social skills

Top tips to improve your social skills at work

Social skills are a vital part of everyday life. In the workplace, they enable you to create positive relationships with colleagues and clients and fit into the culture of your workplace. Without them, you will struggle to get ahead in your career. But what if social skills don’t come naturally to you?

The good news is that social skills are easy to develop and work on.

According to Seek and Indeed, here are some ways to improve your social skills at work.

How to improve your social skills at work

Remember people’s names

Remembering somebody’s name will demonstrate that you are genuinely interested in them. You can employ various strategies to help you remember people’s names. You can try repeating somebody’s name back to them after you meet them. You could ask them for their email address or a name card if appropriate. It’s also advisable to write their name down as soon as possible.


Get to know your colleagues better

Engage in small talk with those you work with. For example, you could ask somebody how their weekend was. You could  also try to get to know your colleagues in a social setting. For example, you could ask them out to lunch or drinks after work.


Develop emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence is about understanding your emotions and those of others. Show empathy for those who are encountering difficulties.


Practice eye contact

When people are speaking to you, ensure you maintain eye contact with them. This illustrates to others that you are focused on the conversation.


Observe others

Watch how others interact with each other. For example, what body language do they use or how do they start a conversation?


Take an interest in others

Show a genuine interest in those around you. Try asking them about their hobbies or interests.


Get to social gatherings early

There will be fewer people if you arrive at workplace social gatherings early. You might find you are more comfortable interacting one-on-one or in smaller groups.


Understand workplace norms

Getting to know the etiquette of your workplace is one of the best ways to enhance your social skills. Consider what sort of behaviour and norms are expected.


Bring other people into the conversation

Try not to dominate a conversation. Bring others into the discussion by asking others what they think. Try to ask open-ended questions, so they don’t just give one-word answers.


Keep conversation light and avoid controversial topics

Workplace conversation should be light and positive. Don’t vent your frustrations or constantly show negativity. If you are positive in your approach, it is more likely people will want to interact with you.

It’s also best to avoid sensitive topics like politics and religion. Instead, talk about leisure or recreational activities, or topics related to work.


Set goals

You can improve your social skills by setting goals to enhance them. These goals could include avoiding interrupting others or striking up a conversation with a colleague.



Practice your social skills in interactions with others. When at the supermarket, start a conversation with the checkout operator. You can also try lengthening conversations with friends. Ask friends or colleagues for feedback on which social skills you should work on. You could even ask friends and family to role-play social situations. Another strategy is to script responses to questions you are likely to be asked in social settings.


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