It’s important to improve social skills at work, as recent research has shown that many employees look for an approachable attitude in prospective employees. Knowing what your dream job is also helps, as it makes you far more likely to be perceived as friendly, outgoing, and the kind of co-worker anyone would want on their team.
Get out and talk to people
Nowadays, many employees make the mistake of simply pegging themselves as introverts. They hide behind the shell of a sort of inborn shyness, in order to justify their lack of socialization. However, the easiest way to start your efforts to improve social skills at work is… well, simply starting to talk to people. If you are constantly hiding behind your PC screen, worried that your colleagues are judging you, talking behind your back, or simply not interested in getting to know the real you, you’re probably fueling a self-fulfilling prophecy. Sure, talking to your co-workers might be strenuous or difficult at first, but it’s a learned skill, which, in time, will noticeably improve.
Widen your range of interests to improve social skills at work
If you’ve tried approaching a co-worker or two with issues that you care deeply about, only to be met with a lack of interest, it might just be the case that you talked to the wrong people. However, it is equally possible that your range of interests is simply too obscure for people to actually relate to you. Don’t get us wrong: we are by no means encouraging you to get involved in issues you don’t care about, but widening your interests is generally a good strategy for coming out of your shell, as well as a useful tool to improve social skills at work.
Learn to trust your co-workers
We all know that office back-stabbers and plotters are real. They exist and should be avoided – yet starting off from the assumption that everybody is out to get you is verging on paranoia. Instead of constantly worrying that your co-workers have it in for you, learn to minimize your anxiety and improve social skills at work through the sheer force of trust. Trust will yield a trusting response; so don’t go out and share your most personal secrets just yet, but do open up to a few people around the office. Sharing mundane details about your life outside the office, within the bounds of discretion, will definitely have you pegged as more approachable by those around you.
Find things about your job you like
No one really wants to socialize with that one person at the office who is constantly displeased with what they do. That’s because, in actuality, few people are completely satisfied with their jobs. Most of them, though, don’t complain all the time and don’t enjoy being around others who do it, simply because it’s boring and tiring. We’re not suggesting you turn into a suspiciously happy camper overnight. However, identifying one or two aspects about your job that you do enjoy is a sure-fire way to stop driving people away from you.
Know how to explain what you do
At social functions in a professional environment, the one question people most often choose to start with is “so, what do you do?” If you shrug, keep quiet, or start off in a never-ending, muddled explanation, chances are you need to improve social skills at work. Come up with a single-sentence answer and make sure to follow up with a similar question. It’s going to come in handy.
Figure out what you want
Easier said than done, right? After all, by this age, you should already know what it is you want out of life, huh? Indeed, in an ideal world, everyone would have no problem in figuring out what their one true calling is. However, in the real world, it doesn’t really work like that. Different backgrounds and our own upbringing, as well as the tangible factors in our lives sometimes prevent us from dedicating enough time to understanding what it is we want out of life. When it comes to professional goals, however, there’s some good news. It’s never too late to question your current line of work, in order to try and find out what it is you really want. Knowing what you want will make you more determined, enthusiastic, approachable – and, ultimately, happier with who you are.