Here is what I learned from the last book I read: Superhuman Social Skills: A Guide to Being Likeable, Winning Friends, and Building Your Social Circle, by Tynan. As stated in the title, this book is about improving your social skills to make sure others enjoy being around you, thus(hopefully) bringing you more interesting social interactions.
Social skills are effectively skills! Like any other skill, it can be learned, practiced and at some point mastered. You must try to use every social encounter to practice those skills. But what are those skills? I see social skills as everything you do that allows you to communicate with others and make it enjoyable for everybody involved. I think it’s really important to make sure you bring value when you participate in a social interaction. Bringing value to the people around you is enjoyable both for you and the others. You are also much more likely to get introduce to more people if you are considered as somebody who brings value when he is around.
But bringing value does not mean you must always be the one talking! As human beings we love being listened to. So, the value you bring might be simply to listen to others and comment wisely on their thoughts. This also means that it might be part of your responsibility in a conversation to drop conversational hooks. These hooks are opportunity you create for other to get involved in the conversation. One way to do that is to tell stories. Be careful, the stories you tell must be relatable by the people you are talking to. Imagine a wealthy doctor talking about his last expensive fishing trip in the Caribbean at a family event to its brother-in-law which has a more modest salary. The brother-in-law can probably not relate to the trip because it’s no within its financial reach. He might not be able to participate actively in the conversation. When you tell a story that you audience can relate to, allow yourself to be distracted by the interventions of your audience. If you involve your audience in the story, they will keep a better memory of the time spent with you.
Finally, some things I will try to apply and keep in mind :
- Stay positive
- Always bring value
- Remember names of people you interact with
- Be respectful with everybody
- Do what you say
- Be aware of your flaw and strive for perfection
An easy way to start practicing is with your family. Even if you make a little mistake during the Thanksgiving party, nobody will remember on Christmas day reunion ;).
PS: The author has also written another book that I look forward to reading: Superhuman by Habit: A Guide to Becoming the Best Possible Version of Yourself, One Tiny Habit at a Time.