Does the thought of networking, cold calling, walking into a room full of people and making small talk send you back to bed with your laptop? Do you find yourself on the outer at events, not knowing what to do with your hands; or shunned, having sprayed the company’s CEO in the face with flaky pastry while stammering out something weird about the universe expanding? Do you identify with Milton from Office Space? You are not alone. We are the socially awkward, and we are legion.
Transitioning to the world of work, even if you are smart and highly employable can be hard work for some as it requires adapting to a whole new set of unspoken norms. Louise has recently done a handy blog about adjusting to your first job. Check it out.
Then, if you are still really anxious about those first impressions, or struggle with social skills, etiquette, understanding body language and social cues, some great resources can be found with a delightful guy called Daniel Wendler, an online marketing guru, TEDx speaker and clinical psychology graduate who lives with Asberger’s. Dan has developed a social skills guide with tips to help you figure out systems that govern how people interact. Find out how to have a conversation without scaring anyone away, using techniques such The Sandwich and The Creaky Door. Have a look at Daniel’s TEDx talk.
It’s a two-way street, though, and I think this is also a really helpful guide for those who find social situations and making friends really easy to help them to reach out and be inclusive, either as friends or colleagues. I like what Dan says at the end of his talk: that we all deserve a place where we belong.