Note: I have decided to put my efforts into my End Procrastination class for the moment. In the meantime, I created a blog post that sums up my thoughts: http://areteinstitute.wordpress.com/2012/02/04/social-skills-for-geeks/
On to the original description:
I've spent most of my life equating "being social" with "being fake," and I didn't want to have much to do with either. I had a few intense friendships and little beyond that, and that was fine by me.
But my attitude was a bit of a problem when I entered the working world. I am a teacher and a project manager for a living: people kinda need to feel comfortable working with me. My early anti-socialness led people to think I didn't like them, that I didn't want to work with them, and that they were probably better off without me. My occasional awkwardness led people to think that I wasn't just unsure what to say next but that I probably didn't actually have anything worth saying anyway. One day I received the feedback that it was a shame that something so simple was holding back my career; and I decided, deliberately and carefully, to figure out how to socialize in a way that didn't feel like an act.
In my class, I will teach you what I have been able to figure out through experience and observing others. We will workshop skills involved in having casual but genuine social interactions at networking events or with your coworkers. We will focus on:
-How to start a conversation with anyone
-First impressions--you can dress like a fourteen year old if you want, but make the choice to, rather than doing it by default
-Listening--much more important than talking. But active listening involves more than looking at someone when they speak.
--The common fears of socializing and how to deal with them
You will walk away with a self-diagnosis of what's stopping you socially, a lot of practice in starting conversations and active listening skills, honest feedback from others on your first impression, and a summary pamphlet of the techniques described in class.