Open Mouth, Insert Foot - TestYourself Research Underlines The Personal and Professional Risks of Poor Social Skills
TestYourself.com's latest study reveals that social competency can make or break a relationship.
MONTREAL, CANADA (MARKETWIRE) -- October 19, 2012
TestYourself.com, a pioneer in online personality, IQ, and career tests, has released its newest study comparing people with strong versus deficient social skills. TestYourself research reveals that social status, work performance, and relationship satisfaction are all impacted, for better or worse, by a person's degree of social competency.
Poor social skills can leave a lasting impression. Struggle as one might, it's a lot easier to recall that sore thumb of the group whose skills when interacting with others made people squirm. There are those who have an uncanny knack for building a rapport with others, who make people feel at ease in their presence…and then there are those for whom a sudden of case of laryngitis (or a sudden appearance of a black hole) are the only things that can salvage an already cringe-worthy conversation.
TestYourself conducted a research study with over 9,000 participants through their online Social Skills Test. TestYourself's statistics reveal that people with underdeveloped social skills are more likely to get lower performance ratings at work, to be less popular among their social group, to be less satisfied with their relationships in general, and to experience more conflict in their personal life (at least once a week). Gender comparisons indicate that women outscored men on every social competency, particularly in terms of ability to read body language (score of 74 vs. 69, on a scale from 0 to 100), social insight (69 vs. 63), and relationship skills (76 vs. 70). Older age groups were more skilled than younger age groups at reading body language and resolving conflict, and were generally more at ease in social situations.
"Social skills - the ability to build a rapport with others, to read others, to communicate clearly and productively, and to resolve conflict effectively - is indispensable … whether we like it or not, we have to interact with people on a frequent basis," explains Dr. Ilona Jerabek, president of PsychTests. "These are skills that develop with time and experience. The problem is, we learn a lot through the example of others. We interrupt, we finish people's sentences, we don't use empathy, we fight dirty … these are all habits that not only interrupt the flow of conversation, but also take the fun out of interacting with others. Talking to, and being in a work or personal relationship with someone who engages in these habits is not a pleasant experience, and unfortunately, these faux pas can rub off on you."
In their comparison of people with strong vs. under-developed social skills, TestYourself's research reveals that:
- 26% of people with under-developed social skills tend to take over and dominate conversations (vs. 10% for those with good social skills).
- 85% of people with under-developed social skills are uneasy in situations where they are expected to share their emotions (vs. 2% for those with good social skills).
- 79% of people with under-developed social skills get distracted when they're supposed to be listening to someone (vs. 0% for those with good social skills).
- 80% of people with under-developed social skills snap at others when they are feeling stressed (vs. 1% for those with good social skills).
- 84% of people with under-developed social skills feel ill-at-ease when interacting with people they've just met (vs. 1% for those with good social skills).
- 70% of people with under-developed social skills are uncomfortable in conflict situations (vs. 2% for those with good social skills).
- 50% of people with under-developed social skills think it's ok to interrupt someone during a conversation (vs. 9% for those with good social skills).
- 29% of people with under-developed social skills will steer clear of conversation topics that could be viewed as offensive to a member of the group (vs.82% for those with good social skills).
- 60% of people with under-developed social skills will mostly talk about themselves during a conversation (vs. 3% for those with good social skills).
- When asked to keep a secret, 38% of people with under-developed social skills said that they would. 39% said that they would spill the beans, but only to "one or two other people". 93% of those with good social skills would keep their friend's secret; 7% would share it with one or two other people.
- 67% of people with under-developed social skills have difficulty controlling their emotions during an argument (vs. 1% for those with good social skills).
- 65% of people with under-developed social skills feel uncomfortable apologizing when they have committed a transgression (vs. 2% for those with good social skills).
"These are staggering differences," points out Dr. Jerabek. "There is hope, however, for those who struggle in social situations. Our Social Skills Test offers not only an assessment of your current level, but also offers down-to-earth tips and advice on how to improve. In addition, there are scores of seminars, articles and books on the subject. Sure, it takes some effort and courage to practice your newly acquired skills, but it is so worth it!"
Tips from TestYourself on polishing social skills:
- Show interest in what someone is saying. If you look bored, preoccupied or annoyed, you will shut down the flow of communication. Granted, some people will totally bore, but do your best to find something interesting in what a person is saying. Make eye contact, turn your body toward the speaker, and ask questions when appropriate.
- Mirror the other person's style. Within reason, try to utilize similar facial expressions, posture and choice of words. This will put the other person at ease and will minimize the differences between you. For instance, if you are speaking with someone who seems to have a more limited vocabulary, avoid using words that not even an English major would be able to follow.
- Use "I" phrases, especially during conflict. Instead of saying "You frustrate me when you show up late," for example, send the message from YOUR point of view; "I feel frustrated when you're late because we miss out on some quality time together. What do you think?" Essentially, say how you feel, why, and ask the other person a question that leaves the ball in his/her court. Avoid accusatory questions, however. That will only put your conversation partner on the defensive.
- Think before you speak. Seems obvious, but sometimes, we say things that in retrospect. we realize we shouldn't have. This is particularly true with sensitive or "touchy" conversations. So before blurting something out, ask yourself "Is what I am about to say worth communicating? Will it be productive? What is the best way to put it?"
- Don't forget to listen! Listening is the first step to effective communication but it is often under-appreciated. This is by far the most important rule of communication - listen, listen, listen!
- Don't fall victim to "The Fundamental Attribution Error". We as humans are forever trying to figure out the causes of other's actions. All too often, we attribute misfortunate behavior on the part of others to dispositional rather than situational factors. For instance, writing others off as jerks for snapping at you rather than looking for external causes such as being sick or having been fired that day. As a result, we are less forgiving than many situations call for. Try to understand that others are under just as much pressure and stress as you are and as a result, their behavior may not always represent who they are as people.
Those interested in assessing their social skills and getting advice on how to improve them can take the Social Skills Test at:
TestYourself.com is a subsidiary of PsychTests AIM Inc. TestYourself.com is a site that creates an interactive venue for self-exploration with a healthy dose of fun. The site offers a full range of professional-quality, scientifically-validated psychological assessments that empower people to grow and reach their real potential through insightful feedback and detailed, custom-tailored analysis.
About Psychtests AIM Inc.
PsychTests AIM Inc. originally appeared on the internet scene in 1996. Since its inception, it has become a pre-eminent provider of psychological assessment products and services to human resource personnel, therapists, academics, researchers and a host of other professionals around the world. PsychTests AIM Inc. staff is comprised of a dedicated team of psychologists, test developers, researchers, statisticians, writers, and artificial intelligence experts. The company's research division, Plumeus Inc., is supported in part by Research and Development Tax Credit awarded by Industry Canada.
Psychtests AIM Inc.
Ilona Jerabek, Ph.D., President