Interpersonal skills are important for communicating and working with groups and individuals in your personal and professional life. Strong interpersonal skills will help you gain allies and simultaneously demonstrate to your supervisor that you’re capable of bringing out the best in others. And that's a key aspect of career advancement. In this article, you'll learn what interpersonal skills are, why they are so important, and how you can improve your interpersonal communication skills.
What Are Interpersonal Skills?
Interpersonal skills, also known as interpersonal communication, exchange information between two or more people. Interpersonal skills are the social graces that help people communicate positively and are essential for future success, especially in careers involving relationships like sales or teaching.
Interpersonal skills are considered soft skills, which include personality traits, people skills, and communication skills. Unlike hard skills, soft skills are generally not learned in professional training programs and are usually innate or gained through personal development. A person with strong soft skills usually has great communication skills or a strong work ethic.
Some examples of soft skills that require interpersonal skills such as:
● Mentoring: Coaching one or more people
● Communication: Conveying ideas effectively through verbal and non-verbal means
● Leadership: Leading and assisting others by example
● Problem Solving: Resolving personal, group, and business conflict
● Negotiation: Coming to an agreement with others when opinions differ
● Empathy: Understanding individuals in the workspace
● Teamwork: Working together with various people to achieve a single goal
Why Are Interpersonal Skills Important?
Many employers try to hire staff with strong interpersonal skills because these individuals often work well on teams and collaborate with their colleagues effectively. People with interpersonal skills also tend to make good leaders because of their ability to communicate with and motivate those around them.
Also, when interviewing two equally qualified job seekers, hiring managers and recruiters will likely pick the more likable candidate they see collaborating well with people in the office. People with strong interpersonal skills are also adept at problem-solving, conflict management, and navigating different workplace personalities and situations. Employees with strong interpersonal skills help maintain a positive and harmonious work environment.
How To Improve Your Interpersonal Skills?
Improving your interpersonal skills can take some time and effort, but it's worth it. By making an effort to be a better communicator, you'll strengthen your relationships and build a foundation for success in all areas of your life. To improve your interpersonal skills, consider the following tips:
1. Evaluate Your Interpersonal Skills
If you want to improve your interpersonal skills in the workplace, firstly undertake a self-assessment. A great place to start is an online assessment, which will help you to think in deeper concrete terms about how skilled you are in interpersonal relationship building and communication.
By completing a self-assessment, you can then plan what you need to do to develop your interpersonal skills further.
2. Observe Others
Another way you can learn and develop good interpersonal communication skills by observing other personnel. You can follow your co-workers, company leaders, and professionals whom you admire and respect greatly. For example, watch and listen to how they communicate and what their body language is when they are speaking.
Take notes on details such as their voice tone, speaking speed, body language, and how they engage with others. After that, apply those features to your own interactions and relationships.
3. Keep Calm
Letting anxiety, anger, or other strong emotions over your conversation will often lead to less effective communication. Think about the last time someone yelled at you. Most likely, their words meant less than if they had said the same thing calmly. The best form of communication comes from calm conversations. If you struggle to stay calm, practice breathing techniques when you notice yourself beginning to get more anxious or angry.
4. Cultivate a Positive Attitude and Work Environment
Try to be always positive and avoid the negative talk. Interpersonal relations will always flourish in an environment that is positive and encouraging.
Always say a good word to others, even when you don't like them. Interpersonal skills development is all about communicating effectively with different people and being selected by them.
Keep the environment around you motivated and positive to develop interpersonal skills. Interpersonal relations flourish best in positive and encouraging environments, which is why it's essential always to say something nice even if you don't like the person.
5. Keep Interactions Focused
Try to keep your interactions with others as focused as possible in the workplace, whether you are communicating with a colleague, a supervisor or customers and clients. Often, this means omitting the potential distraction of devices such as smart phones and other screens. This may also be a beneficial practice because many employers prefer team members refrain from personal media consumption while at work.
6. Offer Empathy
Showing compassion and understanding is another good way to improve your interpersonal skills. Try gracefully mirroring others' ideas to show you're interested in them and that you understand their perspective. This can help support more pleasant and productive interactions.
7. Recognize others' Expertise
A good way of building trust at work is to let colleagues know that you value their skills. Show this by asking for their help on certain tasks and projects. Also, let them know when they've done a good job so they understand that they're appreciated.
8. Attend Classes and Workshops
Signing up for workshops or courses can help you improve your interpersonal skills more effectively and in a short time. There are many tools, such as free introductory videos, available online that you can watch. However, more advanced or in-person training is a bit expensive.
9. Get a Mentor
Ask an individual you respect or admire to help you improve your interpersonal skills. Your mentor could be a trusted colleague, a current or former employer or professor, a family member or anyone else you think highly of. You might even hire a professional career or communication coach.
10. Record Yourself
Use a video or voice recorder to tape yourself speaking, then watch or listen to it to identify where you can improve your communication skills. Note things you would like to change or develop, such as your tone of voice, speed of talking, expression, word choice or use of gestures. Take recordings periodically so you can assess your progress.
Recommended Reading: 9 Ways to Make You Stand Out at Work (Effective Advice)
Interpersonal skills may seem like a simple concept as it essentially involves just speaking with others but as you can see there are many factors to be aware of. With these ten tips, you can develop your interpersonal skills and be a better communicator. The people around you definitely will notice the difference in how they are treated by you and feel more at ease when cooperating with others.
It's important to practice these skills whenever you can as the best way to improve is by applying them as much as possible. Please share this post to help someone else learn how to improve their communication skills!