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Ask anyone in 2015 about essential "social skills" and you will probably get a list back about social media rules, which online social networks are best and the most common ways to build your network. That, however, is NOT what this post is about. We spend so much time fixated on social media that we forget to focus on the more important elements of being "social." Rewind the clock back just a few short years ago and "social skills" were defined as the set of proper techniques and practices we used to develop relationships with other people.

Social skills, if applied improperly, can lead to social kills.

Very often, business owners, managers, entrepreneurs and C-level people will be so focused on business, they forget about the impact of the proper use of social skills. The results can get ugly and lead to lost business, an irritated customer and failed opportunity. Social skills, if applied improperly, can lead to social kills. Regardless of whether you have 30 years of experience in the business world or are just starting out, make sure you are following the 10 Essential Nice Guy Social Skills (click here to download and print out the infographic for quick reference):

  1. Maintain eye contact. Head up and out of your phone, tablet, iPod or laptop. When I visit my doctor’s office, I have noticed more increasingly as I talk about my history, instead of meeting me with his eyes, he is so focused on taking notes on his PC about my answers, he forgets that I am a part of the conversation. I realize that he is trying to make sure he takes proper notes to document my "history," but a simple glance up from the screen would be nice. Don’t forget, you are dealing with people. Eye contact during conversation is a great social skill to possess.

  2. Use proper body language. It’s not what you say, but how you say it. Non-verbal clues can provide plenty of information and make you appear to be not interested in what someone is communicating. Remain focused and open to communication. Arms folded, legs crossed, body turned away, and so many non-verbal clues are a turn off to others. Watch what you are saying when you are saying nothing at all.

  3. Know the difference between being assertive and being aggressive. It’s OK to share your opinion and to be passionate about what you are discussing, but be careful not to step over the line and project your opinion in a way that makes the person you are communicating with feel like they are wrong. If you are bordering on offensive or insulting, you are heading into the aggressive zone.

  4. Select effective communication channels. There are a variety of ways in which you can communicate with someone. Make sure you are using the proper channel. For example, never have a conflict or present an argument via email or social media. There is no emotion in email and you are opening up a can of worms since emotion, empathy and feelings are hard to share through a computer. Know when face to face is better than a phone call. Even the improper use of a comma can drastically change the meaning of a sentence. There is a big difference between these two sentences. "Learn how to cut, marinate and cook friends." versus, "Learn how to cut, marinate and cook, friends."

  5. Flexibility and cooperation are essential social skills. Get rid of the attitude that your way is the right way and the only way. Although you may feel as though your way is the best way, remaining flexible and open to another solution is always a good guideline to follow. Keep in mind that you will need other people in order to get anywhere in life. An open willingness to share ideas with others should also be coupled with a flexible mindset as well.

  6. Accept criticism without being defensive. When presented with an opposing view or when being critiqued, don’t immediately go on the defensive. Listen to what is being said and absorb the information, especially if being presented by someone more experienced than you. Although you may not have asked for the critique, be open to what is being said. Criticism is not easy to hear, especially if it is not warranted, but "Social Skills 101" says to keep your head in the game and listen up and be accepting.

  7. Remain positive at all times. Several chapters in my book, Nice Guys Finish First, provide clear proof between having a positive attitude and being highly successful. The same applies here. Highly social people tend to be very positive as well, making them much more likely to be successful as well. Who wants to be around a negative attitude? Positive people are attractive and are going places in life. Although positive people have their ups and downs in life as well, positive people don’t wallow in self-pity, doubt and negativity.

  8. Be teachable and be a good student. Entrepreneurs are constantly learning. They look for avenues to get things done effectively and efficiently. Be teachable and never stop learning from others. As a part of developing great social skills, being teachable makes you humble, hungry and thirsty for knowledge and keeps you asking questions. Experts love to answer questions about what made them an expert. Ask questions (but don't be annoying), be trainable and be social.

  9. Show respect for others. No matter your position in business or in life, showing respect is the ultimate sign of regard. When you respect someone you are showing you care, admire and honor their position. Never feel as though you are "better" than anyone else or that your experience or knowledge is above others. Staying humble while being mindful is a great social skill to possess.

  10. Be human, after all, it’s what makes you unique. Oscar Wilde said, "Be yourself, everyone else is taken." Bask in the glory of being you and know that no one can be better at it than you. People like you for you and you do not need to be or act like anyone else. That doesn’t mean you should be brash, arrogant and unwilling to compromise; continue to be flexible, happy and positive. Be the best YOU possible and people will want to be around you and share you with the world.

"Get rid of the attitude that your way is the right way and the only way."

The above list of 10 essential social skills may seem like they are common sense, but you would be surprised at the amount of uncommon sense infecting the workplace today. And the nice part about this list is that its reach is far more than in business. Follow these social skills in every aspect of your life and you will discover that success will find you.

Doug Sandler, is a PMPI member and serves on several committees. He is the author of Amazon bestseller Nice Guys Finish First and a regular contributor to Huffington Post. His weekly blog appears at

Irving Convention & Visitors Bureau
News and Announcements

On your mark, get set, GO! It’s not often that a group of 60 adults, children and strollers are seen running though the halls of a local high school. This was the scene on Saturday March 28 as PMPI chapter members, industry colleagues and their families raced to the finish line during a relay race at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School. Due to inclement weather the event was moved indoors but this did not stop participants from enjoying the race day energy. The halls were filled with activities for kids and adults alike. Thanks to event sponsors, participants were also provided healthy snacks to prep them for the race.

This was the scene as PMPI participated in the first annual MPI Foundation Chairman’s Challenge. Locally, this was better known as the PMPI FUN-K however this challenge extended across MPI chapters nationwide. Each chapter was given the challenge of raising $5,000 through the efforts of a 5K race to support our local chapter’s education program, as well as the foundation’s grant program. Twenty-five percent of all money raised will go directly back to our chapter’s educational programming, and 75 percent will be given to the foundation to support chapter grants.

Together as a chapter PMPI raised over $2,000 for the foundation! A huge thank you to our sponsors who helped to make this inaugural event successful: Blanken Photography, Christie’s Photography, Event Digital Photography, Tarek Productions Photography, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, Travel Portland, CorePower Yoga, Hilton Garden Inn Bethesda, Hyatt Regency Bethesda, Madison Avenue, Incorporated, DoubleTree Bethesda, and Condor Communications.

Thanks to everyone that participated and/or donated. Click Here to see the rest of the photos.

Our next Community Outreach Effort will be have both a virtual component, as well as a small in person event!

For our virtual component, we will be extending our presence into the Commonwealth of Virginia and focusing on our furry friends. We have partnered with the Humane Society of Fairfax to host a food and toy/supply drive. For more information please visit the COC webpage and check out the Amazon Wish List.

For our in-person component, get ready to suit up with a hairnet, gloves and apron to help one of D.C.’s most prominent nonprofits, D.C. Central Kitchen, prepare meals for the D.C. Central Kitchen. This organization is a nationally recognized "community kitchen" that recycles food from the surrounding area and uses it as a tool to train unemployed adults to develop work skills while providing thousands of meals for local service agencies in the process.

For more information, please visit the COC webpage.
Howard County Tourism and Promotion
AMA Executive Conference Centers
Visit Phoenix
DNC Parks & Resorts at Shenandoah, Inc.


Please visit our website at to learn more and register for all of our events,
as well as information about the resources we have to offer you.