I like the saying, “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.”
Not only is it catchy, but it relates to areas of life...ESPECIALLY to building social skills. (As a social skills coach, this is what I do all day every day!)
Right now starting conversations with others at a meetup or dinner party might make you want to run and hide in a corner and “check your email”.
For many of my social skills coaching clients, this is a common feeling.
And it boils down to a lack of social competence that leads to a lack of social confidence.
But the good news is that social skills can be learned!
And a social skills coach can help you get the results you want faster than trying to learn it on your own.
Oprah Winfrey, one of the most famous people in the world, has been very vocal about her early struggles with social interaction.
When asked about the steps she took to build her social skills (and ultimately her empire) she replied with, “Once you start to make changes, no matter how small, suddenly everything seems possible.”
This article will cover 7 ways that a social skills coach can help build that confidence and be prepared for a more successful social life.
Do you have a friend or coworker who just seems to know how to build rapport with pretty much anyone in any social situation?
It may seem like magic..they walk over, start talking, and it looks like they’ve known each other for years--even though they just met!
That’s the power learning how to build rapport.
And the great thing is...building rapport is a learnable skill... and that’s what we’re talking about today.
In this article you’ll learn…
There is nothing wrong with being nice.
Doing things for people who need help, being considerate, being generous--these are all traits to be admired.
However, there is a very fine line between being “nice” and being a people pleaser.
So how can you tell the difference?
For starters, being a do-gooder comes with feelings of joy and satisfaction--like when you volunteer at a soup kitchen or help an elderly woman carry her groceries to the car.
Chronic people pleasing can look similar on the outside (helping a coworker catch up on a project for instance) but comes with feelings of resentment and overwhelm--usually followed by guilt for feeling that way.
These negative feelings are caused by burnout. People pleasers tend to overcommit to others and say yes at their own expense.
For many of us (yes, I’m a recovering people pleaser as well!), this burnout and resentment become a vicious cycle that can harm our relationships and reduce our quality of life.
In this article, we’re going to discuss how to identify people pleasing tendencies and how to stop them.
You can still be a good person, but you won’t get stuck doing stuff you don’t want to do because you’re afraid of what other people will think of you.
Once you stop people pleasing, you’ll be amazed by the sense of relief and clarity. Your relationships will improve, you'll make more genuine friendships and your self-esteem will grow as you learn to stand up for yourself in a way that is confident, tactful, and kind.
When you stop people pleasing, you know that you're doing whatever you want because YOU want to, not so that others will approve of you.
In this article, you’ll learn…
EVERYONE feels socially inept at some point in their lives.
It’s just part of being human.
Maybe you’ve felt socially inept when…
If you’ve ever felt like that...I’m here to tell you that it’s okay. It happens!
And the great thing is that being socially inept is something that can be improved. Working on your communication skills can help you become more socially skilled and that feeling of being socially inept will fade away.
In this article, you’ll learn…
Look, we’ve ALL been there… We meet a new friend, or hit up an old friend, and they lay this on you…
“What should we do?”
“Uhh…I don’t know, I’m good with whatever…”
I think it’s always better to have a plan rather than just doing the same old thing.
If you’re looking for things to do with friends, you are in the right place. I have 225+ things on this list that you can do with friends.
So if you’re…
…I’ve got you covered!
Doing memorable or even challenging things with friends is important because it can lead to peak experiences that you’ll remember for the rest of your life.
Keep this list handy and you’ll never run out of things to do.
If you’re looking for topics to bring up while you’re doing things with friends, be sure to check out my list of 300+ conversation topics and starters.
Ready? Let’s dive in!
“Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price we all have to pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.” – Vince Lombardi
Imagine that you group together the greatest baseball players of all time - Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays, and Mike Trout.
Now imagine that they all speak different languages and have no idea what the others are saying.
As a communication coach my clients ask me to help with situations like this all the time.
