There is no doubt that in business, or nearly any area(s) of life, those who wield the best interactive social skills have a huge advantage over those less adept at social interaction.
Some people are born with it; others make the effort to develop these social skills to increase their advantage in the world as we know it. It really all comes down to economy of effort, meaning that the most successful people are able to accomplish so much more in much less time.
The best equipment you could have at your disposal would include these top five specialized social skills tucked away in your tool belt:
- Opportunity Assessment
- Brand Integrity
- Be Persuasive
- Blend In
- Emotional Communication
This ability would be considered self-serving by most of the general populace, but being able to quickly identify people to interact with that can best benefit you is a key skill that should be mastered by the successful businessperson or entrepreneur.
Think of it as having two minutes to make the determination whether the individual will be beneficial to you, your professional concerns, or may have skills that will help you to further your purpose.
You must always be polite, never rude, as you quickly express your purpose and try to learn as much as you can about the other person, limiting yourself to your 30 second elevator speech, then ask questions to determine whether there exists a potential opportunity.
Take care when interacting with others in the boardroom, in public, from the stage, during interview and face-to-face to stay congruent to, promote and protect your brand. Be cautious.
For some people, it is the person that is their brand; their name, their appearance, their convictions and public persona. Whenever possible in all the things you say and do, be consistent to the image that you want to be remembered as.
For others their brand may be a product or service. Do not expose behind-the-scenes information or data that might reflect poorly on your brand. This means that some topics may need to be avoided in order to protect your brand.
One of my mentors insisted that, “salesmanship,” and/or persuasion was the single most important skill to possess if you intend to enjoy any level of intentional success.
Obviously, having the ability to promote and sell your perspective, product or service on-demand can have huge impact on your overall success.
If you’re not born with a persuasive personality, this could be (and often is) the most challenging skill to adequately wield, as it can be the double-edged sword that improperly used could actually backfire and cost you a sale, potential client or cause people to question your motivation. This is a delicate balance that takes both balance and practice. You don’t want someone to remember you as the pushy salesperson or jerk.
Nevertheless, you must be able to encourage others to see from your perspective, whether they are friends, potential fans (who will promote you and/or what you do), customers or clients.
This is the ability to relate to anyone on their terms. That means, regardless of whether you are speaking to a group of people or in a one-on-one conversation, you have the ability to see from their perspective, being thoughtful enough to use a similar style of speech (as long as it does not interfere with your brand).
Not just for those with political aspirations, being able to blend in is skill of adapting to any unique social setting and maximizing one’s exposure without standing out too much and being mindful of brand protection.
Interact with people in such a way that demonstrates that you are compassionate and passionate with a full array of emotions, communicating with feeling. When active in communication use voice inflection that enables your audience to perceive that you are enthusiastic, confident and competent.
People love emotions and they listen for your emotion in your vocal interactions with them. Speak from your heart to theirs, making an intimate connection.
If you feel as though you do not possess this skill, you can practice, practice, practice with a simple audio recorder. Practice reading and talking using a variety of vocal styles. If you have young children, reading children’s books and stories and vocally representing the voice of different characters is perfect practice (plus your kids will never forget your story-telling abilities).
How to Build Your Social Skills for Success
The best way to start building these skills is to start hanging out with other folks who already possess the skills you desire. Keenly observe them and model their behavior. Go to seminars, events and watch videos of live presentations. Study how others perform their social magic, take notes and practice doing what they do.
Excerpt from Success Attributes © 2008 David M Masters used by permission.