When you first meet someone, what do they notice about you?
Beyond how you look.
They don’t see your education.
They don't see how hard you’ve worked.
They can't tell how funny and nice you are behind closed doors.
All they know is how you make them feel in the first few seconds of meeting them. And if you don't make them feel good, they're probably already thinking about how to gracefully and quickly move on. Tough, but true.
If your social skills aren’t where you want them to be, it can be tough to live a truly Rich Life.
That’s why in this Ultimate Guide, I’m going to show you how to quickly and easily improve your social skills. You'll learn how to use the power of body language and charisma to create lasting connections with people.
The next time you’re out at a bar, a wedding, or an event, you'll be able to confidently approach new people and always know exactly what to say.
No more being forgettable. No more feeling like a wallflower. And definitely no more awkwardness.
I’ve spent years studying, testing, and refining the best strategies for improving these skills — and I'm going to walk you through how you can improve your social skills in this guide.
Hi, I'm Ramit Sethi. I'm the New York Times bestselling author of the book, I Will Teach You To Be Rich.
I've helped millions of readers live a Rich Life using psychology, tough love, and tested, step-by-step systems that work in the real world.
I used to be socially awkward.
I would say all the wrong things at exactly the wrong times. Everyone would just stare at me in silence, and I'd burn with embarrassment.
I avoided working on this problem for years because, after all, I was doing just fine. Other than the occasional uncomfortable moment, what was the rush to improve? What were the real consequences of not being socially skilled?
But I realized that’s exactly the point: things were just FINE.
Just like you can get fat by eating poorly for decades, you can actually do just FINE going through life without connecting with the people around you.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
Over time, I’ve learned how to improve my social skills and shown thousands of my students how to do the same.
Today, I’m much more confident and charismatic. And even though I’m nowhere near perfect, I’ve given speeches in front of thousands of people and been on national TV. Yes, I said National TV!
For a guy that used to fumble his way through saying "Hi" to someone new, that’s a huge change.
You can make these same changes. And I want to teach you how because your ability to connect with the people around you is the single greatest competitive advantage you can get.
A Rich Life isn’t just about improving what’s on the inside — it’s just as important to control what people think when they meet you.
Your ability to connect with the people around you is the single greatest competitive advantage you can get.Tweet this
Many of us don’t realize the cost of having poor social skills or the power we’d gain if we improved them. In Part 2, I’ll show you why improving your social skills is something you can’t afford to ignore.Take Me To Part 2
I know first hand that being that awkward guy (or girl) in social and professional situations is the worst. It’s embarrassing and unpleasant for everyone. Learn my best strategies for overcoming anxiety and being confident in group settings.Take Me To Part 5
Do you know someone who can strike up a conversation with everybody they meet? Their conversations look effortless, they often get free drinks at the bar, and they make best friends any time they go out.
They may be gifted, but they don’t have some coveted secret. Instead, they’ve just mastered the art of small talk: that oh-so-elusive skill that many people claim to hate.
But listen, small talk doesn’t have to be icky or boring “How’s the weather?” chats. You can actually use small talk to dive into much deeper conversations. It can be the basis for great relationships and making new friends.
Whenever I used to talk at a party or in work meetings, people would give me blank stares and completely check out. For a long time I had no idea what was going on, but I eventually discovered the mistake I was making.
Check out this short video clip, where I break down exactly what I was doing wrong.
In the video, I explain how small talk really works, give you some simple tips to master it, and even include a LIVE teardown of someone making small talk. You can apply the insights from this conversation to the next one you have and make yours a success.
Check out these small talk hacks:
We’ve all been in conversations that suddenly fizzle out. One minute you’re standing there chatting away. The next you’re awkwardly looking around and frantically searching for something clever to say...but the words just won’t come.
Does this happen to you?
Let me show you how in this 2-minute video:
As fun as it is to talk to new people, eventually every conversation must come to an end.
But for a lot of people, it can be hard to escape. Especially if you’ve followed the tips from above, you’ll have people that never want you to go away.
Rather than just awkwardly backing away from them or making lame excuses that you have to go, here’s how you can skillfully end any conversation -- and still keep good rapport with the person you’re speaking to.
It’s a simple tip, but it’s ultra handy, especially if you ever find yourself in the midst of a weird conversation and want out.
Watch it here:
Just watching these videos will help improve your social skills. But if you really want to get good, you've got to practice. That's why I want to give you some word-for-word scripts you can practice with.
We all feel awkward and unsure at times.
Just think back to your first day of high school or at your job. Did you feel vulnerable? Were you unsure what to say or how to connect with other people?
While that's a common feeling, what if you could go into new situations without feeling that way ever again? Imagine if you always felt confident and natural when you tried new things or met new people.
You actually can! Like any other skill, confidence is something that can be improved -- and even mastered -- over time.
It goes like this: whenever you’re in a social situation, imagine you’re wearing a cloak that makes you invisible or covers up certain parts of you.
Not going to go well.
But what if, mentally, you can apply this same tactic? If I go to a conference, I’ll put on my Invisibility Cloak which allows me to feel confident and say, “Who am I going to be today? What is my behavior going to reflect?”
If I want to be a gregarious, friendly, outgoing guy, I’m not changing who I am on the inside to be inauthentic. I’m just changing my behavior on the outside.
Confidence hacks: within 60 seconds of walking into an event, go up to someone and introduce yourself.Tweet this
Many shy people can use the tactics above to boost their confidence for a little while but find themselves slipping back into their timid habits.
