Social skills have a great impact on your success as a professional, social skills basically, is the way you interact with others and carry yourself at work and you’d agree with me that this can have a major impact on your success or the lack of it thereof during the course of your career. After several researches, it was opined that doing well at work involves more than completing tasks and projects timely and successfully. To truly succeed in your career, you’ll need social skills.
What Are Social Skills?
A social skill according to Wikipedia is any competence aiding interactions and communications with others where social rules and relations are created, communicated, and changed in a verbal and a nonverbal way. The process of learning such skills is called socialization.
Social skills are basically soft skills, sometimes referred to as interpersonal skills, and are naturally defined by how well you relate to others. These include:
- Verbal communication: Verbal communication predominantly involves how you speak to others, from your phrasing to your tone of voice.
- Nonverbal communication: Given that we don’t just communicate by speaking, one eye roll often has the power of a thousand words. Therefore, nonverbal communication involves your body language, facial expressions, eye contact, and so on.
You could clearly see why these types of abilities would be important in the workplace. Above all else, be able to communicate effectively with others on your team is an essential skill. If you have a customer- or client-facing role, the way you carry yourself as well as your listening abilities can make a huge difference in interactions.
The Importance of Social Skills
It’s increasingly ubiquitous for jobs to need social skills and according to the Pew Research Center that’s expected to grow. In 2018, 42% of the workforce had jobs in which social skills were most significant. Concurrently, the growth in employment for jobs in which social skills were most significant grew 111% between 1980 and 2018.
Another report from Pew Research Center notes that the strongest employment growth with 13.1% by 2024 is expected for jobs that necessitate high levels of social skills, including every job from bartenders to home health aides. According to a Harvard University study, people who can build social skills in addition to their technical skills have more job opportunities and higher wages.
How To Improve Your Social Skills
Some people have the gift of lengthy chats. However, for others, expressing their thoughts verbally during meetings and in-person interactions might be more challenging. Just maybe your resting face looks unwelcoming, or you’re uncomfortable with eye contact. It could also be that you find engaging with others a challenge, even in the best of circumstances. Irrespective of your reason, you can boost your social skills and become more comfortable during social interactions.
If you want to know how you can adjust and improve your social skills to succeed at work and build stronger connections with colleagues and customers, then read on.
Assess the Situation
It’s vital to determine what skills we have and which ones we need to improve on. This might feel uncomfortable, but so is growth,try reaching out to a reliable colleague to ask how you come across. Sometimes, we’re not even aware of how we carry ourselves.
While at work, it’s important to observe your colleagues, note how they interact with each other, What their one-on-one conversations with customers sound like, and if there is anything you can note about their body language that you can use in improving yourself.
Be a Mimic
Once you have a general overview of what others do, try adopting those positive habits. This may mean opening meetings by asking the person sitting beside you about their weekend. Or, you might want to smile often as you pass people in the hallway. Maybe it means listening to what people say instead of focusing on what you’ll say next in the conversation. Whatever it turns out to be, use it to better your social skills.
If you avoid small talks because you don’t care much about your co-worker’s TV-watching habits, push back on that tendency. Those moments of small talk are the pathway to deeper connections.
Listen carefully to what people say and get infused and interested in their responses.
Taking classes along with reading can help strengthen your social skills. For instance, if you find talking in groups a bit uncomfortable, an improv class will help loosen you up.
You can also take classes to improve listening and other social skills you may want to sharpen. There are a variety of free or low-cost classes you can take online on different educational platform.
If you are looking to improve your posture, facial expressions, verbal communications, and more, It’s great to know what you want to work on, but the reality is it’s hard to be successful if you’re trying to work on too many things at the-same time. Prioritize different areas where you’d like to update your behavior at different times.
Also, try to set SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, timely) goals, rather than fairytale intentions.
How To Achieve Your Goals
Here are defined ways you can use to ensure that you achieve your goals:
Make a List
Note down your goals and your roadmap on how to achieve them. Even something as simple as making efforts to smile at every customer or colleague is worth listing.
Set deadlines for every goal you want to achieve and track your progress. Check them off, as you meet each goal on your list, and then expand your list with more things you’d like to accomplish.
Reward Your Accomplishments
Always reward yourself for each goal achieved. If you completed a class or reached another career-related goal, ensure to add it to your resume and LinkedIn profile.
Consider Getting a Partner
The usefulness of having someone to talk to about your goals cannot be overemphasized. You could ask a colleague, family member, or friend if they’d be interested in partnering with you. They might’ve goals to accomplish as well. Having support will help you both.