Continuing on the same track as the last few weeks, I’d like to show a bit further what I’m trying to do to grow in my strengths. I’ve been looking at some talks and articles on leadership and communication, both at TED and 7u. I’ve also found a site called dropmark that I’m experimenting with in order to collect ideas, which was one of the suggestions from strengthsfinder.

The other thing I’ve been doing is looking at a guide to improving social skills, because I know that this is something that can be a strength for me but I’ve often felt awkward or not sure what to talk to people about. This has been really helpful and practical, and for the rest of this I’d like to insert some of my notes from the guide.

A lot of what I’m doing at the moment is learning how to work better, and allowing myself time to reflect and improve my skills.

The Importance of Social Skills

1. Poor skills have hidden costs

May miss out on a conversation or give a bad first impression.

2. Even the “naturals” work hard to be liked

People take time to learn to tell stories and to develop their social skills.

3. Nobody will tell you if you’re lacking social skills

How to properly ask for and receive feedback:

Social interactions bring out our insecurities. We think that people aren’t interested in talking to us at a subconscious level. All about receiving feedback, not about positive self talk.

Ask people you trust for hard hitting and honest feedback, that way you won’t get it as much from others. Got to be clear that you’re asking for candid feedback, not simply someone to say ‘yeah I think that’s great.’ Ask for their hardest shot.

Small Talk

1. How to Small Talk

Taking an active role; moving the conversation on. Example given is being asked how long a guy has worked somewhere, response is to answer then to task about something else. Simply giving the answer can lead to an awkward silence and giving loads of information might not be interesting. All about making it more personal.

2. Helping conversations to go more smoothly

Not asking too many questions, but reflecting back what they’ve said. ‘That’s interesting, I never would have thought that…’. Also making sure not to ask too few questions – men tend to talk about themselves too much on dates for example.

3. Exiting a conversation

Two things that make you want to leave: natural end and awkward person. First response – ‘well, it was nice to meet you..’ indicating with language and body language that it’s time for the conversation to end. Taking an active role. Second response – someone won’t let you get a word in. More direct ‘Nice to talk to you, but I’ve got to go now [I’m here with friends, there’s someone else I need to see etc.] and talk to someone else.

Increasing Confidence

1. Invisibility Cloak – we would act differently if no-one could see us or knew who we were. So we should make ourselves come across as more confident; it’s not false but we’re choosing how we act and our attitude will often follow the behaviour.

2. Make it a game – 60 second game: when walking in to a new environment, meeting, event etc you need to introduce yourself to someone within a minute. Compliment game – make a habit of giving compliments. It helps you to feel better about talking to people, and encourages others too.

3. Overcoming shyness – article: “Caring for your introvert.” Change the way you think about shyness – all conversation can be building relationships, not just what we expect of the conversation. Slow yourself down and study how others respond.


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