold relationships. Also being high in self-consciousness can bare a sensitivity to being judged.
You can learn how to act more outgoing and agreeable, and become more approachable. It will just take some extra effort and practice.
Your bad beliefs about social skills, like what is possible or right/wrong, are holding you back. These can also stem from your upbringing, culture, or religion.
These beliefs might be that you need to be perfect, that socializing is scary, or that you’re not good enough.
Challenge these beliefs by learning more about social skills and how they work. See if you can find evidence that disproves your beliefs. The more you learn, the easier it will be to let go of these harmful beliefs.
Work on building up your self-worth. Focus and improve constantly.
5. The best single piece of advice: Slow down your voice and movements
This is one of the most important things you can do to feel and come across as more confident and in control. When we’re anxious, our voices tend to speed up, we may begin nervously laughing and our movements can become more fidgety.
Do your best to slow down both your speaking and physical movement, and you’ll instantly appear calmer and more collected. You will also have more time to think and react.
Improving your social skills as an adult is a process that takes time and practice. But it’s worth it because strong social skills can lead to better relationships, both personal and professional. So don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and start practicing today.
We can all use a helping hand sometimes, and our social skills classes for adults could be the game changer you are looking for to improve your social, professional, and romantic life.
As you get better you gain momentum and meet new people which leads to even more social opportunities, and before you know it you’ll be a social superstar!
How Jaunty Social Skills Training Services Work
We’ve made the process of mastering social skills simple.
Here’s how to get started with us:
- Step 1: Complete our form to let us know your needs.
- Step 2: If we’re a good fit for each other, you can set up a call to discuss our service and pricing with you.
- Step 3: We have two services, and they can work together: The Six-Week Masterclass and The Jaunty Gym.
If you’ve been wanting to improve your social skills but haven’t had the time to commit, or have had bad experiences in the past, fill out our form to learn more about your options. Regardless of where you are socially we have found that anyone can improve their social skills and their social life. You can try it out for a month or two and see how you like it. For testimonials from our clients, check out our success stories.