You may be the Babe Ruth of software development , but if you can’t connect with the VP of Sales (the Mike Trout of soft skills), you’re not going to climb very far up the corporate ladder.
Communication skills don’t come naturally to many of my clients.
And while the reasons for that may vary, they all figured out the hard way that to advance, they’d have to study up and invest in their ability to communicate effectively with their bosses, their coworkers, and their clients.
The good news is you don’t have to do it alone.
Using the guidance of a communication coach can help you achieve the success you want to see in your career more quickly and effectively than trying to level up on your own.
Learning how to make friends as an adult is HARD!
I feel like they should have warned us.
But when you think about it, it makes sense...
In school, you have classes, labs, study groups, organized functions, clubs...all sorts of ways to meet new people and connect.
But once you’re working 8-5 (or 7-6 if you’re like most of us), it becomes a lot more difficult to find the time and energy to invest in other people.
Not to mention finding people your age and with similar interests in the first place!
And once you DO find those people, how do you turn them into friends?
We’ll cover all these questions and more!
In this article, you’ll learn:
Have you ever watched someone give a presentation or run a tough meeting at work and thought…
“How can I be the one doing that?!”
Time for some real talk...
As much as corporate culture claims to reward loyalty and hard work, more often than not, it’s the people who have excellent communication skills who get hired and promoted.
It’s not a conspiracy, it’s just human nature.
Learning how to improve communication skills will pay off for the rest of your career.
People who are able to communicate with confidence and finesse have an easier time building a rapport with others.
When you’re more likeable, people’s cognitive biases tend to assign you other positive qualities as well--whether or not you fully deserve them.
If you feel like you’re struggling to communicate at work, or that you’ve been passed over one too many times for that project or promotion, consider working on improving your communication skills!
At a certain point in your career, you look around and realize EVERYONE is technically proficient. Developing better communication skills is what will help you stand out from the crowd.
In this article, you’ll learn…
Let’s dig in!
We all know and love (and want to be) those people…
The funny ones.
The ones who seem to crack up co-workers and friends with a word or a well-timed gesture.
People gravitate towards them--even you. Funny people make you laugh and smile and feel good, who wouldn’t want to be around them?
Even though it can feel like some people are born to be funny and others are born to laugh, you can actually learn how to be funny.
Learning how to be funny in conversation is a crucial people skill. It will help you:
Just like any skill, learning how to be funny takes practice! If being funny doesn’t come naturally to you, just remember:
There’s no such thing as a funny baby.
No one is actually born funny.
It’s a skill that these people have been working on and building for a long time - probably since childhood.
The class clowns, the crack-ups we remember those kids. Now that they’re all grown up, they’ve used that experience to their advantage.
They’ve had a lot more time to learn from trial and error what’s funny and what’s not (and that’s an equally important skill--learning what types of humor to avoid).
So let’s get to it...
In this article, you'll learn…
Look, we’ve all been there...
You see someone...and you wonder how to start a conversation with them.
Then you feel it…
Your mind starts to race - maybe so fast that it starts to go blank.
“What should I say?” “No, that’s stupid, no one says that!“
And by the time you psyche yourself up to start the conversation, the other person has ordered their tall Americano and sailed out the door.
Ah, such is life, you tell yourself. But it doesn’t have to be this way!
With the right gameplan, you could be chatting up tall Americano right now and making a new friend.
I know...easier said than done.
Learning how to start a conversation and developing a gameplan to help you practice and grow your newfound skills takes effort, know-how, and guidance.
Luckily, you’re in the right place.
Simple Beats Complex!
When my clients ask me how to start a conversation, my first response is this:
While what you say first IS important, it’s not as important as what you say second.
In fact, for most of my clients, the best conversation starter is: “Hi, I’m [Your Name].”
I know, I know...
It feels almost too simple. But it’s often how we follow up that first statement that makes or breaks the interaction.
