What are useful social skills that can be picked up quickly? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Milena Rangelov, Ph.D., student of civil engineering, blogger, creator, on Quora:

Here are my 10 ideas (and #10 is my favorite):

1. Look people in the eyes.

2. Smile.

3. Ask questions. But don't kill another person with them like you're a detective. Rather, show a genuine interest in another person's life and experiences.

4. Don't talk too much. When someone tells a story, stop your urge to follow up with an example from your life. Instead, say, "Wow, that's cool!"

5. When you introduce someone, make him or her a superstar. "This is my friend Tom. I met him at my first workplace, and he saved my ass when I had my first project deadline! I cannot imagine what would have happened without him."

6. Try to remember names. I know most of the people emphasize they are terrible at remembering names. But it is a skill like any other and can be picked up quickly. Ask a new person to repeat the name if you haven't heard. Repeat loudly after them. Ask mutual friend later for the help in the case you forget. People like when you remember their names. It is worth some practice.

7. Make a silent break. It will make you more persuasive and confident. People like that. Don't be tempted to explain the same thing five times or to fill every break with talk. Short breaks are very powerful.

8. When someone is interrupted in the midst of the story, ask that person to continue. "Hey, can you please finish your story about your bicycle ride? The last thing you mentioned is that dog started following you and then someone interrupted. Can I hear the rest please?" People LOVE this. They feel uncomfortable when their stories are interrupted, and this hack will give them a feeling that they are appreciated and heard.

9. Don't complain. We all know those people (I like to call them "energetic vampires" because they suck your energy) that cannot stop whining and complaining about everything, from their latest project to political situation in Laos. Complaining is repellent for people. Whenever you start complaining, try to change the channel.

10. One of my favorite spiritual principles to live by is always to try to leave everything in better condition than I found it. Offices, apartments, hotel rooms, cities and YES, people's hearts. After every interaction, ask yourself: "Did I leave this person in better condition than I found him or her? Did I uplift, inspire, empower him or her? Did I cheer him up? Did I make her laugh? Did I give some love and support?" If you approach social interactions with this simple intention, you will always know what to do. All other social hacks are just tools.

I hope that this answer inspired and empowered you.

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Published on: Dec 6, 2016