Interpersonal communication skills: 6 killer ways to improve them

Interpersonal communication is what happens when we communicate face-to-face. Simply put, it is called “people skills” because we use it when we talk and collaborate with others.

However, it is not just about what is actually said. It is also about how it is said and the non-verbal messages sent through tone of voice, facial expressions, gestures, and body language.

When two or more people are in the same place and are aware of each other’s presence, then communication is taking place.

Communication happens no matter how subtle or unintentional it is. So people also receive messages through your non-verbal behavior such as your posture and facial expression.

Interpersonal skills are inherent to us but we can also acquire them through our experiences. These skills are necessary to turn goals into a reality.

For one, good interpersonal communication makes tough decisions easier to resolve. It also helps show your intent verbally and visually so people can easily understand you more.

There are many benefits of having great interpersonal communication skill, especially in the workplace.

Here are 5 ways interpersonal communication skills can impact your overall success in life:

1. Interpersonal communication skills teach you to work smarter

Contrary to what others say, hard work doesn’t always count especially in the workplace. It is because your boss cares more about visible skills than hard work.

So instead of working harder, it is wiser to work smarter. Be smart: work smart!

Involve yourself in high-investment tasks and interpersonal communication. But this doesn’t mean you can chat with everybody instead of doing your job.

Deliver the results fast and find ways to spend that extra time you saved by utilizing these interpersonal communication tips.

For example, you can look for opportunities to show the team what you’re worth. When someone can’t deliver the results and you want more responsibility, then go for it!

If it goes great, you can talk to the boss that you can be assigned to similar tasks in the future. But if the opportunity is more work than it’s worth, just do an excellent job on other tasks and put your name on it.

2. You can make more friends

If you want high-level rewards, it’s good to show a healthy amount of confidence and exchange thoughts over lunch.

Talk about something you like to improve your end-of-day mood but don’t forget to listen to what others say. Remember that communication is a two-way street.

Use your breaks, lunches, happy hours, and team-building sessions to collaborate and grow your reputation. Just start the conversation with other people or invite a few like-minded individuals to a happy hour, perhaps making it a weekly thing. In turn, they will see you as friendly and a good leader.

You’ll also learn to make quality friends, rather than making fake ones.

Avoid bringing up work too often during “happy hour” but talk more about what you like to do outside of work. This is a surprisingly effective way to build networks you’ll need for future projects.

3. Good interpersonal communication leads to higher pay and promotion

Strong interpersonal communication skills to build lasting relationships with co-workers and clients. If you show your good interpersonal skills to your bosses, they will get a better picture of what you’re like as an employee. It will leave a lasting impression on them.

Show your boss how invested you are in the company. People who lack interest and drive tend to display worse interpersonal communication skills.

Good communication skills will help show your boss that you did a good job – it can even get you an interview for a promotion!

4. Strong interpersonal communication skills can leave a strong first impression

Making a strong first impression is as important as ever, especially when meeting face-to-face. – Joseph Abboud

A strong first impression can help you land your dream job. But it doesn’t end there – it will affect your job and your ability to achieve general goals for years to come.

If you give a smile, a strong handshake, a good statement of introduction, and a display of interest will help tell people more about you than an interview could.

First impressions last so it is very important whether you are dating or being interviewed. Beyond that, you can still prove a lot more, but many recruiters say this is most important.

Never forget that you only have one opportunity to make a first impression – with investors, with customers, with PR, and with marketing. – Natalie Massenet

5. It will make people fall in love with you

“You cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.” M. Scott Peck

People who have satisfying relationships have strong communication skills. In the work setting, they are more likely to gain leadership roles. It is because possessing good interpersonal skills mean letting your best qualities shine without hesitation when you interact with others.

Both romantic relationship and work-related stuff need good interpersonal communication to prosper. You can practice introductions and collaborations in and outside the workplace which will enhance your skills.

Interpersonal communication can help you find love AND success. You’ll also be able to read people and understand them.

With these points in mind, it is now clear that we need good interpersonal communication skills to foster a healthy work and romantic relationship.

Fortunately, there are a number of universal tips that can help you improve your interpersonal skills, including the following:

1. Acknowledge other people

It’s not about YOU, it’s about THEM.” – Clint Eastwood

Possessing good interpersonal communication skills means that you focus on other people and the exchange of ideas and feelings in face-to-face settings.

You are not there to impress or instruct.  Do not monopolize the conversation but practice a give-and-take flow of the conversation.

If you will not listen to others, it can damage the relationship. Always give someone your full attention when they speak.

2. Be compassionate

“Compassion and tolerance are not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength.” Dalai Lama

Being compassionate to others is an important trait we must all work to further nurture, both in ourselves and in others.

If you see that your workmate is having a hard time, it doesn’t hurt to reach out to them. Ask them how you can help or you can just listen to their troubles.

Even the simplest act will let them know you are there for them. It doesn’t need to be a grand gesture, it is all about the small, intimate acts of kindness we extend on a daily basis.

