There are many reasons why people may find socializing difficult and many reason why they may want to improve their social skills. Some people may have mental or developmental issues that make socializing difficult. Others may simply want better social skills to improve their work opportunities or personal lives. In any case, social skills training can help. So, now you may be wondering what exactly social skills training is, and if there is a social skills training program near you. Well, read on!
What Are Social Skills?
Before we talk about social skills training, we’ll explain what social skills are. These are the skills that allow individuals to effectively communicate and interact with others. They can take different forms, including verbal, nonverbal, written, and visual, among others. Listed below are some examples of common social skills:
- Active Listening involves carefully listening to what someone is saying instead of just hearing them. An active listener provides verbal and nonverbal signs to indicate they are paying attention. This might be nodding or smiling (nonverbal signs of listening) and saying yes or asking questions (verbal signs of listening).
- Empathy is the ability to understand how someone else feels and to relate to those feelings. This often involves being able to see a situation from another person’s point of view. This can be very helpful for working as part of a team or dealing with customers.
- Collaboration is the ability to work with others to accomplish a goal or task and form relationships with them. This skill is very important at work or school if you will be working as part of a team, and as such, is highly valued by employers.
- Conflict resolution involves determining what the problem is when a disagreement occurs and finding a way to resolve the problem. This skill is very useful because conflicts are likely to occur in any relationship, personal and professional alike.
- Careful Verbal Communication avoids misunderstandings and is especially vital when you are telling someone something important. People can easily misunderstand what you are telling them if you don’t carefully consider your word choices. Additionally, the way you say something—for example whether you are smiling or frowning as you speak and whether or not you seem relaxed—also affects the way people interpret what was said.
- Nonverbal Communication not only can alter the meaning of what you say, but can also provide feedback to the people you are listening to by letting them know if you agree or disagree with their message, as well as how it is making you feel.
These skills are very important in a person’s personal life as well as at work and in school. Without adequate social skills, it can be more difficult to form and maintain both personal and professional relationships.
Importance of Good Social Skills
Social skills affect so much of a person’s life. There are many advantages to having good social skills, and here are just a few.
- Good Relationships: Whether it’s a friendship, romantic relationship, or a professional relationship, having good social skills can help it thrive. Additionally, because good social skills make people more pleasant to be around, they can also help you form more relationships.
- Better Jobs: Most employers expect good social skills. Further, people who have particularly good social skills are more likely to advance in their careers and obtain higher-paying jobs.
- Improved Quality of Life: Good social skills can improve your quality of life by improving your relationships and job opportunities. And they can also help you handle social situations better and make you feel happier.
What Is Social Skills Training?
Social skills training is a type of behavioral therapy that helps people improve through interventions and instructional methods to assist both adults and children in improving their social skills. The types of skills taught vary depending on the age of the person being helped, and the training can occur on an individual basis or in a group.
Social skills classes teach a number of social skills depending on the needs of the individual. The therapist will meet the patient and speak with them to determine which skills need improvement. Some of the skills taught are
- Eye contact
- Starting conversations
- Making small talk
- Conflict Resolution
Techniques Used in Social Skills Training
There are many techniques that a social skills therapist can use to help someone improve their social skills; a few of the more common techniques are listed below.
- Instruction: Some social skills are taught through instruction, during which the student learns certain appropriate behaviors by watching someone model them.
- Behavioral Rehearsal: This technique involves having the student model the correct behavior in any number of everyday social situations. They might practice introducing themselves or making a complaint at a customer service counter. Once the student finishes the rehearsal, the teacher and/or other students can critique the performance.
- Positive Feedback: With this technique, students are rewarded during the practice of their social skills as they show improvement.
- Monitoring: This is a technique in which the student is asked to maintain eye contact while participating in a conversation.
- Homework: Another common technique is to give homework to the student so they can practice what they have learned in their everyday life.
Benefits of Social Skills Training
There are many benefits to social skills training. It can increase your self-esteem, which can help you at work and in your personal relationships. It can make you feel more comfortable in social situations and help you learn to cooperate better with others, both of which can help improve your job performance. There are many other benefits as well, but one of the most important is that people with good social skills tend to be happier.
Where Can I Find a Social Skills Training Center in My Area?
Social skills therapy is becoming more popular because it offers so many benefits. As such, many areas now have social skills training centers, and you can also obtain highly effective, evidence-based training online through the Social Skills Center at socialskillscenter.com. You can learn and practice social skills on Zoom with other people who are also trying to learn. These people will provide gracious acceptance while you all attempt to improve your social skills. Many people form long friendships with their classmates! Then, once you feel more comfortable practicing your new social skills with your classmates, you can try these skills in other situations and expand your social life. The Social Skills Center has more than two decades of experience helping people improve their social skills, and they can help you too. If you live in Woodbridge, Virginia, or the surrounding areas, you also have the option of in-person classes.