Sunny Basra has always been a bubbly person. A constant center of social gravity, she’s your prototypical, natural extrovert. Originally from the Central Valley, she went on to study communication in college and worked for PepsiCo. “I’m in sales,” she explains. “My job is to meet new people.”
While she’s always felt socially “above average,” in early 2014 she wanted to add new depth to her conversation skills. This was right after she moved to San Francisco, where she found herself in social environments where she knew no one.
She wanted to get past the shallow conversations that are standard fare at parties, those that feel “very surface, almost like an interview.”
While her college communication classes were “theoretical and intellectual,” Jaunty’s course was experience-based, with real-time feedback from the instructors—no textbooks needed.
Interestingly, when she told her colleagues, family and friends she was taking a social intelligence class, they said, “Why would you need that?” Sunny’s confident and sociable demeanor had always disguised the anxiety she’d felt at times. “That’s why people were so surprised… Whether you think you have social anxiety or not, everyone has some social anxiety. Some people feel a little more nervous when they’re talking to new people. Other people feel more nervous with public speaking.
Jaunty gave me the formula for how to communicate with others,” Sunny says. “Now whatever social situation I’m in, I know I’m going to be generally successful using this formula.”
With the new conversational skills she learned in the course, she no longer feels the jitters that used to come with the challenging new client cases. Now, when encountering a new client, she has an added edge in dealing with them. “My job is to build relationships over time. With cold reading and threading, I can dig deeper much quicker than before.”
These skills and lessons have also been helpful in her new role as a manager. As she coaches her employees on selling strategies, she makes sure to impart key nuggets from the class.
For example, she teaches them the difference between being assertive and aggressive. “It’s all about your intention and your approach,” she explains.
Whether at work, or a small dinner party, Jaunty’s lessons have been guiding and influencing Sunny’s life in subtle but impactful ways. As Sunny’s journey shows, even the socially gifted can benefit from some good old fashioned education.