top of page

Dear Heidi: You use the phrase social codes a lot. What are they exactly?

Think of social codes as the keys to navigate your life. A complement to your technical abilities, they help you to reach your goals.

Social codes are all of the non-technical skills and knowledge necessary to navigate your personal and professional life successfully. They're often called "soft skills" or "non-cognitive" competencies, but they can be learned and improved throughout your life. These skills are invaluable, an essential element for any well-rounded high achiever.

Well-rounded people are attractive. We are drawn to them in meetings or at parties. There's something about them that can be difficult to identify. We only know that their appeal transcends their technical or applied skills.  

Well-rounded people have mastered many social codes and are more successful because of it. Think of social codes as the keys to navigate your life-map, a complement to your technical abilities, guiding you to reach your goals.

The first stop on the journey is etiquette, and I don't mean simply your table manners. Etiquette is an enormous subject that touches about every aspect of social codes, from how you communicate with others to how you comfort yourself. Succinctly, etiquette is about being aware of other's feelings and how your actions affect others.

When you begin to think beyond your own feelings and have concern for others, you exhibit empathy. Empathy is foundational to mastering social codes. There are several types of empathy, and a global pandemic is the perfect environment in which to develop mindful, empathetic leaders who can build resilience in their teams.  Leaders of this caliber often have a high emotional intelligence, or EI. 

Emotional Intelligence is a crucial element in mastering social codes. EI is about being aware and in control of your own feelings and managing your relationships.  The good news is, your EI can be developed and continue to improve, unlike your IQ, which is basically set at birth. Studies have shown that your EI is as significant, if not more so than your IQ, which makes sense; people with excellent soft skills are in high demand.   

Other social codes include resilience — realizing that there will always be setbacks, that things are never really all linear. If we prepare for a rainy day, we fair far better than when we only expect sunshine. Resilience enables people to create opportunities where others might see only defeat.  

Other aspects of social codes include the ability to influence and persuade others to entertain your ideas and theories while remaining authentic to your values. Remember our well-rounded friend?  The one who lights up the room, the interesting person who sort of magnetically draws everyone near, including you? They just have "it," and "it" is a mastery of social codes.

Many call that power to command a room executive presence, or EP. EP is a desirable social code, and it too can be developed. EP can be compartmentalized into three parts; gravitas (67%), communication (28%), and appearance (5%). It's how you act, how you speak, and how you look. Etiquette, empathy, and nearly all of our social codes live in executive presence.   

Would you like to seamlessly command a room, be successful, and lead your life authentically with grace?  Then, begin your social codes mastery journey, with etiquette and empathy, and you will become empowered to achieve any goal. I'd be happy to help.

Remember, almost anything is possible with the right set of skills and a proper mindset.  


bottom of page