A two-hour module on social skills for networking can help microentrepreneurs to improve interpersonal interactions and business performance as a result. By contrast, a one-day session focusing on social skills and customer care doesn’t seem to lead to any positive effects.
What’s the rationale behind this?
Starting and running a business necessarily involves lots of interpersonal interactions, including serving clients, negotiating with providers, managing employees and connecting with peer business owners, among others.
Social skills have been found to be valuable in jobs that involve teamwork and high levels of interpersonal interaction. Therefore, they’re also likely to be useful for business owners and managers, given that building effective connections is part of the recipe for successful entrepreneurship.
Interpersonal or social skills refer to communication and relationship-building competencies that are needed to have effective interpersonal interactions. Communication competencies include active listening, oral, written, assertive and non-verbal communication. Relationship-building competences include cooperation, coordination, trust, intercultural sensitivity, service orientation, self-presentation, social influence, negotiation and conflict resolution.
Under the assumption that social skills are only partly innate and can also be learned, interpersonal skills training has been gaining interest as a way to boost business performance through improving how business managers interact with their stakeholders.
Outcomes of interest
Interpersonal interactions, business performance
Does it work? Here’s what we know so far…
- Adding a two-hour module about social skills to a marketing training programme can help microentrepreneurs to grow their peer network and make it more complementary and diverse while helping them to engage in more collaborative and informative peer interactions.
- The improvements in entrepreneurs’ social interactions that result from a two-hour module on social skills for networking can lead to important improvements in business profits.
- Complementing a one-day management training programme with an additional one-day session on interpersonal skills for customer satisfaction and loyalty doesn’t seem to have significant effects on business practices, customer loyalty or business sales.
Ideas worth trying
- If you’re running a training programme for business managers, consider including a module on social skills for networking.
What to avoid
- Avoid limiting social skills training to customer care interactions.