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The Business Skills Handbook


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Title: The Business Skills Handbook

The Business Skills Handbook
The Business Skills Handbook
  • Social Skills
  • Week 17

  • Recommended text
  • The Business Skills Handbook
  • Horn, R.
  • London CIPD
  • 1st edition, 2009
  • ISBN 1843982188
  • Chapter 17 Social Skills (page 429)

Lecture outline
  • six key social skills for work and university
  • good listening

Learning Objectives
  • develop an understanding of social skills
  • demonstrate appropriate social skills in a
    business context

Six Social Skills at Work
  • Having an appropriate set of general social
    skills is vital to your survival in a business
    environment. Later in the chapter we look at more
    specific skills, but in this introduction to
    social skills I consider the basic range of
    skills that anyone would need to survive at work.

Six Social Skills at Work 2
  • When you are selecting candidates to join your
    organisation, or being interviewed for a job, you
    will be assessing or will be assessed on some or
    all of these skills. As with many aspects of
    social skills, there are very few reliable and
    widely agreed maps of what is required.

Six Social Skills at Work 3
  • 1. Comfort zone
  • To function in social settings you need to remain
    relaxed and to control your anxiety levels. You
    may have experienced the anxiousness of new and
    pressured social settings. It is quite normal to
    feel a little anxious when faced with unknown or
    new social settings.

Six Social Skills at Work 4
  • However, you have to be able to control this
    anxiety to a level that you feel comfortable
    with, that is, stay within your comfort zone.
    Very few people can operate effectively when they
    are constantly outside their comfort zone. If you
    are too anxious, your mind is working too hard in
    controlling this anxiety and it means you are
    less inclined to listen carefully and respond

Six Social Skills at Work 5
  • You will be sending out non-verbal communication
    signals that will indicate this to those around
    you. It is very difficult to build rapport with
    those around you when you are anxious.

Six Social Skills at Work 6
  • 2. Listening skills
  • Listening skills are vital at university and
    work, but listening is not just not talking.
    You can easily develop your listening skills and,
    once learned, you will hear and understand much
    more of what people are saying.

Six Social Skills at Work 7
  • 3. Empathy skills
  • Empathy means to feel the same things as someone
    else. Empathy consists of understanding someones
    feelings and also being able to share them.
    Empathy is a vital social skill so that groups,
    teams and even just two people can fully
    understand and jointly feel situations and

Six Social Skills at Work 8
  • Understand that to empathise is not soft
    management encourage your staff or peers to
    express their emotions, thoughts and feelings.

Six Social Skills at Work 9
  • Remember De Bonos six thinking hats from Chapter
    13. Encourage your staff to wear the red hat. An
    emotional workplace is not one of tears and
    tantrums it is one where all members of the team
    understand where the other members are coming

Six Social Skills at Work 10
  • Listen to feelings, not words listening to
    feelings requires you to interpret the words that
    are spoken. They have said this or that how
    must they be feeling? When someone says, I just
    cant believe they would do this to us, what
    does this mean?

Six Social Skills at Work 11
  • It can mean many things, but you might be able to
    determine that they are feeling worthless,
    unloved, betrayed. By interpreting the feeling
    behind the words, you can be in a better position
    to empathise.

Six Social Skills at Work 12
  • Read body language if you want to know feelings
    by reading body language you can better
    understand the feelings that the person may have.

Six Social Skills at Work 13
  • Know your own feelings and compare them with
    others use your learning diary to record your
    emotions in various circumstances.

Six Social Skills at Work 14
  • In OneNote, have a separate emotions diary
    page. Knowing about your own emotions helps you
    to perceive them and understand them in other
    people. You can compare your emotions in any
    given situation with other people.

Six Social Skills at Work 15
  • One technique is to have an emotions debrief.
    This allows all the participants in an emotional
    event to put their feelings on the table.

Six Social Skills at Work 16
  • 4. Rapport skills
  • Mirroring involves copying all the visual cues
    of someone else to assist in understanding their
    feelings. Recent research has led to the
    understanding that there are parts of the brain
    that have neurons especially adapted for empathy.

