The trouble is, says Penelope Trunk, author of Brazen Careerist (blog. penelopetrunk.com), “Not everyone knows how to achieve this. And to be fair, it’s not easy.”
She recommends fine-tuning two skills, in order to be more likable at work—no matter how likable you may already be:
1. Open up when you communicate. “Good social skills start with being vulnerable,” she says. “If you want to create a relationship with someone, you need to open up a little piece of yourself so they can find something to connect with. Some relationships will be close, some will be casual, but all will be based on you figuring out how to open up just a bit.”
2. Practice saying, “I’m sorry.” The best measure of strength when it comes to your social skills is how well you manage yourself in a mess. “When things go wrong, the first thing you should consider is apologizing. Saying you’re sorry is powerful,” Trunk says.
For example, when a doctor is willing to apologize for a mistake, he or she decreases the odds of a malpractice suit. Caveat: Never apologize only to make a situation go away; it can do more harm than good. An apology only works when you’re truly sorry.