Definition and examples of social skills
Social skills are the habilities that allow us to interact and communicate with other people, whether through verbal, non-verbal, written and/or visual means. These skills are acquired at an early age, either spontaneously or with the help of others. In other words, they are not innate, and therefore they can be improved and enhanced just like any other skill.
There are different types of social skills. The most common classification includes the following:
- Basic social skills: these are essential for maintaining effective communication. Active listening, knowing how to start a conversation, introducing yourself and giving thanks are some examples of basic social skills.
- Advanced social skills: these are related to a person’s ability to give and follow instructions, to apologize or help, and to offer suggestions, among others.
- Affective social skills: these skills have to do with the ability to identify one’s own feelings and those of others. In the workplace, this category is closely connected to emotional intelligence and empathy.
- Social negotiation skills: are those that allow one to avoid conflicts and solve problems.
- Social skills for dealing with stress: tolerance to high-pressure situations, knowing how to cope with difficulties and the ability to manage a complicated conversation are some examples of social skills for stress.
- Social planning skills: this category concerns the ability to define objectives, make decisions and create future strategies. Without a doubt, it is one of the most important social skills at a professional level.
Importance of social skills in the professional and social world
According to Daniel Goleman -psychologist, journalist and author of the book Emotional Intelligence- “what really matters for success, character, happiness and life achievements is a defined set of social skills, not just cognitive skills.”
Throughout life, social skills allow us to build both personal and professional relationships. In the workplace, social skills are also known as interpersonal skills, and they are key to meeting the professional objectives of a person, as well as those of a whole company. After all, meeting new people or being a good member of a team is easier when you know how to interact with others.
Furthermore, possessing social skills offers the following benefits:
Benefits of social skills in the social world
- They allow you to build more and longer-lasting social relationships
- They help you express feelings, emotions and opinions
- They strengthen your bonds with other people
- They facilitate the fulfillment of personal objectives
Benefits of social skills in the professional world
- They foster the creation of healthy work environments and improve the working atmosphere
- They facilitate problem solving and therefore boost productivity
- They promote teamwork and collaboration
- They are quite simply a necessity in negotiation processes
- They help expand contact networks (through networking)
How to improve and strengthen your social skills for effective communication
We have seen that strengthening our own social skills, as well as those of our co-workers, is essential to achieving effective communication. But how to enhance these skills? Here are some key steps to take:
- Manage relationships correctly, without forcing ties
- Understand the feelings of others and be empathetic
- Cooperate with others
- Show a positive attitude
- Respect other opinions
- Practice active listening
Finally, to take your social skills and those of your team to the next level, we recommend isEazy Skills. Our catalog of soft skills courses, which includes the key Communication and Interpersonal Relations category, is designed with the latest digital learning techniques and dynamic e-learning content to provide a unique and effective learning experience.