This list of 8 essential skills for success may seem like they are common sense, but you would be surprised at the amount of uncommon sense infecting the workplace today. And the nice part about this list is that its reach is far more than in business. Follow these social skills in every aspect of your life and you will discover that success will find you.
1. Maintain eye contact. Head up and out of your phone, tablet, iPod or laptop. Don’t forget, you are dealing with people. Eye contact during conversation is a great social skill to possess.
2. Use proper body language. It’s not what you say, but how you say it. Non-verbal clues can provide plenty of information and make you appear to be not interested in what someone is communicating. Remain focussed and open to communication. Arms folded, legs crossed, body turned away, and so many non-verbal clues are a turn off to others. Watch what you are saying when you are saying nothing at all.
3. Know the difference between being assertive and being aggressive. It’s ok to share your opinion and to be passionate about what you are discussing, but be careful not to step over the line and project your opinion in a way that makes the person you are communicating with feel like they are wrong. If you are bordering on offensive or insulting, you are heading into the aggressive zone.
4. Select effective communication channels. There are a variety of ways in which you can communicate with someone. Make sure you are using the proper channel. Know when face to face is better than a phone call. Even the improper use of a comma can drastically change the meaning of a sentence.
5. Flexibility and cooperation are essential social skills. Get rid of the attitude that your way is the right way and the only way. Although you may feel as though your way is the best way, remaining flexible and open to another solution is always a good guideline to follow. Keep in mind that you will need other people in order to get anywhere in life.
6. Accept criticism without being defensive. When presented with an opposing view or when being critiqued, don’t immediately go on the defensive. Listen to what is being said and absorb the information, especially if being presented by someone more experienced than you. Although you may not have asked for the critique, be open to what is being said. Criticism is not easy to hear, especially if it is not warranted, but “Social Skills 101” says to keep your head in the game and listen up and be accepting.
7. Remain positive at all times. Highly social people tend to be very positive as well, making them much more likely to be successful as well. Who wants to be around a negative attitude? Positive people are attractive and are going places in life. Although positive people have their ups and downs in life as well, positive people don’t wallow in self-pity, doubt and negativity.
8. Show respect for others. No matter your position in business or in life, showing respect is the ultimate sign of regard. Never feel as though you are “better” than anyone else or that your experience or knowledge is above others. Staying humble while being mindful is a great social skill to possess.