How to Improve Social Skills: 11 Useful and Practical Tips
How to react to criticism? Do you have a wide array of communication skills? Do you know that you can improve your social skills? Our social skills are learned behaviors. Improving our social skills is as necessary a task as learning to walk, read, or write.
We have seen before that social skills are all those necessary behaviors that allow us to interact and relate with others in an effective and satisfying way. Below, we will show you some communication techniques that will allow you to improve your social skills to have better relationships with those around you and learn to solve personal conflicts.
11 useful and practical tips to improve your social skills
1. The broken record technique
This consists in repeating the main idea of what we want to express or the things we want to ask for consistently. In other words, repeating the same phrase over and over again, independently of what the other person says.
“We are offering a new promotion for… “ -“I understand, but I am not interested, thank you.” – “What do you think about…? -“I understand, but I am not going to buy it, thank you.” -“We could give you a special price…” –“No thank you, I am not interested.”
2. Negative assertion
This is a way to react towards a justified criticism without giving too much justification. –“You did the exercise too slowly.” –“I really could have done it faster, it is true. I’m sorry.”
3. Negative interrogation
This is useful to find out what others are thinking, making communication easier when they criticize us. It helps bring out sincere criticism on the part of others. “What bothers you about the way I talk?” “What is wrong with having gone to the theater?” “What is wrong with how I dress?”
4. Asking questions
Questions serve to help the other person notice an impulsive reaction. “Are you upset about something?”
5. Disarming anger
Ignoring the content of the message conveyed (insults, criticism…) and focusing your attention on the fact that the other person is angry. For example, we can change the focus of the conversation from the content to some process observed in the other person, like an emotion or behavior that they are showing.
6. The sandwich technique
One of the most effective techniques for improving your social skills consists in starting with a positive aspect, followed by an aspect that could be improved, and finally ending with motivating words of confidence. I know that you are making an effort to change your attitude towards. And this is noticeable, you have improved.
I think you could improve if (aspect to be improved). Surely you will get it soon.
7. Repeating what the other person feel
Repeating what the other person says to send them the message that we have understand it, but without showing any kind of agreement with what was said. “I know that it is very important for you that I lend you my car, but…”
8. Showing affection
Showing affection is something fundamental for maintaining a healthy relationship. Sometimes we have to do something more than just express it with words, such as a hug, a kiss, a hand on the shoulder, or even a smile. Feelings can also improve social skills.
9. Offering compliments
Just like we like it when we are given compliments, we also have to know how to give them.
10. “I” messages
“I” messages are used to give our opinion or express our beliefs to the other person instead of using generalizations, because what is one way for me is not necessarily the same for the other person. “I think that…” “I believe that…” “In my opinion…”
11. Maintaining conversations
This is maintaining the balance between listening and speaking, making our participation pleasant. Some useful behaviors are looking at the other person, respecting whose turn it is to speak, giving signs that you are listening to the other person (nodding your head, for example), talking about something related to what the other person says, or making it clear that we have changed topics, etc.
In general, we can always improve our social skills and the way that we relate to others. Above all else, we have to be willing to and put it into practice.