Luckily, overcoming shyness is easier than you’d expect. In fact, it just takes a subtle mental shift to rid yourself of this pesky emotion for good.
In the video below, I’ll show you a simple technique you can use to stop feeling shy today.
You’ll become more natural by practicing. To make practicing easier, I have some word-for-word scripts that will help you have easy, natural conversations with anybody.
Groups come with a lot of moving parts. No one can predict exactly what someone else will say, who will show up, or where you’ll even be. While that's part of the fun of being in a group, it can be stressful if you're not sure how to behave or what to say in group settings.
In these situations, it’s normal to feel excluded and anxious. It’s normal to wonder, “What do these people think about me?” All of these things are normal.
But with the right tools and a little bit of practice, you can be as confident talking with a group of strangers as you are with your close friends.
Think about it. How many people just show up to a group event and stand there with their backs against the wall, expecting to be entertained by someone else?
That’s not only rude, it's a terrible strategy for making a good impression. When you do this, you’re leaving what everyone thinks of you up to chance.
The better approach is to take control of the situation -- so you decide how people remember you.
What should be on your list?
People want to talk about what other people are talking about. To get a shortlist, just look at the news, Twitter, or Facebook. The trending topics on these platforms are the perfect kinds of things to bring up in group conversations. Plus, they make for easy icebreakers and allow you to be proactive in striking up conversations.
It encourages people in the group to chime in and say, “Yeah! I saw that! That was crazy!” Or you’ll have others who say, “No, what’s happening?” Then you can explain it briefly to kickstart a deeper conversation.
It’s a great way to get a group conversation rolling along and everyone engaged.
When you spend some time planning these things out, you can have some conversation ideas on hand that give off the impression you want.
For example, if you want to make people laugh, prepare a few jokes and a list of funny things to talk about. If you want people to know you’re intelligent, do a little research and put together a list of fun facts to drop into a discussion.
The point is by doing this up front, you remove all the guesswork. You're prepared with material to use when the opportunity is right.
The next step to making a great impression in group events is to engage everyone.
One thing that irritates me at group events is when you see two people having a conversation all by themselves. Sometimes they'll even talk loud enough that no one else can speak.
Don't be those people. If you're speaking, engage other people as much as you can.
You can do it by using my humbly titled: S.E.T.H.I. technique.
Smile: Simple, but very effective. In a group, you naturally trust, like and gravitate toward people with genuine smiles. In the beginning, forcing yourself to smile more might feel fake, but keep practicing. It's worth it.
Energy: Take whatever energy level you’re at now and add 50% more energy. Test it in small, anonymous places like at a coffee shop. See what kind of reactions you get. Then work up to using it at work and with your friends. You’ll be amazed at the difference. Don't believe me?
Here's the difference in action:
Talk Slower: Fast talking is a sure-fire way to make people tune out. If you're a fast-talker, forcing yourself to slow down, while awkward for you, will be a welcome change to your listeners.
Hands: Your hands can be very expressive. Adding gestures (and not hiding your hands in your pockets or crossing your arms) can dramatically improve your communication.
Eye Contact: The most socially fluent people don't avoid eye contact, nor do they stare down other people. They look at you, they look away, then they come back. You can practice this rhythm, too.
When I first moved to NYC, I wanted to go out and enjoy the nightlife but didn’t know anybody. Even though I was desperate to unwind and have fun after a long week of work, I stayed in and spent many of those nights alone.
My phone never rang, nobody texted me, I just sat there bored out of my mind. It was the WORST. I don’t want you to have any nights like that.
In the 8-minute video below, you’ll see my 2-step process for getting more invites to events and parties (and spending fewer Fridays alone).
Particularly pay attention to:
All these tactics help you once you’ve gotten a conversation to spark. But sometimes you’ll need an extra push -- a way of deeply connecting with people even if it feels a little weird at first.
That’s why I want to share one of my favorite interviews with you. It’s from a session I had with one of my good friends Ron Lieber.
Here’s just some of what we covered in our conversation:
Takes 5 minutes to review the checklist before you go out. It’ll help you confidently approach groups of people you don’t know -- and be warmly welcomed into their circle.
If you were to ask someone, they’d probably say “smile more!” That's good advice, but there is another simple technique just as powerful (if not more) -- eye contact.
It seems so obvious, but most people overlook it. They don’t consciously use eye contact, which is a shame because it is one of the most valuable tools you have at your disposal. With a half-second look, you can convey anything from confidence to insecurity to friendliness.
Eye contact is a key piece of my S.E.T.H.I. technique, but I want to give you a special eye contact challenge you can use to quickly improve how you use eye contact.
Yes, I'm asking you to test your eye contact. Notice I’m not saying “Get better at it!” I want you to see the difference when you try different types of eye contact. When done correctly, it can build rapport and intimacy. When done poorly, it can make you look like a serial killer. (We cover the difference in the clip below.)
Here's how to do it: Try holding eye contact for a second longer than you normally would. Practice on your waiter, barista, or the person at the checkout counter.
Likeability hacks: hold eye contact for a second longer than you normally would. Practice on your barista today.Tweet this
You've learned how to be more confident and taken your social skills to a whole other level. So what's next?
Look for new opportunities to test what you've learned. Remember, social skills are learned, and it gets easier with practice.
So put yourself into situations where you can try making small talk, play confidence-building games and confidently engage people in group conversation.
As you become more fluent in social situations, the rewards can be huge — from simply being more comfortable around people, to meeting a new circle of friends, to accelerated progress in your career.
Whatever your interest, I'll give you some of my best material to help you succeed.