The Simple Truth About Social Skills Hacks- And What It Means for Your Business

When I was asked to answer this question on Quora, this was my initial reaction:


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Then I thought about it more.


The internet is filled with “life hacks” for every perceivable skill; from getting the shell off a hardboiled egg to folding t-shirts in two seconds.


Some of these tips are really useful. I mean, have you tried to peel a hardboiled egg (the shell turns into egg dandruff)???


However, there are many skills where shortcuts deliver no lasting value and can even have a net negative consequence on your life.


Would you feel comfortable with a surgeon operating on you if you knew that he used “life hacks” to pass medical school? How about a commercial pilot that got his license by using “life hacks” to get his certifications? Wouldn’t you want both of them to put in the hard work to develop their skills correctly?


Now obviously, you’re not going to hurt anyone with bad social skills. 


Except for yourself.

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How to Make Eye Contact Without Feeling Weird

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Human interaction is very nuanced and this can make it difficult to become adept at (even more so if you consider yourself introverted).


First, you have to say and do the right things the right way at the right time. 


But not only that- you then have to pay attention and react appropriately to whoever you’re conversing with. The problem is compounded with the glut of articles on some “magic pill” to help us better connect or- even worse- the cliche advice to “just do it.”


Trying to process all this information and implement all these tips at once ends up being more of a negative thing than something beneficial (multitasking is ineffective).


What is most beneficial?


There is no “one” key element to improved social encounters- there are many. The best approach is to determine and improve the few elements that have the biggest effect on the interaction (see Pareto’s principle).


The process doesn’t happen overnight. But focusing on one thing at a time will make you feel more accomplished and confident- that progress gives you something to build off.


This article is not a magic pill.


This article is a roadmap to beginning work on one of those key elements.


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Crushing the Ice- A Logical Introduction to First Impressions

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When does conversation begin?


Its introduction?


Several minutes later… you know, while debating something relevant like whether humans really landed on the moon?


Actually, it starts before your mouth even opens.


Some key aspects of meeting people- like small talk- are often downplayed as being superfluous. Even salespeople that depend on social skills for their living are guilty of this.


The thing is: they serve a vital purpose. Through them the groundwork is laid for the entirety of the conversation. You discover a person’s interests, begin to understand their personality and then connect with them. But it goes further.


Consciously or subconsciously, we all make judgement of people’s character within seconds of meeting them.


How healthy do they look?


Do they maintain proper hygiene?


What are they wearing?


The conclusions we reach are called first impressions and it’s important the ones others have of us are positive. Instead of being overwhelmed with all the details, though, let’s focus on the few elements that have the biggest effect.

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