Friday, October 10, 2008

10 Tips For Being a Successful Socialite

We’re all different with varied interests, but no matter what our job or our interests, we use social skills every day. I hope some of these tips will help you to enjoy life even more, because nearly everything we do in life has some aspect of social abilities intertwined.
Here’s 10 tips for being a successful socialite.

1. Be a great conversationalist. Don’t just talk about yourself, ask questions about others too. When you’re bursting to share a story or news, remember not to interrupt. Americans interrupt a lot with people we’re comfortable with and generally when we’re excited about our conversation, the volume gets louder and louder. In fact, when I traveled to England for a study abroad, the teachers reminded us not to talk too loud.

2. Be an attentive listener. This means really listening to what the person is saying instead of thinking about what you are going to say next. Remember to be polite and take time to acknowledge and digest what the person has said.

3. Find common ground to discuss. Once in a while, we all have to spend a little time talking with someone who we may think we have nothing in common with or maybe the person always talks about the same thing (which might be something we have absolutely no interest in). We can either begrudge this opportunity or we can find something to discuss. I love to read and what I’ve noticed is that even if someone is not an avid reader, they can still take part in a discussion on a favorite book they have read or how a work of literature has impacted them. Try it sometime, you might be surprised and this technique can also spare you from discussing unpleasant subjects.

4. Enjoy the variety of life. Realize there is so much more to life than what you personally have experienced. Maybe I don’t know anything about golf, but I can still share a conversation with someone who is passionate about it. This is one of the ways we learn, by listening to others.

5. Have an opinion but don’t be opinionated. You’ve met people like this before, right? They might be okay to talk to, but they are so overbearing when it comes to their opinions, you’d rather steer clear of them. It’s okay to have an opinion or different point of view, but it’s not okay to force-feed your views on others.

6. Laugh. Don’t take yourself too seriously, or others for that matter. Most of the nerves that people feel which make them slip up and say silly things are because they are taking the situation too seriously. Lighten up and remember, we’re all human.

7. Let go of negative self-fulfilling prophecies. So your social experiences don’t always go as planned? Don’t talk down to yourself, saying things like: “I’m shy.” “I’m too nervous to talk to her.” “My words always get jumbled up and I sound like an idiot.” Your brain hears these statements and believes them and your sub-conscious works to make sure they’re true.
Instead, give yourself a positive dose of self-talk. “I’m confident and can carry on a conversation with ease.” “I can talk to anyone and feel comfortable.” Really believe that today is the day to change yourself and your expectations for yourself. *This works for any life situation, not just social aspects.

8. Learn more about something that someone else loves. My husband loves football and I really don’t, but I know enough about the game and the players in the NFL that I was able to attend a Green Bay Packers game with him and have an awesome time! It really was a great experience and if I’d had a different attitude or hadn’t made an effort to learn about something he loved, I would’ve missed out. It really doesn’t take that much effort to learn enough about something to carry on a conversation with someone you care about (unless it’s my rocket-scientist brother—that takes a little more studying).

9. Be Positive. What are the attributes of that person that everyone always wants to talk to? Do you want to be around someone who is always negative and constantly complains? Me neither—so make sure you’re not that person. Think of the personality traits you admire in others and develop them in yourself.

10. Smile. Every social interaction can benefit from the light of a smile.

I found a great article on Dale Carnegie’s top 10 tips for improving your social skills. Click here if you’d like to read it.

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