In this article, you’ll learn:
Look, sometimes we just need a little extra push to come up with something to say...some extra conversation starters to help that awkward silence melt away.
I got you.
Here are 300+ conversation starters and topics for you use in several different social settings. Use them with friends, coworkers, on dates, or out at happy hour!
(Also: If you need help with how to start conversations, check out this article.)
Pro tip #1:
Find 5 of your favorites and write them down on the notes app on your phone. Use them in your conversations this week.
Pro tip #2:
Be sure to balance asking questions with telling stories, and making statements. (No one wants to feel interrogated!)
Let's swan dive in... (For fun, I've answered a few of these in bold parentheses)
Look, we’ve ALL been there…
You’re at a dinner party or on a Zoom call with a friend and your mind just goes...blank.
Maybe the vibe is just off, or the conversation seems to have run its course, running out of things to talk about on Facetime, Zoom, or IRL, can make you feel awkward, boring, and lame.
If you’ve ever felt the growing horror of dead air between you and your conversation partner, don’t worry - you’re in the right place.
We’re going to help you build up an arsenal of topics and questions that will help you defeat the conversation killing silence!
We can call them conversation starters, but you’ll notice that almost all of them are questions.
That’s because to keep a conversation going, you have to get people talking! And the fastest way to do that is to invite them to talk about themselves.
If you’ve read any of my other articles, you’ve likely heard me say this before:
People love to talk about themselves.
So let them!
It may feel like you’re putting the work on them, but I promise they are just as eager to avoid the awkward silences as you are.
Learning and using the “things to talk about” below will help you keep the conversation flowing and put your conversation partners at ease.
Let’s dive in!
If you're reading this article, it's a pretty easy guess that at some point or another you've felt...well, boring.
Don't worry! It happens to the best of us!
You want to be more interesting and engaging, but you just don't know how to not be boring on the phone.
Pro Tip: Smile. People can literally hear the smile in your voice even if they can't see you.
You want to enthrall the office with stories about your weekend but you are still Googling "how to not be boring on facetime" instead of doing it.
The good news is, you are in the right place.
We are going to cover how to not be boring from top to bottom. These are not vague tips, but real steps you can take with action steps and homework.
As a social skills coach, I believe in a progressive step-by-step approach to self-improvement.
Start small, build confidence, repeat.
In this article you'll learn...
5 time NCAA champion Mike Krzyzewski - possibly the most famous college basketball coach ever has a quote I love:
“Communication does not always occur naturally, even among a tight-knit group of individuals. Communication must be taught and practiced in order to bring everyone together as one.”
With over 1,000 career wins and over 100 future NBA players coached, Coach K knows his stuff. He’s one of the best examples of what a great coach can help his athletes achieve.
There’s a reason that communication coaches are called “coaches.”
A coach is someone who directs training and habits to help someone become the best they can be. And you just heard it from the best - communication skills can be taught and improved!
So let’s take a look at what makes a good communications coach and how they can help you achieve your communication goals!
Questions are a great way to start a conversation at a barbecue, a Zoom networking event, or a party.
Questions can even help you move past small talk and into deeper topics. (Which studies suggest could make you happier!)
If you’ve ever struggled with thinking up questions to get to know someone better, this post is for you!
Pro-tip: Don’t ONLY ask questions. If you do, you’ll fall into the interrogation trap!
After your conversational partner responds, keep the conversation going by making an observation about what they said.
Look through the list below and copy/paste 5 of your favorite questions into the notes app on your phone.
Then, you’ll be all set to break the ice at your next social event!
Bonus Pro-tip: Check out this massive list of 300+ conversation starters and topics if you need help starting conversations!
I'll help you supercharge your people skills so that you can have a more fulfilling career,
business & social life.
Over the last 15 years, I’ve learned... (Read More)
• 5 Ways a Communication Coach Can Help You Become a Better Communicator
• The Ultimate Guide To Joining & Enjoying Group Conversations
• How to Never Run Out of Things to Say