How to Improve Social Skills

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  • 0:03 The Importance of…
  • 1:04 Interpersonal Skills
  • 2:11 Emotional Intelligence
  • 2:57 Body Language and Appearance
  • 3:34 Online Social Skills
  • 4:31 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Monica Gragg

Monica has taught college-level courses in Tourism, HR and Adult Education. She has a Master's in Education and is three years into a PhD.

We all struggle with social interactions and knowing what is or is not appropriate. This lesson offers tips for improving social skills. Improving our social skills can help to improve confidence and the quality of our relationships.

The Importance of Social Skills

First, let's break down how social skills impact our life. Social skills, the ability we need in order to successfully interact with others, are important because they influence how we get along with others. Our ability to communicate, attract, and understand the people we interact with at school, work, and home can dictate our level of self-confidence and quality of life. If we lack social skills, we may feel alone or frustrated. On the other hand, if we have good social skills, we are likely to have more meaningful relationships both personally and professionally.

Next, understanding what constitutes poor social skills can help us to further understand the importance of developing effective social skills. Poor social skills are usually linked to a bad attitude, rudeness, or inappropriate behavior. For example, consider someone who is always negative. Who wants to be around someone that constantly complains? Did you know that physical appearance and body language are a part of your social skills? How long can you sit and chat with someone that smells bad or is constantly texting?

In this lesson we will learn how to develop some specific social skills.

Interpersonal Skills

Interpersonal skills are how we communicate and interact with people on a daily basis. Have you heard of the phrase, 'treat people how you want to be treated'? That principle applies here. Let's start with listening. When we speak, we want to be heard. Be an active listener by expressing interest. You can use body language by making eye contact, nodding, or verbally responding. When someone tells a story with great enthusiasm, you should emulate their excitement to a degree. It also helps to repeat or paraphrase what they are saying to show that you are actually listening.

Has someone ever complimented you and it made your day? Giving compliments is also a part of being a good listener and being observant. If someone is wearing a new outfit, lost weight, or told you about something they achieved, recognizing their efforts with a compliment will improve your likability. This will associate you with kindness. Since interpersonal skills are about how we interact with people on a daily basis, you should focus on being cooperative. Some examples include being helpful, supportive, and a team player. There will be tasks that we don't want to do, but those around you will recognize your selflessness and will want to return the favor. In a work setting, people will want to work with you again.

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify your own emotions and the emotions of others. Once you recognize those emotions, it's all about how you respond. This topic is fairly complex, but a great exercise is to reflect on how you behave when you feel certain emotions and determine if the behavior is helpful in your relationship with others.

Being able to manage emotions, especially during an intense moment, will help you avoid poor decision-making. Think about a time you overreacted or regretted something you said. Was it worth it? On the other hand, how you respond to other people's emotions will also improve your relationships. Let's use crying, for example. If someone is crying at work, what do you do? Do you pretend like you didn't see it, or do you console that person? This is about recognizing that person, their emotions, and determining the right response.

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