Social Skills Boot Camp

Social Skills Boot CampI like confident people.

Especially when the source of their confidence is good social skills (rather than good looks, wealth, or accomplishments). Because, here’s the thing about a person who is socially adept…

They can:

  • make you feel good about yourself,
  • help you relax into comfortable conversation with them,
  • and make it all feel effortless.

Do you want to feel more confident? Then let’s boost your social skills!

Few things can boost your social confidence more than taking action to deliberately build your social skills. And if you’re like most people, you’ve never done ANYTHING to purposefully develop your social confidence.

Of all the things you had to study in school, charisma was not one of them. If only we had spent as much time with a charisma instructor as we did with our P.E. instructors.

In lieu of that educational deficit, I’d like to provide you my top 10 list of specific actions you can take if you choose to purposely build up your social skills.

This list is by no means exhaustive. And not all of my methods will work for you. But I’d encourage you to peruse this list in search of just two methods you could use to invest in your confidence this week.

Ready? Okay, here we go.

The James Bauer Top 10 List of Ways to take action for Enhanced Social Confidence.

  1. Ask your friends those etiquette questions that have bugged you for years.
    Being uncertain about social expectations makes us feel insecure. Whether it’s business etiquette, dating etiquette, email etiquette, dining etiquette, or anything else, don’t live with that uncertainty! It’s simply unnecessary. Follow these steps:

    • Make a list of three things you always wondered about were never felt 100% certain about when it comes to the proper way to act in a given social context.
    • Ask three of your closest friends for their opinion on the matter. Ask them separately so they don’t fall prey to “groupthink” where everyone sensors their true thoughts to fit with the person that speaks at first.

  2. Read How To Be More Interesting, by Jessica Hagy.
    This is one of those books that is not only helpful, but also fun to read. It’s almost more of a picture book than a real self-help book. Yet the golden nuggets it contains are worth your attention.

  3. Make lists of things you like about people.
    Here’s why you should do this. Writing slows down our thoughts, allowing new insights to emerge and solidifying concepts in our memory. As a result of making this list, you will naturally find those things you like about people emerging in your conversations with them. And there are few things that make people like us more than knowing we like them.

  4. Get confident about the way you look.
    Maxwell Maltz published a book in 1960 called Psycho-Cybernetics. He was a plastic surgeon who became fascinated by the way people’s self-confidence often improved in dramatic ways after rather insignificant plastic surgery operations.

    His book is now famous as a self-help classic. And that’s because it showed how much our self-perception affects our confidence.

    The truth is, physical attractiveness can make you more confident, but only because of how it changes your thoughts about yourself.

    Sometimes, people lose self-confidence because of gaining weight. Other people might still think you look fine. But all you see in the mirror is a body that doesn’t reflect the way you want to look. If that’s true for you, don’t use random experimentation in your efforts to lose weight. Follow these steps:

    • Give yourself permission to go after the body you want, without any guilt. If it matters to your happiness, then it’s a good investment of your time and attention.
    • Learn the one underlying key to all weight loss methods by following The Metabolic Factor step-by-step plan for a thinner, sexier version of you.
    • Download (and actually use) the training modules in The Metabolic Factor until people start asking you how you lost all that weight!Now, to be clear, you don’t need any new information to start investing in the kind of action that leads to weight loss. But if you’re looking for a more systematic way to ramp up and gain traction at a faster pace, this is the system we’ve seen work.If you’re not sure if this is for you they have a short quiz you can take HERE.

  5. Tell stories about your flops, failures, and unmet goals.
    Most of us spend far too much time trying to impress others. The truth is, we are most drawn to those who seem real. And people seem most real when they admit their flaws, openly discuss their struggles in life, and invite us to do the same. Follow these steps:

    • Make a list of three things you want, even if it’s the kind of desire that is not very flattering to admit. Choose just one of those desires and resolve to talk openly about it with at least two people within the next 24 hours.
    • Think of one person you’d really like to impress. Decide on one “failure story” to share with them the next time the opportunity arises. You’ll be surprised how often they either reciprocate with the story of their own or start rooting for you to succeed in the future.

  6. Practice reading between the lines.
    Try to guess what people are thinking or feeling. When you have a private moment with them, verbally reflect on what you have noticed. Reflect on it in the form of a question, “Are you feeling tired today?”

    Here’s why. You’ll either be right or wrong. In most cases, they will give you corrective feedback. This accomplishes two things at once. First, you enhance your ability to read the thoughts and feelings of others. Second, you display interest and empathy, encouraging people to open up about their inner world. And of course, that tends to enhance relationships.

    We all have innate talents. But most people underestimate the power of feedback. Use feedback to gradually improve your ability to read the thoughts and feelings of others.

  7. Assume others feel more insecure than you do.
    Do you try to project an air of confidence even when you feel a bit insecure? So does everybody else. And that’s why you should operate on the assumption that even people who look cool, calm, and collected may be feeling insecure on the inside.

    Just realizing this can help you take the focus off yourself, which has a way of calming nerves and making you feel more confident. Focus on making other people feel accepted, interesting, and funny. Follow these steps:

    • Think of two people who seem to have it all together.
    • Consider the possibility that they may not feel as secure on the inside as they appear on the outside.
    • In your mind’s eye, rehearse the kinds of things you could say or do the next time you see one of these people to make them feel safe and appreciated.

  8. Start 15 conversations per day.
    Treat it like a game. Reach for conversation starters that seem to energize conversations almost instantly. This is a skill you can only get better at with practice. Follow these steps:

    • For the first three days, use any silent moment with others to think of a good conversation starter. You don’t have to say it out loud. Just critique the initial ideas that come to your mind, trying to think of an even better conversation starter than the first one that pops into your mind.
    • For the next week, keep a log. Try to start five small conversations each day. It could be a complete stranger, a coworker, or someone you know well. Everything counts.
    • Try to beat your last number until you eventually hit 15 new conversations for three days in a row.
    • Over time, the sheer volume of practice will improve your ability to pick conversation topics that instantly trigger engagement and interest from others.

  9. Learn how to use mnemonics to remember people’s names.
    When I was 19, as a sophomore in college, a psychology professor told me about mnemonics. I was immediately intrigued with the idea of studying less and remembering more. So I bought a book about mnemonics.

    That book had several useful techniques. But to this day, the skill I use the most is for remembering people’s names the first time I meet them, and rarely (if ever) for getting them.

    Now, I loaned that book to a friend 20 years ago, and (ironically) I don’t remember the name of the book. But this one is written better and explains the same concepts.

  10. At social gatherings, break past small talk.
    Many people feel nervous about social gatherings. We don’t want to look dumb, standing there with no one to talk to and nothing to say. Even if you have no interest in being “the life of the party,” you still want to look like you belong.

    Here’s the thing. Everyone else wants the same thing. But we often get stuck in endless cycles of small talk no one enjoys. To break past small talk, follow these steps:

    • Ask “tell me how,” questions.
    • For example, “tell me how you ended up in sales. “Tell me how” questions invite a story instead of a flat, one-word answer. They also provide plenty of opportunities for you to ask follow-up questions that lead to even more interesting spinoff discussions.
    • Practice asking “tell me how,” questions to get used to the flow of it before you find yourself at the next awkward social gathering.

And finally, don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Try to enjoy the warmth of friendship rather than impressing people all the time. You’ll enjoy life more and end up making a better impression.

Till next time,

James


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