Quick Tips to Teach Social Skills to Shy Students


First, we teach the importance of Eye Contact as that communicates confidence, and makes the student less of a target for bullies.
Second, we walk through the process of approaching someone with eye contact and a firm handshake.

Third, we discuss how we are not trying to make extroverts out of introverts, but need to give them the skills to assert themselves. Assertion helps them in the future to generate leads in their business, or work their way up the corporate ladder as promotions and success in the business world is often what you know and who you know.

Fourth, people love to hear their name and we try to encourage the below format for them to find out their name and to use their name in the next sentence for 2 reasons. First, if they say their name people love to hear their name; Second, if they say their name they have a better chance of remembering their name in the future.

Fifth, if they forget their name we role play the following: "My names Spencer, I'm sorry, but what was your name again?"

Role Play:

Role play how to Greet and compliment someone

-"Hi, my name is Spencer, what's your name."
-"Nice to Meet you John"
-"Nice to Meet you too Spencer"
-"That's a Cool Shirt

Role play how to "Start Conversations"

-"Where do you go to School?"
-"What grade are you in?"
-"What do you do for fun?"

Role play how to "Continue Conversations"

-"Did you have fun at your birthday party?"
-"How was your Summer?"
-"How was your Soccer Tournament?"

Identify strengths in their peers and draw attention to it

-"Great job or Great Catch."
-"I wish I your talent."
-"You are a great friend."
-"I enjoy hanging out with you...You are so much fun"
-"Where did you learn how to do that?" "Can you show me?"

Affirmation: We encourage parents to draw 2 columns on a paper and on the left side write the name of a few kids they enjoy or would like to befriend. On the right column we suggest they write positive qualities or affirmations about the student on the right side: "creative, smart, intelligent, athletic, artistic, great at sports, good friend, kind, caring, sensitive, radical, tubular, etc."

Reward: Parents are instructed to reward them for connecting with one or two peers on their list using the affirmations.

Social skills groups can be powerful especially with hands on team building games, popcorn, drinks, anything to bring kids together quickly and build trust with each other. Trust is the glue in relationships so students need to learn how to build and rebuild trust (if broken) to cement the relationship.

Ropes courses often offer opportunities to build trust, communication and teamwork. Often extroverted students want to lead and they overpower introverts so a good program will teach the extroverts to be servant leaders. They can help introverts learn assertion and leadership by extrovert's silence. We silence the extroverts and put the introverts in a leadership position to help reach a goal or objective. Afterwards the team affirms the team and the team leader building confidence in the introvert.

About the Author:
James L West