Being socially intelligent is an underlying concept not just in your professional success and personal life, but also in the very fabric of your happiness.
There are a lucky few of us with high level of emotional and social intelligence (eIQ) to whom getting along with people comes naturally. But in this online age, more and more people are having problems with poor communication skills.
It’s not that we don’t mean well to others or inherently evil. It’s just that effective communication is hard work and being socially intelligent in this digital age is getting even harder. But that doesn’t mean you should suffer the consequences.
Use these social intelligence hacks to improve your social and communication skills:
1. Be Updated
You’ll never suffer a moment of awkward silence if you’ll keep yourself in the loop of the latest news in science, sports, world affairs, or any other domain you’re genuinely interested in.
Better yet, dwell in some topic you feel curious about and gain as much info on it as possible, like watching documentaries, reading research papers, wikipedia, or youtube videos. Your genuine interest and the depth of knowledge in the topic will make you an interesting companion.
2. Listen 10x times More than Talk
Introverts are actually a better leaders because of their innate quality to listen to what others have to say. This super valuable quality makes them instantly more likable and trustworthy.
Listen to people, their stories, their hopes and fears, their sorrows and failures, their achievements and wins, and you will be rewarded. Don’t interrupt or try to break in with the story of yours, nobody likes that. Being a person anyone will be comfortable to talk to is a rare talent.
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3. Try “You Are Right” Hack To Win an Argument
Especially works with someone who is, let’s be gently, not the brightest bulb in the shed. People like that would fervently defend what they think is the ONLY right point of view on the matter and reject all of your claims. Confronting such people can be challenging.
It’s best to let them know, you’re not attacking their point of view by literally starting every statement with “you are right” of “I agree with you” and then mildly putting facts that support your opinion.
Focus on shifting away from “Mine vs. Yours” battle of opinions, and let it be a row of arguments and counterarguments, not actually attached to you or anyone particularly.
4. Always Reply Proportionately
Reply a text with a text, a call for a call, an email for an email. Never change the initial channel of correspondence. This creates consistency so there’ll be less chances your respondents might mix things up.
Moreover, replying with a text on a missed phone call is considered rude. It’s totally fine if you don’t reply instantly as long as you don’t change the channel and apologize for being too busy to reply the first time.
5. Be Authentic
Yes, being genuinely interested in someone’s opinion is good. That doesn’t mean your authenticity should ever suffer from it.
Don’t be afraid to express yourself or be contradictory because your authenticity is the first thing people will remember and respect you for.
6. Talk to Strangers
Be it on streets, public transport, book shops, local groceries, theaters, sporting events, cafes, try to have a pleasant conversation with strangers. This will help you to be more open and socially intelligent, gain valuable insights and hear truly amazing stories.
If you look closely, there are millions of possibilities for that. Ask simple questions and clearly show that you’re not even slightly judgemental.
7. Hang With Socially Intelligent People
Clearly, the people you surround yourself with influence you the most. The shortest way to acquire social skills is to hang out with someone socially intelligent.
Sooner than you think you’ll pick up some of their traits and moves automatically. Focus on spending quality time with these people somewhere public and notice how they interact with the others.
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8. Treat All People Well
That is, don’t put them up on pedestals or worse yet, reduce to pariahs and outcasts. When you don’t judge or compare people and allow them to simply be the way they are, with all their shortcomings and faults, they’ll trust you implicitly.
If you stop noticing someone’s achievements and start seeing the kind of personality behind them, you’ll have much more valuable insights.
9. Get a Hobby
It seems unrelated to being socially intelligent, but studies show that people who have ardent hobbies are more creative and are better conversationalists.
Besides, having a hobby decreases your chances of running out of topics to discuss.
10. Dress Up
It has nothing to do with vanity or showing off. If anything, it’s a way to show people around you respect them. An important part of being socially intelligent is to know how to dress according to the situation.
You wouldn't want to show up at an important meeting or job interview in rumpled clothes and shoes so dirty it’d take no Sherlock to tell you’re a slob.
11. Read More
Aside from containing millions of advices on social intelligence and how to win over people, books and articles on the subject will also help you to understand where your fundamental problems with socialization derive from.
Knowing the source of the stuff that bars you from being more open will help you identify the first steps to overcome it.
12. Compliment Others More Often
This is the shortest way to make someone like you. If you make someone feel even a bit better about themselves, especially in public, they will love you forever.
To be an expert at compliments pay close attention to what this person already values about herself (like their sense of style or punctuality) and praise this trait publicly.
13. Stick to Your Word
If you promise something to someone, note it down or set a reminder for it. People will always respect you for staying true to your word.
If you promised something, even a small thing, to someone in a friendly banter over a few drinks (and we tend to promise more stuff after having a few), make sure to note it down. Be that superhuman 1% of people who always do what they say (even if it’s not).
14. Recognize What They Value About Themselves
If you want to break the ice or re-energize a conversation that ran flat, ask them something personal. But not creepy personal, just something you feel they really want other to notice about them.
To do that, you should pay the closest attention to what people are actually trying to say behind their words. For example, if someone even slightly implied to move the party in a karaoke bar, most likely would want others to appreciate how he/she sings. Ask them about it, and they’ll tell you:)