Omega’s Guide – Social Skills

The first thing an omega needs to do is learn basic social skills, such as how to hold a decent conversation and speak in front of others.

Before I begin, I should mention, this is not going to be easy. (None of this guide will be) It took me years of hard work and overcoming fear to get to where I’m at, and even so, I’m still nowhere near charismatic alpha. It will be hard work, but it is definitely worth it. The nice thing though, is that even small improvements will have large effects at the beginning. There will be lots of little times along the way when you will say to yourself “I did that? 6 months ago I would have thought that impossible.” Also, it might go faster than you because I’m giving you a guide rather than having you figure it out on your own.

I’m not going to tell you what social skills to learn as part of this guide, because I’d be a horrible teacher. If you want to know what you need to learn for social interaction you can go online and find all kinds of advice on how to do this. How to Succeed Socially, for example, is an excellent resource for building social skills. I’d encourage reading through it.

The problem is, reading alone is not going to help you and searching the internet looking for continually more reading is simply going to distract you. You need to interact with people while you learn, but I know when I say that it sounds stupid; if you could interact with people you wouldn’t be reading this. What you need is a plan and something to push you to interact. But I can’t meet you in person and other people have already made concrete plans that are better than anything I could make.

So, I am going to tell you how to get started to learn social interaction skills.

You are going to join Toastmasters and buy How to Win Friends and Influence People. You are also going to join the Dale Carnegie course, if you can afford it.

I took the Dale Carnegie course (paid for by my grandfather) and it was, with no exaggeration or hyperbole, life-changing. I probably got more out of that one evening a week for three months course than the 6 years of courses I spent in university. If you are socially awkward, I can not recommend it enough. Every week you learn new social techniques and practice them in the class. You are then instructed to test them in real life; the course motivates you to test them because the speaker’s are very motivational and you don’t want to be the only one to not have a story of implementing what you learned the next week. It is an amazing course.

The problem is that it costs a lot. When I took it was about $1300; it now looks to be about $1700-2000. That’s quite a bit of money. If your work has some kind of training fund, see if you can get them to pay for you. If you can afford it on your own pay for it yourself. If there is any way you can come up with the funds join this course.

If you can’t, don’t worry too much, there’s a poor man’s version, but it will require more motivation from you. Most of the actual content in the course can be found in How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, which can be bought for under $10. The problem is that you don’t have the safe practice space and the external motivation the course provides, so its a lot harder because you have to make your own motivation.

It will be less structured, you won’t have the professionals motivating you, and you may miss the nuances training provides, but you can still get the just of it by reading and implementing the book.

So, if you can’t afford the course, buy the book and implement it. However, do not read the entire book in one sitting, you won’t get too much out of it. Each week read a section, then spend a week implementing whatever you learned throughout your normal activities, the next week read the next section and implement, and so on.

Also, join Toastmasters. Toastmasters is fairly inexpensive (<$100/year) and a great way to learn speaking skills, improvisation, and overcome your fear of others. It will provide an organized and non-judgmental environment in which to learn speaking skills.

You can find a club to join here. There should be one near you.  Contact them and, if they are meeting this week, go to the meeting. Not all clubs meet in the summer, so it might be a few weeks before your local club meets next, but make sure to contact them this week, then attend the next meeting. Don’t put it off.

Weekly Goal:

This week you will either sign up for the Dale Carnegie course or buy How to Make Friends and Influence People. You will also contact and sign up for Toastmasters and attend the first meeting if your local club meets this week.

Have this done by next week, so you can move onto the next part of the guide which will go up next Sunday.


  1. I can’t recommend How to Win Friends and Influence People enough. A student gave me a copy of that book and Public Speaking For Men in Business a year ago and they’re both packed with practical advice and lucid prose. Without meaning to boast, I knew much of both books’ contents beforehand, but there’s nothing wrong with review and reflection. From time to time I pull them out and read passages; everyone needs to consult the masters from time to time.

  2. Toastmasters is also worth joining for career networking purposes. Your company, alumni group, or relevant professional society may have a chapter in your area.

  3. Yep, How to Win Friends and Influence People was a great book. Pretty old, but the information is timeless none the less.

    I think a good focal point is on interest, too. You can’t really force an interest in other people or force yourself to enjoy a night out. Having multiple interests (real interests, like camping or archery or musical interests, etc.) is an easy way to reach a common ground with other people. Passions and people, you know?

    Just a thought.

  4. Started to read “How to Succeed Socially”, so far very good. A lot of the introductory posts are a little wishy-washy, but I’m really impressed with the second and third sections. Thank you for passing that along. I would recommend it further to anyone else considering taking a look over there.

  5. @ errant: It is a great book.

    @ Doji: My club is from a number of different places not related to my field, so it hasn’t been useful for networking so far, but if one of the clubs is in your own workplace, I could see it being fantastic for that.

    @ BH: Don’t worry that’s coming.

    @ Old Man: No problem, glad you found it useful.

  6. Do you recommend the Dale Carnegie course for non-Omegas?

    I can handle public speaking (on topics I know well, in front of people I know reasonably well) without much anxiety, but I’m not great at starting conversations with strangers and small talk.

    Wondering if DC would be a waste of my company’s money, and my time…

  7. I think it would be good for non-Omega’s. Toastmasters is more public speaking oriented, but Dale Carnegie is good for learning to make small talk; the course gives a number of good strategies for chatting people up.

    I’d recommend it for most people who are awkward in social situations, even if not really an omega. When I went, most of the people there were salesmen and a lot of them were already good at social stuff, but still seemed to get stuff out of it.

  8. I ended up taking Dale Carnegie, based on the strength of the recommendation here, and made tremendous progress in my public speaking and one-on-one communication abilities. There was a guy in my class that had to be physically assisted to stand for his first speech – his progress over twelve weeks was astounding.

    I recommend it for anyone who is socially awkward or anxious. It will feel unpleasant going to some of those classes, but you will be stronger for it.

  9. So I work a crappy 2nd shift job, and toastmasters and martial arts are primarily in the same schedule. Can’t afford to take a lower paying first shift job.

    I did toastmasters once, one best extemporaneous speaker my first time there. I know I have the talent for it – heck, my dad gave me Carnegie’s book as a child. But I just don’t see how I can do it on my schedule.

    I know I got to figure this out, but damned if I ain’t smart enough to do so.

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