Social Skills for the Workplace

Blog · Sep 17, 2015

As technology in the workplace advances, fears that computers will soon replace people in the workforce perpetuate. However, a recent article in the Harvard Business Review reassures us that jobs highly reliant on social skills are extremely secure. In the past thirty years, job growth has predominated in occupations that require finely tuned social skills. The ability to work with others seems irreplaceable, as computers simply cannot emulate human interaction. Not yet anyway.

Effective communication ranks right up there as a top social skill essential to success in the workplace. The earlier children learn and master these skills, the better prepared they will be as they progress through school and into their careers.

But what is a recipe for effective communication that we can teach children? We can begin by breaking down communication into two roles: the speaker and the listener. Of course, the speaker’s goal is to effectively share information, and the listener’s goal is to effectively receive information.

What are some qualities of a good speaker?

Be assertive. Good speakers have a confident tone of voice.

Pay attention to body posture. Good speakers stand up tall and sit upright.

Make eye contact. Speakers who make eye contact show they are serious about delivering their message.

What are some qualities of a good listener?

Pay attention to body language. Good listeners can read a speaker’s body language to pick up on any unspoken cues.

Lean in. Good listeners pay careful attention to what the speaker is saying.

Ask questions. Good listeners are not afraid to ask questions to clarify what the speaker says.

Children develop their social skills by learning these best practices in effective communication. According to the Harvard Business Review, not only is there a demand for a high level of social skills in the workplace, but people who have good social skills earn more than those who lack them. Effective communication skills foster a thoughtful and assertive approach to navigating complex social environments. Children with this higher social intelligence can ask for what they need and advocate for their goals with a sensitivity to the needs of others. Preparing children with the tools they will need in the workplace sets them on a productive path to secure their prosperous future.

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