• awkwardnetworker

10 Social Skills We Learned From Our Fathers



Our fathers have significant influence on our social skills.  Every time my spoken vocabulary gets trite and lazy, I hear my dad’s voice in my head saying, “Words have specific meanings, Sean.  Use them appropriately.”


Every door I’ve held, every “please” and “thank you”, every big smile and “Good morning!  How are you?” before ordering my morning coffee… that’s dad.


Dad taught me everything from negotiations, first impressions, making friends, and otherwise developing social intelligence.  But as special as he is (I mean, c’mon… how cool does he look swigging Blue Label from the bottle?), he is just doing what all fathers do for their children – teach social skills.


So, I enlisted 10 good friends and all-star networkers and asked them:


What’s one piece of social advice your father taught you?


The results were incredible.  Enjoy!


Lirui Li

Chief of Staff, Einstein Healthcare Network



“Listen actively – first seek to understand the person and hear not just what they are saying but the meaning behind why they’re saying it and how they are expressing it.”



Matt Blank

Business Development Manager, Friedman LLP



“When you say ‘hi’ to someone, make them remember that ‘hi’. Leave them with a positive memory. So when someone asks how you are, instead of saying ‘fine’ or ‘can’t complain’; say ‘if I were any better there’d be two of me’, or ‘livin the dream’. Make someone’s first experience with you a positive one and they will always come back for more.”


Lyndsay Moyer

Sr Director – Government Affairs, Comcast



“Every time I tell my dad about an interesting conversation I had, he says, ‘Did you tell them about me?’ After many event debriefs, and many eye rolls, I realized that more often than not I had mentioned him. And my family. And something we had done or shared together that had made an impact on my life. My Dad can strike up a conversation with anyone, and trained me my whole life (even when I didn’t realize it) that being your authentic genuine self, willing to share your experiences and perspective with others, was the best way to make memorable impressions and lasting friendships.”


Raj Bodapati

Managing Director, KPMG LLP



“In any networking setting, wherever you go, always respect your elders and be polite to them. Let them do most of the talking and you listen. Even if you think they are wrong be polite, smile and acknowledge, but don’t confront them. As elders, they deserve the respect.”


Angelina Perryman

Vice President – Administration, Perryman Building & Construction



“Very simple: Look people in the eye, give a firm handshake, and always be yourself.”