Overcome Social Anxiety Disorder By Reading The Room

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Squash social anxiety by learning how to read the room. By being aware of the social context, the cultural overlay, and the communication participants in any given situation, you'll develop social adeptness.

I get a lot of questions about social anxiety and confidence and just a general uneasy feeling when interacting with people when we're in social settings. And look, I get it. Social anxiety is a really unpleasant feeling, and it could very well deter you from having social connections, social interaction and building your friendships and building your professional network. So it's definitely something that you want to address sooner rather than later. Now, one thing that is very important and is an integral part of social anxiety is reading the room. So we're going to talk all about.

Alright, so what does reading the room mean? It's this idea that you are aware of the social situation, the social dynamics at play, the key players in the conversation, what's going on, the gist of the situation. And generally speaking, you're socially aware. So someone who has social adeptness and is a social person reads the room automatically without even thinking about it.

They walk into a social setting or a room, a physical space, and within a few seconds, maybe even a minute, they start picking up on what's going on. They can read if there's tension, they can understand certain emotions. They can understand if there's heightened emotions. They can understand the emotional resonance of the words .

By tone of voice nonverbals, in addition to the words. So an experienced person, an experienced, socially savvy individual will read the room without even thinking about it. They just do it. Now, for the people who are not this way, this is a skill that you can work on. This idea, this skill of reading the room can actually be taught.

It can be replicated and it can be worked on. So if you want to be able to read the room, the very first thing, you want to be perceptive instead of just jumping into the conversation without much context. Or if you're a genuinely funny person and you have a great joke to tell. You want to read the room before you do that. You don't want to just blurt out a joke, you want to read the room.

You want to know if this is an appropriate moment, if this is an appropriate point in the conversation to say that joke. Maybe the audience doesn't care about that joke. Maybe the mood is not humorous or funny in that situation. So again, it comes back to reading the room. So the very first thing you want to is be perceptive. Pay attention to what's going on. Do not chime in, refrain from talking. You want to be actively attentively listening. You want to be able to really assess the situation. And the only way to do that is to be perceptive and to be actively listening. Don't have an agenda. Don't have a list of items that you want to go through.

Don't share your jokes. Don't workshop your speech. Whatever it might be. You just want to pay attention. Okay? So that's the very first thing. And the second part of that is the active listening, which we discussed.

Then you want to put out feelers. So once you've assessed the situation by paying attention, by observing people's behavior, their mood, what they're saying, how they're saying it, whether there's an undertone of sarcasm involved, if there's cynicism, directness, whatever it is, what kind of overtone is there?

And also with cultures. If you are in a cross-cultural setting, or if you are communicating between cultures. That's also a very important aspect of reading the room. Once you've done that, then you want to start putting out feelers. What does that mean? Let's say you've assessed that people seem to be in a happy mood.

It's Friday, people are excited, they're sharing their weekend plans. Then, that might be a good opportunity for you to say that, you're having a couple people over for a barbecue to, celebrate something and watch the game that's on that night, whatever game. And so if people seem like they're excited or you know they're happy, they're vibing with it, then that might be a good opportunity for you to put out a feeler for inviting people somewhere because they're already in a happy mood.

Okay? So that could be one thing, or maybe it's a good opportunity for you to find out about, where they're going and maybe you have this idea of going on a camping trip, but you would love to hear about their experience first. They're going to be more inclined to be excited about helping you if you also show interest in their plans of having that camping trip themselves.

So obviously there's congruity there,. We want to be able to show someone that we care because we're actively listening and we care about, what's going on in their lives. And the synchrony is important, but with putting out feelers, you first have to understand what's going on.

And then, you can tell your joke or maybe you feel like there's a heaviness in the room and then maybe you found out why there's a heaviness in the room. Maybe someone just got laid off. You can, express, you're sorry for that.

You can express your sadness for it or whatever it is. Or maybe they're excited about moving on to something else, whatever it is. So you want to be aware of what's going on and then putting out the appropriate communication, the message. And the way to do that is by putting out feelers. So you first start with a sentence or two about something else, but it's going to lead you into ultimately what your message is.

So by putting out feelers, you're really starting to get closer to what you want to do, whatever speech act it is. If it's telling a joke, if it's telling a story, if it's apologizing, whatever's going on. But of course, it's tied into reading the room and seeing what the general mood is and also what the context is.

What were they talking about when you walked in? Are you privy to that conversation? Is this something where you walk in and then everyone goes silent? They don't want you there. So reading the room, and if that's the case, let's say you walk in and the room goes silent, then you are not going to sit and chat and stay a while.

You're going to read that, read the room, read that situation, and be on your way because you're not welcome there at that time because maybe they're talking about something sensitive or they're talking about something that is not related to you whatever the case. We're not going to try to come up with the millions of examples that it could be, but just know that if people were to do that, then why sit and wallow in that.

Or just pretend like it didn't happen. Later you can find out. This, that or the other. But the point is, reading the room is going to allow you to be more socially savvy, more adept at communicating with people, understanding social context, reading the situation, and I love this term, reading the room because that is what it boils down to.

And so once you've put out feelers, then you test out things. You see what the response is, what is the feedback? How are people receiving this message. What is their receptivity levels? How receptive are they to your message, to that speech act that you shared to your delivery, to your tonality, to your expressions, whatever it might be.

You're going to start getting feedback once you test out things and put things out there, and then over time you can polish your delivery. You can change your word choice. You can use alternate expressions. You can finesse and fine tune, and then over time you'll just become even better and better at something.

For example, if it's an elevator pitch that you're working on, or if you're working on, trying to invite people in a cool and calm way, or you're congratulating somebody. All these different types of speech acts that are very prominent in our day to day lives are important to be able to know how to tackle.

And so reading the room is what's going to allow you to dismiss that social anxiety, to rather to conquer it. To overcome that uneasiness in social situations because you're so aware of what's going on, you've taken time to, instead of blurt out something, you take time to listen. To understand what's going on, to maybe ask questions when it's appropriate to test out things because you've been perceptive and you've been listening, and you're really thinking about saying things in a way that's going to be respectful and receptive.

And that's really the formula. So reading the room is what's going to help you become more socially adept and less socially awkward, and also conquering that social anxiety that is so crippling for so many people. All right, so I hope that you enjoyed this lesson.

Definitely try out these strategies. Start reading the room in any type of context. Try professional contexts, try casual contexts. Try as many contexts as you can because over time that's going to be what gets you to level up and takes you from being an okay communicator to a stellar communicator.

All right, that's it for me today. Thank you for joining me. I will see you in the next one. Bye for now.