How Can You Increase Your Social Intuition?
First and foremost, remember that social intuition is something that can only be developed organically.
Reading is not enough. You can’t watch videos about it and magically become more socially intuitive.
You have to actually get out there into the world, interact with people, try things, succeed, and fail.
That’s how your brain will develop the ability to read situations, read people, and respond effectively to people.
So taking action will be critical.
1. Talk to a Few People Every Day
Be friendly and be positive. Not everyone will respond positively to you when you chat with them.
But if you’re friendly and positive, and you’re giving them a smile, for the most part, people will respond positively.
Talking to strangers is great for overcoming the hesitation or nervousness that we often have around people that are unfamiliar to us. And that increases your confidence overall.
If you can approach strangers consistently and have good conversations, you’re going to have even more confidence and power in situations with more social warmth or familiarity.
So talk to more strangers to build up your social intuition.
2. Attend a Wide Variety of Events and Social Situations
Put yourself into lots of different situations, especially events and activities that have the kinds of people you haven’t had a lot of experience with.
They could be people from different economic backgrounds, different cultural backgrounds, people from different industries, or people from a different age or demographic group.
If you haven’t had a lot of exposure to that particular group of people, try to attend more events that include those kinds of people.
Your social world will become much more robust and your ability to handle conversations with those people will be much easier.
3. Attend Events with High Concentrations of People that You Find Intimidating
This connects back to #2.
Your “intimidating” people could be senior business executives, or representatives of client companies that you’re trying to sell into.
They could be people from a certain cultural background.
Eventually you want to attend more and more of those events.
With more exposure to them, you’ll become much more comfortable around those people and you will understand them better.
4. Take on Leadership Positions
The more challenging, the better.
And again, especially seek out leadership positions where you have to lead teams or groups of people that are very different from you (different assumptions, different beliefs, or different working styles).
This will really send your social intuition into overdrive.
Your brain will have to work extra hard, not just to actually get the project done or to launch the initiative, but also to understand your team.
In any leadership role, you’re going to deal with challenges and complaints from people.
You’ll need to praise people and recognize and acknowledge their accomplishments.
You’re going to have to understand people’s motivations.
So there’s a tremendous amount of social innovation that will be necessary for you to succeed in your leadership role.
And if you fail in the leadership role, then at least you’ll learn something.
This is something that I did years ago when I was managing fashion events in New York.
I’m not a fashionista. I’m not a fashion expert. But I found myself leading these huge fashion events with tons of moving parts, and thousands of guests attending.
And that did a huge benefit to me developing my social intuition and my social confidence and awareness.
5. Enter Every Situation with an Open Mind and a Spirit of Curiosity
Now, obviously nobody likes a know-it-all. So the more you can NOT be a know-it-all, the more attractive and more interesting you’ll be to people.
But also, you’re not going to learn anything if you assume you understand people.
Be open-minded and observe people. You never know where social situations might take you.
If you’re reading this, you probably have a certain level of ignorance or lack of awareness of social dynamics.
So the more open-minded, and the more genuinely curious, you can be about people, the more quickly you’ll develop real social intuition.
This will make you more persuasive and influential.
6. Take Notes Throughout Your Journey
Analyze situations. Analyze yourself.
Don’t analyze things in the moment, while you’re interacting with people.
But after an event or a conversation, go home and take notes on it.
Ask yourself questions like:
- What did I say to that person?
- What could I have done better?
- What seemed to make an impact?
- What did not make an impact?
- How was I able to mobilize that group?
- How was I able to make a positive impression?
Reflect on these questions as you write your notes.
I took notes throughout my own journey of developing social intuition and confidence.
I still have the journal to this day. It has extensive and minute observations on myself, other people, reflections on social events and what I did correctly or incorrectly, as well as ideas on how I could improve.
Journaling made a huge difference in my personal growth.
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