It’s been well researched that social relationships are necessary for human health and even our survival. We’re a species that evolved through tribalism. Being social is in our DNA.
I created several Meetup groups for this reason—to support people in leadership and career health, as well as in mental and physical health. Socializing is an important part of the whole picture, which is why we do networking events, too.
While it’s great to be social, it’s even better to be good at being social. It’s not only important for networking, it’s also important in order to be a good interviewer or interviewee. It’s even more important if you want to be a good leader; being relatable is an incredibly important skill for leaders.
I recently read a New York Times interview, How to Talk to People According to Terry Gross, and I found it to be spot on. It echoes some of the basics that I’ve learned over the years through my coaching and psychology background.
The most important take-away from the article is that there are two things you need to do in order to be good at socializing:
- Ask people about themselves
That’s it. Does it seem too easy? It is easy.
Terry recommends simply saying four words: “Tell me about yourself”. When you ask this question it implies no assumptions, whether they work, own a business, have an acting career, or have kids.
This little trick works if you’re a social person, or if you don’t particularly like talking. Because all you have to do is listen.
The caveat is that you actually need to listen. That means:
- Keep your eyes on the person speaking to you, don’t look around the room.
- Nod, or respond verbally (“yes”, “uh-huh”, “I see”) to what they say.
- Ask relevant follow-up questions.
- Try not to divert the conversation away from them and onto yourself without first going through numbers 1-3 above.
Speaking of being social, if you’ve pre-ordered my upcoming book, I’ll be having some very special, private webinar events for you soon, as promised. Watch here for updates on that!
References and Additional Reading
- Genes, Behavior, and the Social Environment. (2006). doi:10.17226/11693 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK19924/Social Determinants of Health. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topics-objectives/topic/social-determinants-of-healthUmberson, D., & Montez, J. K. (2010).
- Social Relationships and Health: A Flashpoint for Health Policy. Journal of Health and Social Behavior,51(1_suppl). doi:10.1177/0022146510383501
- World Health Organization. (2013, May 07). Key concepts. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/social_determinants/thecommission/finalreport/key_concepts/en/