Thursday, January 13, 2022

Social Communication Cues: Recognize Social Situations

Social cues are verbal or non-verbal hints that let us know what someone maybe thinking or feeling. When in a social situation, it is important to keep an eye out for these social cues and ensure our behavior isn’t contributing to them. While some cues can be obvious, others may be very subtle, so we must train ourselves to be able to recognize them when they do appear.

Social cues can often enhance or even downplay what is being said or portrayed in a situation. But the social cue needs to be interpreted in the right manner for it to better a social situation, not make it worse. People who are better equipped to identify and understand these social cues are more likely to act appropriately to them and will be better prepared to respond to them and adapt their behavior.

Social situations are not a one-size-fits-all situation. Because the people in each situation are different, we must learn to adapt ourselves to this ever-changing group and know how to handle them. This does not mean we have to change who we are or hide our own personality, but rather we can change how we present ourselves around other people. Some of the best hints we can use are the ones we get from other people around you. How are they behaving? How are they ‘working through the event? Do you know all of them? Are there faces you do not recognize? With this information in mind, determine what type of social situation you may be in. Is this a formal gathering? Is it a business meeting or function with coworkers? Maybe a few friends catching a bite to eat? The key is to recognize your surroundings and the people involved to help determine how to present yourself.

Questions to ask in a social situation:

• “What is the purpose of the gathering?”

• “Who is present?”

“Do we share common interests?” 

Until next time ...


Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

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