Social Radar, What’s on Yours?

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Social Radar, What’s on Yours?

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We’ve all met the person without a filter, right? If you haven’t, beware, because it just might be you. Have you considered what is on your social radar?

social Radar appreciative strategies

Although I’m not completely sure, I believe the term, “Social Radar,” may have come from the internationally known psychologist, Daniel Goleman.

In the workplace or any social circle we often bump into someone who just doesn’t seem to get it. They tend to say or do things that shock others.

It’s often more than just a little slip of the tongue. For seemingly unknown or misunderstood reasons, they appear to have no idea about the impact of what they say or do. Perhaps more important, they don’t understand how it might be offensive to others.

Here are a couple of examples:

  • Bad Manners. This is not about knowing the proper placement of the fork, butter knife, or spoon at a formal table setting. You might think of this as things like coughing without covering your mouth, belching, or other human behaviors that socially most would consider foul.
  • Gutter Mouth. Businesses and organizations all have a culture. Some may not find swearing or locker room talk offensive, but others find it strongly offensive. Make sure you understand your environment, error on the side of no foul language.
  • Wrong Humor. When you combine bad manners with gutter mouth you might end up with what some would consider as inappropriate humor. We might see it on television or in a movie where it is shocking and funny. In many real life social circles it is often highly offensive.

This isn’t the real story though. The real story isn’t about identifying these behaviors it is about being aware and not making costly mistakes that could derail your professional relationships, tarnish your career, or worse.

Social Radar

While there are at least several things important for improving or enhancing your social radar probably the single most important skill is listening. Following that would be reading body language, observation and awareness skills, and empathy.

People with the best social radar strive to master:

  • Listening well. Give your full and undivided attention, with listening you really can’t do two things at once. Listen carefully and with empathy. Become more aware of social cues that should guide your behavior.
  • Gaining perspective. Often people with weak social radar are only aware of their own personal agenda. What is in it for themselves, and giving very little understanding or consideration for another’s perspective. Work hard to understand others perspective.
  • Giving help. Lead with being considerate of others first. Be respectful and strive to help out. Your goal should be to improve their comfort level while becoming more aware and sensitive to their needs.

Social radar is a big subject and it is so much more than just about guiding your filters. Improving your social radar will help with building better professional relationships, improving the customer experience, and increasing sales.

Social radar, what’s on yours?


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+

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