Since people are social animals in every sense of the word, it makes sense that learning how to accurately understand one another is incredibly important. Learning how to interpret the messages you receive from other people is really about a lot more than being a good listener when others are talking. It’s also about learning how to successfully read facial expressions, body language, and other non-verbal social cues.
This isn’t just the case when it comes to your personal life either. The ability to understand non-verbal social cues and adapt according to what they tell you is a big part of cultivating a successful professional life as well. Let’s take a closer look at how you can boost your social savvy in order to achieve a higher degree of personal success.
Learn to really observe other people.
If you’re like a lot of people, then it’s highly likely that you’re so wrapped up in your own life that you often forget to look outside of yourself and observe the world around you. It’s time to get out of your own head and become a true observer when it comes to other people. This involves not only taking mental notes on how people typically behave, but learning how the things you say and do influence that behavior.
The key to becoming adept at using social cues for your own personal gain lies in keeping your eyes and ears open for changes in people’s behavior. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Focus on studying the ways your actions – as well as outside changes in the environment around others — correlate to the reactions you observe in others and adjust your social approach accordingly.
Understand the importance of body language.
It goes without saying that people don’t always say exactly what they mean. However, their facial expressions and body language almost never lie. A huge, ear-to-ear grin that extends to the eyes is an expression of sheer happiness. A frown – no matter how slight – is likewise a clear sign that someone is uncomfortable in one way or another. Always be aware of people’s facial expressions to get a clear idea of how they’re reacting to you at a given time.
There is also a lot of valuable information to be gleaned from an individual’s body language on a more general scale. Open body language and eye contact are signs that someone is completely engaged in a given situation. Closed off body language or a lot of physical distance placed between the individual and you, on the other hand, can be a sign that you’re missing the mark.
Take notes on personal differences between people.
While there are certainly a few hard and fast rules to understanding social cues that can be applied to almost everyone, it’s also important to understand that everyone is different. Use your newfound powers of observation to start a mental catalog of people’s unique quirks, tells, and reactions to better understand how to interact with them in the future. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how quickly you’ll learn to tell when someone is lying, when they’re truly interested in what you’re saying, and much more.
It will look like this: Using Social Cues to Facilitate Personal Success