Six Social Skills at Work 17
  • What are you trying to mirror? Things such as
  • posture
  • breathing
  • tone of voice
  • type of language
  • eye contact
  • eye movements
  • hand expressions
  • head posture
  • verbal approaches.

Six Social Skills at Work 18
  • 5. Maintaining and displaying reasonable
    self-esteem and self-worth
  • Self-esteem and self-worth are two terms that are
    what we might call near-synonyms they mean
    almost the same thing. There are some more terms
    you will know, such as self-regard
    self-respect self-love. It is the difficulty of
    bounding the term that leads to so many

Six Social Skills at Work 19
  • I will use the term self-esteem as a global term
    that might be characterised as meaning
  • the value we place on ourselves
  • our feelings of inherent worth over and above
    our skills
  • our innate abilities, values and beliefs
  • our competence in life
  • our life comparator with others.

Six Social Skills at Work 20
  • Having sustainable or reasonable self-esteem is a
    social skill. It is socially debilitating to have
    too high a level of self-esteem just as it is
    debilitating to have self-esteem that is too low.

Six Social Skills at Work 21
  • When people are seen by others to have
    excessively high self-esteem, there is a tendency
    for people to avoid them or to set out to bring
    them down a peg or two.

Six Social Skills at Work 22
  • When people have very low self-esteem, there is a
    tendency for others to think they are worthless
    and to ignore them.

Six Social Skills at Work 23
  • Members of the social circle we call business
    have responsibilities to maintain a reasonable
    self-esteem for ourselves and to be responsible
    for the self-esteem of those around us.

Six Social Skills at Work 24
  • Maintaining your self-esteem
  • Business and university environments can be tough
    on your self-esteem, easily causing it to lower.
    This is because many of the outputs are what we
    might call hard they are objective outputs. If
    you get 32 for your assignment, it is difficult
    if not impossible to avoid the conclusion that
    the work was not good enough.

Six Social Skills at Work 25
  • If your sales figures are the lowest in the
    region it is difficult to avoid feelings that you
    are not good enough. If your performance at
    university or work is not what you want, by
    focusing on the skills that are needed, you will

Six Social Skills at Work 26
  • One thing to avoid is the negative and
    self-defeating feeling that you are not good
    enough. If you fail at university and
    business-related things, it is not you that is
    not good enough it is your skills. Working on
    these skills will improve your performance.

Six Social Skills at Work 27
  • 6. Body language
  • Your body language speaks much louder than you
    do. The visual cues you give off are very
    important to your social interaction. Its so
    important that the wrong visual image may ensure
    that you never even get to speak.

Six Social Skills at Work 28
  • Everyone develops their own preferred body
    language elements over time, so dont take the
    sections that follow as prescriptive. Just be
    aware that these are the well-researched elements
    of body language.

Six Social Skills at Work 29
  • It is actually quite important to make an
    impression in business. An unusual feature is a
    memorable feature that may help you to be
    remembered. Razor-cutting stripes in your hair
    and standing on the boardroom table is not the
    way to do it.

Six Social Skills at Work 30
  • Eye contact is probably the most important
    aspect of your non-verbal impact. If you dont
    make regular eye contact with someone when you
    are speaking to them, they will assume that you
  • are ignoring them
  • are untrustworthy
  • dont like them
  • lack social skills
  • are rude and difficult.

Six Social Skills at Work 31
  • How much eye contact would be correct? In the UK
    in a one-to-one conversation, they would expect
    you to make eye contact for around 6070 of the
    time. Any more than this and you will make them
    feel uncomfortable any less and they will think
    one or all of the above.

Six Social Skills at Work 32
  • Posture is context-specific. If you are
    attending a formal interview, sit up straight but
    not rigid. If you are in an informal interview,
    it is as well to sit back and relax without being
    horizontal. Good posture also benefits you in
    terms of breathing and expression.

