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July is Social Wellness Month
by Kim Green-Spangler
Need a little sprucing up on your social skills? Let's face it-- unless you've been to an etiquette school or have been seriously schooled at home on proper etiquette everyone could use a few pointers now and then. This is especially true in prominent situations and can make or break a first impression. The concept of social wellness does not end with knowing the correct fork to use or how to set a proper table, though those are good things to know just in case. Social wellness includes public speaking, good manners, sending thank you notes, RSVPing on time and all of the things that show that you can effectively socialize in any and all situations.
Between books, videos, and courses (both in person and online) there is no shortage of information available to learn how to become comfortable speaking in public, or to learn how to write an effective note or letter. The Toastmasters organization is an excellent example of a group formed to help people perfect their communication skills. A good etiquette book could be quite the eye-opener. What some people consider good manners or "good enough" manners could have others seeing red! Despite a formal education on good manners or a good foundation, social skills can always use a little careful attention.
Why not test out your social wellness skills. Host a formal tea party for female family members of all ages, or plan a formal sit down meal. If teaching younger ladies and gentlemen the art of social wellness - teach them please and thank you early on and have them write thank-you notes as soon as they learn how to write their names. The key is to keep them at it. There's nothing worse than taking the time to search for a gift for someone and to not receive a suitable acknowledgement. What if shyness is a factor?
Public speaking has long been thought of as the key to solving shyness. While shyness may still exist in the individual, with practice he/she will be able to mask it behind a calm demeanor and a poised presence. A stuttering, sweating red-faced person will not make a good impression in a public setting and will not feel confident no matter how knowledgeable.
While improving social skills may seem like a waste of time, you never know when you may be called upon to venture into unknown territory where those skills will come in handy. You may find that often though unspoken, good manners can earn you the respect of family, friends and even strangers. So take some time to remember to remove elbows from tables, use utensils, and write those invitations and thank you notes. You never know who may be watching. You know what they say - You only have one chance to make a good first impression!