Running a business isn't just about logistics, finances, and marketing. It's also about talking to different kinds of people, endless meetings and socialization, and establishing social connections for business purposes. If you want to be a competitive entrepreneur, you also need to have the people skills to help you get through. In this article, we'll take a look at what social skills you need to have and how you can start developing them.
4 Social Skills You Need to Have
Social skills are a group of skills and abilities that fall under the umbrella of soft skills or social abilities. Here are a few that will prove helpful in your business.
Sympathy and Empathy: You can't connect with people on a deeper level without empathy. It's what allows you to understand another person's feelings. Expressing concern, gratitude, or even sharing their joy are all part of being empathetic. If a coworker mentions they're undergoing treatment for scoliosis, or they're about to get married, it's knowing whether to congratulate them or wish them luck. When you're empathetic, people will feel like they can talk to you as you don't neglect their emotional well-being during your conversations.
Interpersonal Skills or Being Good With People: It goes without saying that your empathetic qualities will go to waste if your interpersonal skills aren't good. You need to have a sense of awareness about how they feel. It essentially means knowing when somebody is feeling bad, making it the wrong time for conversation—unless you know the right thing to say.
Self-awareness and Intrapersonal Abilities: Just as you need interpersonal skills to understand other people, you also need to develop intrapersonal skills to better understand yourself. How does this connect to being better with people, you may ask? Well, everything. Having a high degree of self-awareness means knowing how to best approach situations based on how people perceive you, which can also mean developing techniques and strategies to present your ideas better.
Expression and Communication Skills: Being good with people isn't enough, nor is being aware of your own skills and reputation. Being able to express your ideas, thoughts, and emotions requires a certain degree of skill, especially if you want to be understood easily. When you're making a business presentation or negotiating for a contract, it's your communication skills that will help you get through; that's why it's crucial to hone it.
How You Can Start Improving Your Social Skills
You don't just get good at socializing by deciding to be good at it, just like any other skill. It takes a lot of practice and skill. Here are a few ways that you can start practicing to improve your social abilities.
Ask About Them: Nobody likes hearing someone constantly talk about themselves. That's the fastest way to alienate someone. You can mention essential things about yourself and your business, but make it a point to ask about them too. Allow them to shine, and make it so that you're paying attention. They're going to like the experience and associate you with positive emotions.
Ask for the Number, Email, or Business Card: Don't be afraid to ask for their contact information. They're most likely after your business' contact information too! And the idea behind it isn't so that you will definitely do business together; it's an act of solidarity and an expression of willingness to work together. So for this trip, it's as simple as it gets: ask for their number, email, or even business card.
Use Mutual Friends to Connect: Businesses are built on connections, relationships, and networks. So it's perfectly fine for you to ask business friends to help you connect to other businesses. They'll most likely be happy to do so, too, since it will reflect on them positively that they know other businesses. Introducing yourself and then mentioning who you've worked with (provided there are no non-disclosure agreements) is an excellent way to show that you're a trustworthy person and have had a history with collaborators and partners.
Make Eye Contact: When establishing new connections, it's essential to strike an impression. And a simple way to do that is to make eye contact. It gets their attention, and it shows that you're attentive. Making eye contact when discussing, making deals, and negotiating conveys that you're professional and want to take this seriously.
Regardless of what business culture you're from, one thing remains true: you cannot succeed in business alone. You need the help of others, and to get their help, you need to be good with people. That's why it's best to start practicing as early as now.