Six Social Skills at Work 33
  • Head posture to give the air of confidence,
    stand straight and keep your head vertical and
    level horizontally. You can also use this
    vertical and horizontally straight alignment when
    you are trying to be authoritative. If you want
    to convey friendship and sympathy, tilt your head
    slightly to one side.

Six Social Skills at Work 34
  • Arms the classic no-no is arms crossed, which
    is deemed to indicate that you are a closed
    person who keeps the world outside. Crossing your
    arms when you are normally showing open positions
    indicates your displeasure or disapproval.

Six Social Skills at Work 35
  • Arms by your side or slightly behind your back
    indicate you are confident and ready to accept
    the world. The larger your arm movements, the
    more comfortable and confident you are deemed to

Six Social Skills at Work 36
  • Legs your legs tend to be under the least
    conscious control so may give away your true
    feelings. Legs tend to move a lot when we are
    nervous, under pressure or being deceitful.

Six Social Skills at Work 37
  • A classic sign of nerves is when someone is
    bouncing their foot and leg up and down on their
    toes. A natural and comfortable position is to
    have your feet placed lightly on the floor. When
    you cross one leg onto the knee of the other, it
    is the defensive equivalent of cross your arms.

Listening Skills
  • Improving your listening skills will help you
    succeed at university and in the workplace.
    Listening is not hearing. Listening is an
    important skill that, with practice, you can
    develop. Most people seem to be very poor
    listeners. They talk to be heard at the expense
    of listening to others.

Listening Skills 2
  • They often hear selectively by noticing the
    things that support their view and not perceiving
    the things that contradict their view. If you can
    start to be an excellent listener, you will
    become a better student, worker or manager.

Listening Skills 3
  • Excellent listeners
  • Concentrate on giving full attention to the
    person speaking. This must be a conscious and
    sustained effort to hear and understand what is
    being said.

Listening Skills 4
  • Do not plan what you will say next. When you are
    planning your next sentence you are not listening
    to the speakers next sentence. Good listeners
    focus on and soak up every word.

Listening Skills 5
  • Avoid being distracted by outside events.
  • Do not jump into the conversation. Allow the
    speaker to finish and then pause
    onetwothreethen speak.

Listening Skills 6
  • Do not respond to the speaker immediately let
    their words sink in. Think about what they have
    said. Think about what the words mean. Do not be
    afraid of silence in conversations. Silence is
    the point when people are thinking.

Listening Skills 7
  • Make a brief review of the conversation so far
    before extending the discussion, for example If
    we accept Sams point about using the money as
    effectively as possible and agree with Petras
    position about investing in the staff skills
    then make your point.

Listening Skills 8
  • This serves several purposes
  • It shows you were listening.
  • It confirms the main points and allows challenges
    to those points.
  • It creates legitimacy for the point you wish to

Listening Skills 9
  • Ask questions of what has been said. These can
    clarify the point or extend the point.

Listening Skills 10
  • Give feedback to let the speaker know the effect
    their words are having. Nodding the head is a
    form of feedback supporting the points the
    speaker is making. Shaking the head gives
    feedback that you disagree with the points being
    made. You can also give verbal feedback of
    support or disagreement.

Listening Skills 11
  • Record what is being said. Writing is a
    reflective and thought-provoking activity.
  • Speak less, think more and remain relaxed

Listening Skills 12
  • Display empathy for the speaker. By understanding
    the feelings behind the words, you will better
    understand the words.

Listening Skills 13
  • Concentrate on non-verbal cues. Maintaining eye
    contact is the most effective way to indicate you
    are listening. It also allows you to understand
    the emotion of what is being said.

Listening Skills 14
  • Allow other people to shine.
  • Moderate the quantity of their spoken

Next Week
  • understanding and using management
  • the characteristics of management work
  • practical management skills
  • understanding the nature of leadership
  • trait leadership skills
  • behavioural leadership skills
  • contextual leadership skills
  • transformational leadership skills

The Business Skills Handbook
The End