Help me to be more socially adept in business
October 6, 2011 5:07 PM Subscribe
How can I become more socially adept in business settings?
posted by 3491again to Work & Money (8 answers total) 44 users marked this as a favorite
I have several friends who are diplomatic and socially adept in business settings, particularly when explaining difficulties, problems, conflicts of interest, etc. to others. They seem to know how to use the right euphemisms to ask for things/state unpleasant truths in diplomatic and skillful ways. One friend phrased this as "managing up" or "pushing back".
I would like to learn these skills. I am generally good at job interviews, public speaking, networking, and other settings where I can present myself in a good light. My weaknesses lie in explaining difficulties, conflicts, making requests, and other situations where I get extremely anxious because I don't know what to say and I have a very deepfear of authority (that I work on in therapy). I don't know how to do this in email, and I have even more difficulty in person. I tend to overshare, be blunt or crude, and generally come across as an oaf.
I suspect that these skills have something to do with social class and having socially skilled parents. I was raised without either and am working hard to overcome these deficits. So please do not tell me to just "be myself" -- I'm trying to work on myself and improve.
I'm not sure if it's a philosophy I need to adopt, a specific set of skills, or what.
Please suggest anything that might be helpful:
- attitudes, skills, ways to learn this skill
- books that might be helpful
- role models I can watch on YouTube videos
- how to think about this problem
- stories of how you recovered from this issue
A few caveats:
- I do not work in a conventional corporate environment, so I don't have a boss. I work as a freelance consultant, in academic environments (where I have a graduate supervisor and department members as stakeholders), and in entrepreneurial environments. So books on how to climb the corporate ladder are less useful.
- I would prefer resources that are related to situations I am likely to encounter, as opposed to examples like Bill Clinton or Obama, famous CEOs, etc.
- Etiquette books don't seem to be helpful, as I'm not looking for advice about weddings, gifts, turning down invitations politely, etc. I want to be polite, of course, but also professional, diplomatic -- and get my point across.