In your professional and personal life, if you are consumed by your own thoughts and emotions, and are oblivious to the needs of others this is a strong indication your social awareness skills and timing need some work.
Have you ever been told that you lack empathy and often speak out of turn? Perhaps, you may even be called a narcissist! If so, we hope this blog helps enlighten you to the power of social awareness.
What is social awareness?
Social awareness is a core component of emotional intelligence. Basically, it’s our ability to recognize and understand the emotions of others. When we are socially aware our focus is outward rather than inward and we are able to walk in a room and focus solely on others. This helps us develop a more accurate view of others within social situations, as we can pick up on important verbal and non-verbal social cues.
What does timing have to do with social awareness?
Timing affects everything we do. When our timing is right, life is wonderful. When our timing is off, life can be miserable. The familiar saying – there is a right time and place for everything – is so true. When we practice social awareness skills, it's imperative that we understand not only how to communicate, but also when and where to interact with others.
For example, you are participating in a team meeting. Emotions are elevated and a few individuals have a worried expression on their face. If you concentrate solely on the timing of your emotions and when to share your golden nuggets of wisdom with the group, you are focusing too much on yourself, and not reading the mood of the group. If you begin to speak without first observing the social setting and carefully assessing the situation and emotions, you may come off as insensitive.
Tips for practicing social awareness
Stop and ask yourself these questions before you speak:
- Did I listen actively to the person who approached me?
- Did I ask the other person questions about the content of what they were saying as well as their feelings and emotions about what they were saying?
- Did I change my body language, facial expressions, the tone of voice, and other elements to meet the needs of the other person?