3. Take an interest in others

We’re often too concerned with our own problems and difficulties to pay much mind to others.

The next time you think about opening your mouth to complain or vent, try asking the person you’re interacting with how they’re doing.

Ask them about their hobbies, their passions, their interests. Get to know people on a deeper and more fulfilling level.

If you want to connect with others, you’ll need to make the effort to express an interest in their lives.

4. Ask questions

One key feature of good interpersonal communication skills is asking questions. When you gather facts and inquire about feelings, it makes the person feel that you are listening.

Think before you speak and try to ask insightful questions.

Asking questions means you care enough to want to extract more input from a person. Even if it is an awkward first impression moment or small talk at dinner, asking questions is a great way to get to know about someone.

Develop the skill of asking follow-up questions. An example is when you ask someone, “Where did you go to college?” you can follow up with the question, “Why did you pick that school?’

It will make the person know you are engaged in the conversation because you are digging deeper with follow up questions.

5. Listen actively and purposefully.

Genuine listening is different from giving the illusion of listening. To practice good interpersonal communication skills, it should be the former not the latter.

Listening genuinely involves observing and taking in non-verbal communication to gauge emotions. If you speak more, complement it by listening more.

6. Give attention to non-verbal communication

According to Peter F. Drucker, the most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said. In fact, almost every facet of our personality is revealed through our appearance, body language, gestures, facial expressions, demeanor, posture, and movements.

According to the communication model of Albert Mehrabian, the verbal impact of communication only accounts for 7% of your overall message. The bulk of communication comes across in our appearance and body language which comprises 55% of the whole. Tone, speed, and inflection of our voice make up the remaining 38%.

Simply put, this is anything besides words. When you listen, notice the tone, gestures, physical proximity, facial expressions, and body language of the person.

Final thoughts:

Interpersonal communication involves both words and non-verbal cues. So next time you are in a conversation with someone, try to give a gentle touch and a warm expression.

By enhancing your interpersonal communication skills, your job and relationship satisfaction will increase because you will form stronger bonds with the people around you.

Interpersonal Skills New College Graduates Need to Have

Spoiler Alert: They Don’t Teach You These in College

If you have finished college or are about to finish college, congratulations! All of that hard work and effort feels like it should pay off in a new career or advancement, but this is usually the part where more work is required to find that new career.

And it can take a long time if you rely on your college-obtained knowledge alone.

These days, employers are looking for smart, capable, and coachable people who can take ownership of a role and make it into something great.

But that means having skills that allow you to interact with other people, understand and empathize with customers, and much more. Interpersonal skills can improve your chances of getting hired, keeping your job, and going further in your career than if you rely on your college smarts alone.

Here are the interpersonal skills employers are most interested in for 2020 and why you need to have them.

1) You need to be self-confident.

You can read all the self-help books you want, but if you don’t have confidence in yourself, you’ll never try applying that information.

Taking courses on public speaking, communication, and even business won’t help you be more self-confident.

The problem with college graduates is that they find confidence in their degree or diploma but there’s no real-life skill set acquired from attending classes.

You need to double down on something else that gives you confidence. Focus on how smart you are, but don’t focus on grades.

Smart is about being capable. Be capable to be confident.

(To learn more about self-love and techniques to believe in yourself, check out Hack Spirit’s ultimate guide: How to Love Yourself: 15 Steps to Believing in Yourself Again)

2) You need to have a strong work ethic.

Work ethic is one of those elusive things that every employer asks for but nobody knows how to instill it in people.

In previous generations, work ethic was defined as showing up early and staying late, but the definition has changed.

New graduates will see a work ethic in a different way and need to adhere to whatever the work ethic is of the company you want to work for – so ask. What is the work ethic like in the company and start working on that.

3) You need to be able to hold your own during the conflict.

Conflict doesn’t always have to be negative and in fact, can produce some amazing results for people who are trying to improve themselves or their companies.

If you want to get hired, you need to be able to handle conflict when it arises or have the courage to speak up when things aren’t going as planned.

4) You need to be open to criticism.

Criticism is one of those things nobody wants to deal with, but it is a must if you are going to work with others or for others.

You might as well just get used to having someone tell you what’s working and what’s not working. You don’t have to agree, but you do have to get on board with the process of hearing people out.

5) You need to be able to read body language – okay, they might teach you this one in school.

Sure, they might teach you non-verbal communication skills in college, but if you don’t pay attention to the different people around you and how they are using body language to communicate, all that fancy schooling won’t matter anyway.

Start with yourself: study how you use your body to show up in the world and how your communication comes through your hands, arms, legs, face, eyes, and voice.

6) You need to be able to collaborate with other people.

A must-have for any new graduate is collaboration skills.

Where once the corporate scene was about climbing the nearest ladder as fast as you can all by yourself, work has evolved to be about teamwork.

If you aren’t a team player, you’ll want to work on that before looking for a job.

Even better, join some groups or community organizations to get practice working with other people. If you aren’t working right now, you’ve got all the time in the world anyway. Make it count.

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