After months of social deprivation incurred by lockdown, how do you feel about managing your relationships and building networks outside your close circle of friends, family, and co-workers again?
Now that you can begin to be out in the world again dating, partying, attending cultural functions, walking without a mask - will you keep your low-key introvert habits, or will you use this moment to reach out to people, make eye contact, and be the one to speak first, offer a hello, or a warm smile?
Three New Communication Skills for Introverts
Introverts, think of a time when someone took a genuine interest in you. Remember how good it felt to be in their company. How it made you feel heard, seen, and supported. Imagine if you could be that warm presence for someone who could be struggling to know what to say after being in lockdown. What if you had three questions you could always ask people when you meet them for the first time? Here's how to do that.
Speak first - Ask: How has covid made you better?
Listen and reflect - Ask: Who do you want to be now?
Get curious - Ask: What would you do if you were fearless?
Go ahead, try it. You’re absolutely going to make someone’s day.
Three New Communication Skills for Extroverts
Extroverts, yesterday, I sat with my girlfriends after playing tennis and reflected on how the pandemic has affected our relationships at home. Their stories inspired me to write this piece.
Before the pandemic, my friend's husband, a surgeon, would ply his fearless social skills, and say the unsayable. For example, he walked into a smart party and asked, “Who's had a facelift?” At that moment, my friend wanted to disown her husband.
My other friend's husband is friendly, the proverbial “Chatty Harry.” She recalls him talking to someone at the gas station and hearing about a source of local organic steak. They went to visit the farm, and to this day, they still buy meat from them. There are times her husband's outgoing friendly nature needs her gentle redirection, but mostly his authentic social skills are always appreciated.
So, all you extroverts, try hopping over to the introverts’ side for a moment, and try these three introverted practices next time you’re with a group.
Listen before speaking - Ask: What I hear you saying is…
Ask, don’t tell - Ask: What do you think is best?
Get curious - Ask: Can you say more?
Go ahead, try it. You’re also absolutely going to make someone’s day.
Progress in all areas of your life is measured by the strength of your relationships, first to yourself and then to others. Imagine the positive impact you’d have on everyone you met if you stepped up your social communication skills as you emerge from the cauldron of Covid-19.
Give it a try and let me know in the comments below how it went for you and the person you spoke to.
Photo by David Laws for Unsplash