Social skills. They can make or break careers, create lives of plenty or keep you downtrodden and destitute. Your mastery of social situations is perhaps the single most important element of your life. Those with excellent social skills will always have their pick of careers, promotion opportunities, and fulfilling relationships.

While those who are somewhat lacking in the finer arts of social interaction will come up against challenges at every turn, have poor career prospects, and find themselves alone and unloved. Mastering just a few simple social skills can help turn your life around to one of unlimited potential:

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1. Learn to Listen Attentively

Social skills are more about communication than anything else. Whenever two people are interacting there is always a receiver, and a communicator. Developing your listening abilities is just one half of the battle towards mastering your social skills.

Fortunately it is an easy one as all you need to do is give your undivided attention to the other party. A few points that help you hone your listening skills are:

  • Give the occasional nod to show that you are still interested in the conversation
  • Provide relevant input at the appropriate moments
  • Prevent your gaze from roaming around the room
  • Try to make the other person feel like they are the most important person on the planet

2. Maintain Eye Contact and Smile

Keeping steady eye contact and smiling will help make every conversation more meaningful. Think back to a conversation that you would rather have avoided. Did you smile and keep eye contact? Most likely not. So, put on your happy face and strike up a conversation.

Make eye contact, smile, and look like there’s no where else you would rather be. The other person will appreciate it and you will notice how much easier the conversation flows. Finding others who are great at face to face communication and watching them in action is an excellent training aid.

3. Learn to be Comfortable in Social Situations

Your brain becomes all flustered whenever you are tense, which makes it hard to be your usual charming and witty self. Plus, people have the capacity to sense tension and anxiety at a subconscious level and will react accordingly. So developing the ability to put yourself at ease in social situations is crucial to enhancing your social skills.

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4. Knowing when to Share and When to Ask Questions

We’ve all had to endure those types who just need to share everything – even when it’s not appropriate. These same people also have a habit of asking questions that are way too personal – especially when you have just been introduced.

First contact with someone new should only involve questions of a more general nature. Don’t get too personal. There’s a time and a place for those, and it’s usually quite a few conversations down the road once you have got to know each other a little more.

5. Develop a Rapport

You know you have developed a rapport when you can move beyond the small talk of weather and sports. It’s largely an unconscious thing but there are a few behavioral traits which can clue you in:

  • You start to mirror the mannerisms and posture of the other person
  • You both start to use a similar tone, volume, pace of speech, and vocabulary
  • Both parties display confidence and comfort
  • There is great eye contact

6. Show You are Genuinely Interested

People love it when you show an interest in them, and it helps to put them at ease. You will feel your anxiety float away when you focus all of your attention on someone else. Start by asking them questions about things that are meaningful to them. Your questions should be framed in a manner that shows you care and are genuinely interested. Keep the conversation flowing and full of energy.

Time spent developing your social skills is a wise investment. Regardless of whether you have had poor social skills in the past, it’s relatively painless and easy to start improving them now. The information above covers the fundamental social skills you should master so get out there and start practicing. The world is waiting.

To your success