Interpersonal communication skills are essential in creating success, and they’re so simple to learn.
What are interpersonal communication skills?
‘Interpersonal communication skills’ is another way of saying ‘people skills’. In other words, they are the skills that we use every day when interacting with others. We use them in communication, collaboration and coordination, and a lot of the time we don’t even notice.
The fact we don’t notice them makes it difficult to notice when they may not be very strong, but we always notice when they aren’t as strong in others. Therefore, others will always notice when they are not as strong in you.
Practicing and mastering your interpersonal communication skills is a sure-fire way to boost your success in work and in your personal life. They can help you to communicate with those above you, as well as to collaborate with your peers. It’s a simple matter of practice and understanding certain cues.
There are two types of interpersonal communication skills: silent and conversational.
Probably one of the most important of all interpersonal communication skills is patience. No employer wants to have to deal with troublemakers, and no colleague wants to work with the one who constantly loses their cool.
This skill does not have specific cues; it simply takes practice. Keeping a level head in heated situations can be difficult. It helps to take a deep breath and focus on the outcome that will benefit you the most and act accordingly.
Allow the other person to say their piece and respond in a respectful way. Employers will be much more appreciative of those who can keep their cool in stressful situations, and peers will be much more willing to collaborate with you.
Not only that, but patience in your personal life will achieve much more positive outcomes in relationships with family and friends.
2. Active Listening
Active listening isn’t just paying full attention to who is speaking, but also what is being said. Although it can be easy to get distracted and bored through long meetings, practicing active listening will be endlessly beneficial.
- Eye contact
- Verbal Affirmations
- No distractions
The best way to practice interpersonal communication skills such as active listening is to practice. Put away all potential distractions. Put your phone in your bag and keep it silent. Pay attention to what is being said and, at the end of a meeting or conversation, summarise it to yourself to make sure you understood.
3. Positive Body Language
Boredom and disinterest will be easy to read through your body language if you are not careful. So, even if you are bored and disinterested, make sure you don’t show it.
- Open, relaxed posture
- Eye contact
- No distractions
- Folded arms
- Looking around
- Checking the time
Positive body language shows that you are interested in what is being said by a superior, but also makes you much more approachable to peers and employees.
Combining positive body language with active listening is the key to success.
4. Verbal Communication
Verbal communication is essential in all areas of life. The ability to communicate, or lack of ability, can make or break a presentation, and even change the route of a conversation.
When presenting information, make sure that you know and understand your material. Prepare for the presentation and make sure that you make plenty of eye contact and speak slowly and clearly. Presentations require confidence and relaxation, so the better you know your stuff, the better you will come across.
In conversations, have a friendly disposition, ask questions and clarify any information you have to offer. Allow yourself to relax and be clear when you speak. Don’t forget to make eye contact and practice that all-important positive body language.
5. Relating to Others
Relating to others is the most underestimated of all interpersonal communication skills. Nobody likes to feel as though they are being patronized by a boss or college, so if you are in a position of power, take note.
You do not always have to agree with someone, but situations where disagreements arise, the ability to relate to others is especially important. Make sure to stay patient and let them know that you understand their position or opinion, but that you simply disagree with it.
If you have to give orders, do so in a respectful manner, and don’t underestimate how far a ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ will get you!
Interpersonal communication skills are some of the most basic communication skills that we use on a daily basis. So much so that we don’t think about how important it is to practice them. As you can see, all of these interpersonal communication skills connect to one another, so it can be easy to forget all of the skills we need to use in different situations.
The more you practice, the easier it will be to understand the skill the situation calls for and the more successful your interactions will become.
If you are looking for success in your professional or personal life, interpersonal communication skills are a very simple tool to help you achieve it.
By Francesca F.
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