Learning how to improve social skills can bring certain benefits to one’s personal and professional life. Here are a few tips on how to be a better socializer.
In this article:
- Become a Better Listener
- Use and Remember People’s Names
- Fake It ‘Til You Make It
- Let Them Talk Instead of Hogging the Conversation
- Be Genuinely Curious and Interested
- Be Up-To-Date With Current Events
- Give Sincere Compliments
- Stop Complaining
- Spread Positive Vibes
- Try to Carry the Conversation Instead of Giving up on It
- Don’t Freak out Over Moments of Silence
How to Improve Your Social Skills
1. Become a Better Listener
Improving social skills and becoming a better conversationalist starts with becoming a better listener. Here are some simple ways to improve this essential skill:
- Focus on the speaker
- Look at social interaction as a conversation rather than a debate
- Express interest through nonverbal signs, such as nodding
- Before replying, pause to gather your thoughts.
- Listen actively by responding. Some polite responses include “I agree” and “I see your point.”
- Paraphrase and clarify the points raised by the speaker.
2. Use and Remember People’s Names
The sweetest word for any person is their name. Calling someone by their name can easily break the ice.
Be sure to know how to properly pronounce the other person’s name, or at least, try your best to if you’re having difficulty saying it. Learning about a person’s name can also be a good ice-breaker to get to know the other person more.
3. Fake It ‘Til You Make It
Observe people you consider as good socializers. Study how they converse and which mannerisms and habits make them more engaging.
Try to mirror what they do with your colleagues and friends. Do it in a safer social environment instead of using your new strategies on strangers.
With time and practice, you’ll be able to improve your social skills and conversing will come easier to you.
4. Let Them Talk Instead of Hogging the Conversation
If you’re struggling thinking of a good topic for conversation, ask the other person to tell you a story. Remember, there are two people in the conversation, so it’s not just up to you to carry it.
This can bring several benefits, including:
- You’ll gain a better understanding of the person.
- The storyteller will appreciate you more since you have shown interest.
- You can also pick up on good habits people have when telling stories. You can apply these strategies to your storytelling to improve your social skills.
Ask them to tell something about them, and don’t just use it to sneak in something you want to talk about. Focus on what they’re staying and let the conversation flow naturally from there.
Learning more about the other person through their stories can also deepen your relationship. This breaks the ice and can even be a source of inside jokes for both of you.
5. Be Genuinely Curious and Interested
People can smell insincerity from a mile away. Try to genuinely cultivate curiosity and appreciation for the other person.
Instead of seeing the other person as someone you have to teach things to, try to see it the other way around. Ask questions and listen because you can learn new things from everyone.
6. Be Up-to-Date with Current Events
Keeping yourself updated on what’s happening around the world is also a good way of improving your social skills. Current events are something that binds everyone together, so it’s a good source of topics to talk about.
If you’re struggling to keep the conversation going, try talking about current events. This is especially helpful if you’re trying to break the ice and form a connection with someone you don’t know that much about yet.
Of course, it’s best to tailor the topics based on the other person’s personality and interests. Adjust your conversation based on what the person has revealed about themselves so far — if they’ve expressed dislike over something, steer clear from it.
7. Give Sincere Compliments
Building the other person can go a long way in improving your conversation. This can boost your confidence and help you improve your social skills significantly.
Avoid complimenting the person right away because they might see this as insincere, or worse, offensive. Try to get to know the other person first, then find good things about them you can compliment them on.
You can do this by finding something positive about the other person, whether physical or something about their personality.
A compliment can be as simple as a nice piece of clothing they’re wearing or as deep as an appreciation for the stories and experiences that they share. People will warm up to you if you express interest in something they have to offer.
8. Stop Complaining
It’s easy to start and continue a conversation by ranting and complaining to each other. These shared negative experiences can instantly help you form a bond with the other person.
Over time, negativity can be damaging. Avoid sustaining a relationship on negativity and balance it out with positivity, too.
It’s okay to talk about negative things that have happened to you, but when you’re processing it with the other person, try to see the positive side of it as well. This allows you not only to build your relationship on positivity, but it also improves your ability to be more optimistic.
9. Spread Positive Vibes
Aside from avoiding negativity, it’s also good to spread positive vibes and build up the people around you. This will be a hard hill to climb if you’re stuck in negative thinking, so try cultivating positivity within yourself first.
If you catch yourself thinking negatively, try to stop it in its tracks. One way to do this is to have a gratitude list, which reminds yourself of the good things you have in your life.
Once you’ve learned to become more positive, this will radiate and make you more attractive to others. People like being close to the light instead of darkness.
Negative thinking will also contribute to added anxiety and fear in a conversation, which will limit your ability to improve your social skills and enjoy social interactions.
10. Try to Carry the Conversation Instead of Giving Up on It
If you’re having trouble keeping the conversation going, don’t just shut down and give up on it. Here are some tips to help you power through:
- Talk about topics that interest both of you.
- Pay careful attention to what they say and how they say it.
- Ask open-ended questions instead of questions that only require a yes or no answer.
- Avoid false flattery just to salvage the conversation.
- Avoid answering with just a yes or no, unless that’s all the response that’s needed.
Of course, you should end the conversation if both parties don’t seem interested anymore or you’ve exhausted everything and are still struggling.
11. Don’t Freak Out Over Moments of Silence
Having moments of silence from time-to-time is okay. Trying to fill the silence unnecessarily can do more harm than good.
If the other person stops at a specific point and you want to continue the conversation, try to go bring up a mutually interesting topic. In this way, they’ll know you’re still interested in talking to them.
Learning how to improve social skills can be a good move for you, both personally and professionally. We hope these tips help you become more interesting and engaging in social settings.
Do you have any questions on how to improve social skills? Are there other strategies you want others to learn? Let us know in the comments section below.