Say you want to order a java chip at Starbucks, but the server is unable to understand your request. Why? It could be because your speech is unclear or your body language suggests that you’re still making a decision about what you want to order. How you interact with people in every area of life reflects your social skills.

In the above scenario—one that we often deal with—articulation and focus are key elements that’ll help you get your point across. The ability to communicate with improved verbal and nonverbal cues defines your social skills. These skills help you become more approachable and friendly in all aspects of your life. They also help you overcome challenges at work and help you manage your tasks effectively.

Effective communication is important for career progression and with the right tools, you can become an impactful speaker. Delivering presentations to clients, communicating with managers and teammates, and building lasting relationships with people contribute to professional growth. Harappa Education’s Speaking Effectively course helps you become an effective speaker with useful tools such as Aristotle’s Appeals—the three appeals, logic or reasoning, credibility, and emotion will help you build a strong case for yourself and engage your audience.

Let’s look at the importance of social skills and how developing an interaction skill can help you become a reliable team player at work.

What Are Social Skills?

To understand the meaning of social skills, you have to identify the importance of communication in your everyday life. As human beings, we have to maintain relationships with people on a daily basis—whether it’s at work or outside of work. Our interpersonal skills help us connect with other people and understand them as we expect them to understand us. Even if you’re an introvert and prefer to limit your interactions, you still need a close-knit group of 2-3 people with whom you can share your thoughts and feelings.

There are many reasons why we need effective social skills. In a professional setting, they can help us win an argument, woo a client, and earn the respect of colleagues. It’s not easy to stand out among a crowd of people—even at work—but with the right skills, you can pave your path to success. With proper communication tools, you can engage your audience, do well in a job interview, and ace public speaking.

At the same time, it’s important to note that communication is a two-way street and what you give is what you receive. If you have a meeting with a client, then the way you present yourself will affect the outcome. Your behavior and your hand gestures convey more than you imagine. This is where your interaction skill comes in. The nonverbal cues that you express with your facial expressions and body language will give away what you’re thinking. For well-rounded and well-developed social skills, you need to effectively navigate both verbal and nonverbal communication. Here are some types of social skills that’ll help you achieve career success.

Six Social Skills For Career Success

The importance of social skills is best understood in a professional scenario where you’re trying to adapt to cross-sectional communication, navigate conflict, and reconcile your personal goals with larger organizational goals. Whether you’re communicating with the HR department for a leave request or approaching your manager for an appraisal, you’re always engaged in an interaction that may or may not lead to a favorable outcome. But there are essential social skills that help you get your point across in an impactful way to achieve your goals:

  1. Problem-solving

Effective social skills will help you become a proactive problem-solver. If you hit a snag on an urgent deliverable because of a technical error, you should be able to communicate the problem efficiently to the concerned team without wasting time. This can also help if you’re facing a disagreement with a coworker. Providing solutions is an important skill that will help you in many situations. Not only are you able to give constructive feedback but also improve the quality of your work.

  1. Listening

One of the key aspects of powerful communication is active listening. When you’re engaged in dialogue with a coworker or a manager, it’s important that you allow the other person to complete their point before you jump in. If you’re too hasty with your response, you might miss out on relevant information or come across as someone who’s dismissive and unsociable.

  1. Taking Initiative

Social skills are especially handy when it comes to taking initiative. Imagine that you work at an event management organization. You’re a part of a team that’s responsible for generating new ideas and strategies for organizing a virtual event because of the lockdown. You can become a strong team player by coming up with creative solutions and taking measures to implement them. Your communication skills will help you interact with key stakeholders and make important decisions.

  1. Empathetic Behavior

Empathy is built on trust and openness. Although it’s an innate ability or trait, it can be nurtured over time. Your social skills signify the way you interact with people around you. If you’re good at listening and providing solutions, then you’re empathetic. For instance, if a colleague is under pressure from the amount of work, you can help them ease their burden by collaboration. Talking to them and trying to understand the problem will help you reach a favorable outcome for both parties.

  1. Building Relationships

Building strong relationships with peers or mentors is the essence of communication. You connect with people around you with your words and your interaction skill. If you’re open and friendly, your audience will respond similarly. But if you’re hostile and detached, you won’t be able to cultivate meaningful bonds with your teammates. To achieve career success, it’s necessary to develop skills that make you appear kind and agreeable.

  1. Feedback

Learn to receive and give feedback. To improve your performance at work, it’s important to implement the feedback you receive from your manager. Alternatively, you should be able to provide feedback to your teammates without sounding arrogant or patronizing. Feedback can help you as a team to improve the quality of your work and meet challenges in a productive way.

What Is The Importance Of Social Skills?

Social skills are important for our overall development as a professional. The ability to develop meaningful relationships with your colleagues and clients will help you become more intuitive. Here’s a list of attributes that highlight the importance of social skills:

  • Building a working relationship with your teammates to realize organizational goals
  • Collating information and data that supports your ideas and gives you more credibility
  • Appealing to the sensibilities of your audience to gain their attention
  • Acing a job interview by appearing confident and goal-oriented
  • Understanding different perspectives and zeroing in on the ones that are relevant to the task at hand
  • Achieving greater job satisfaction by sharing your accomplishments and addressing concerns

Nonverbal Social Skills Or Interaction Skills

Communication comprises both verbal and nonverbal cues that dictate how your audience will perceive you. Nonverbal cues are important parameters that determine whether your message is positive, neutral, or negative. For instance, if you have to deliver a presentation and you’re not prepared. Your body language can give away your nervousness if you’re not careful. Nonverbal cues such as darting eyes, pursed lips, and shaky hands reflect your anxiety.

Interaction skill is a behavioral skill focusing on your facial expressions, body language, eye contact, and hand gestures. These four attributes add to your social skills and play an important role in getting your point across. To persuade your audience and make an impact, you have to match your words with your actions.

Nonverbal cues to appear powerful and confident:

  • Standing tall with your shoulders pulled back
  • Sitting up straight in an interview
  • Moving your hands with purpose
  • Making eye contact
  • Smiling to showcase cheerful and friendly behavior

Nonverbal cues to avoid:

  • Touching your nose or any part of your face
  • Slouching as you’re sitting or standing
  • Looking around the room instead of directly at the audience
  • Crossing your arms
  • Bouncing your leg

Now that we know the meaning of social skills and the importance of social skills, it’s easy to understand how they can help you make progress in your career. There are many ways to improve your skills and develop self-awareness so you can build memorable relationships.

Many of the concepts we’ve discussed are part of Harappa Education’s Speaking Effectively course. It introduces important frameworks such as the PAM (Purpose-Audience-Message) Framework and the Idea Funnel to improve your communication skills. Each of these core concepts teaches you about the importance of speaking succinctly to convey your message.

Once you’ve identified your audience and are clear on what you have to say, you can work on refining your nonverbal or interaction skill. Learn to keep your expressions in check and align your body language with your words with effective tools.

Explore our Harappa Diaries section to know more about topics & skills related to the Communicate habit such as Interpersonal Skills, Self Introduction, Process of Communication, What is Report Writing, Writing Skills and Professional Ethics.