Emotions are a sixth sense. The lens we look through must be clear. Making sure we are present and able to give others our full attention is the first step to becoming more socially aware. Looking outward is not just about using our eyes; it’s about interpreting cues from others as well.
Building social awareness comes from observing people in all kind of situations. We can pick up on body language, facial expressions, postures, tone of voice, and even deeper emotions and thoughts. There are multiple strategies that can help us increase our abilities in this category. We will begin today with two and unpack them for several weeks to build this as a strength.
Greeting People By Name is an essential part of a person’s identity. It feels amazing to have someone remember and use our name. It is one of the most influential social awareness strategies we can adopt. Are you bad with remembering names? Don’t panic!
I recently heard a great tip. After chatting for a few minutes, show interest and ask for their business card. That will have their name on it which you can then refer to throughout your time together. If they don’t have a business card, pull out a little notebook and pen and ask them to write down their contact information to get in touch at a later time. Having them write it will avoid having to ask their name if you have forgotten it.
Watching Body Language is crucial for social awareness. Ask professional poker players about how they study their opponents to tell what is in their hand. They look for any small changes in the behavior as indicators. Posture, eye movement, hand gestures, and facial expressions all play a large role. It’s just as important for us to become expert readers to gauge the perfect approach and response.
Do a head-to-toe assessment. Starting with the face, our eyes and smile are huge indicators. Maintaining eye contact can show if a person is trustworthy. People who have eye movement that is relaxed and attentive are genuine and sincere. A smile usually leans toward more openness when engaging in conversation. Are shoulders slouched, or arms and legs fidgety? The body communicates non-stop and is an abundant source of information.
Social Awareness Strategies
Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves, “Emotional Intelligence 2.0”