Strengthening Your Social Muscle
Now we get to the practical stuff.
Strengthening your social muscle is a practice that takes work.
Austin Piatt says, “The social muscle is like any other muscle, it needs to be worked out or else it'll lose its strength. Forcing myself to join clubs, attend networking events, and spark conversations with strangers has enhanced my communication skills while also opening countless doors to new opportunities. Yes, social burnout definitely happens—but the upside of team collaboration heavily outweighs the negatives of social fatigue.”
Harvard Business Review gave us five tips to flex the social muscle. Little by little, we can strengthen these skills for the benefit of ourselves and others.
1 - UNPLUG
Our first instinct when we feel awkward is to dive headfirst into our phones.
This gives others the impression that we’re busy and in-demand, while relieving ourselves of the responsibility of connecting with others.
But scrolling social media hurts our social muscle—it doesn’t help it.
Austin Piatt says, “If I ever feel a social burnout coming, I usually take a long walk with good music in my ears. This has a huge impact on helping reset my mindset and allows me to take a more relaxed approach when reconnecting with the team.”
2 - DO SMALL FAVORS
If the idea of networking is still frightening to you, decide to do a small favor instead. See a small gap in a workflow that you can fill for someone.
Go out of your way to buy someone a lunch or a coffee.
Curate a meme or a piece of content that they would like.
Just take a moment to be a little generous, and watch the connection unfold.
3 - WORK TOGETHER
I’m the main offender here. When it’s my focus time, I don’t want anyone to talk to me, message me, or walk past me.
But every so often I remind myself it’s good to work in groups with people, even at the cost of a little short-term productivity.
The long-term effects on collaboration and understanding far outweigh the few tasks I have to do tomorrow now.
4 - REACH OUT
Once you’ve established a small connection with someone, and some time has passed, take a moment to reach out.
Ask how they’re doing. Ask about their hobbies and their family. Ask if they’re dealing with the stress of life alright.
These small reach outs are like tossing a swimmer a foam safety ring.
They’re not always needed, but when they are, you become a life saver.
5 - JUST SAY HELLOW
Networking and collaboration can’t happen without first meeting.
Saying hello is the first step, and it doesn’t need to be scary.
If you see someone you’d like to connect with, all you have to do is say hello.
It’s the first step, and it costs you nothing.
At Mindhoney, our only goal is to see you achieve yours.
Our products are designed to help you achieve greater cognitive clarity and focus.
Links to all SOCIAL SKILLS articles: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3