Interpersonal skills are the qualities and behaviors that a person uses to interact with others properly. In businesses, interpersonal skills refer to the employee’s ability to work well with others while performing their job. This range from communication and listening to attitude and deportment. If you have strong interpersonal skills, it means that there’s a higher chance for you to be accepted in many positions in an organization.
However, interpersonal skills are not learned solely from books because they come naturally to some people, while others need to work and cultivate them. Others describe interpersonal skills as social intelligence because it relies on paying attention to the actions and speech of others and interpreting them to form a response. Even though interpersonal skills are based, in part, on an individual’s personality and instincts, they can also be developed with experience and knowledge.
If you think your interpersonal skills are not strong enough and you want to improve them so you can advance in your career, then we’re here to help you. Today, we are going to give you ways on how you can improve your interpersonal skills.
1. During Conversations, Practice Active Listening Skills
Whenever you have a conversation at work, you need to be mindful of what the other person is talking about. You can try to repeat what they say in your own words to make sure that you understand. When you show people that you are listening actively, you will be able to foster a better working relationship as well.
2. Make Your Coworkers Know When You Appreciate Them
It actually feels good when you know that the people you work hard with appreciate all your efforts. But instead of keeping your appreciation to yourself, you should also let others know that they did a good job and you appreciate them as well. When people feel appreciated, they will be more motivated to keep up the good work.
3. Cultivate a Positive Outlook
If you want to improve your interpersonal skills, you need to teach yourself to be positive. You can do this by reminding yourself of the good things about your life and about your job as well. If you’re feeling down about something, you need to set those feelings aside until after work. And if you are feeling stressed about a work issue, you always need to look for the positive in the situation, and you can try to build on that.
4. Control Your Emotions
Always remember that work is not the place to be overly emotional. Even if you are extremely irritated, depressed, or very happy, you need to tone down your emotions. Take a deep breath and express yourself calmly and patiently.
If you always feel like anxiety is taking over you slowly, it is important to talk to a doctor about anxiety.
5. Practice Empathy
You can also improve your interpersonal skills by putting yourself in other people’s shoes. This will help you gain a well-rounded view of things and develop empathy for others. This will go a long way in finding solutions that work for everyone involved.
6. Stop Complaining
It is really unappealing when a person constantly complains and whines about everything. Remember that a complainer is always viewed by others negatively. Therefore, if you want to improve your interpersonal skills, you need to stop complaining. If you have dissatisfaction and want to verbalize it, save it for the appropriate time and people. Do not do it in the office or at work. You can just verbalize it privately to your family or close friends or write it down in your journal.
7. Make Sure to Communicate Clearly
When communicating at work, avoid overusing metaphors and other languages. Make sure that you are always clear with what you want to say. Also, think before responding to anything, especially during company or client meetings and manage your anxiety during public speaking. Do not just blurt out the first thing that comes into your mind. You need to learn to construct ideas properly and effectively before speaking your mind.
8. If You Have Disputes, Settle Them Fittingly
When someone is problematic in your workplace, you do not need to bring the issue up in front of the whole office or company. You need to speak to the person personally and explain why you find their actions problematic. Remember that it is the worst to speak about the issue to other colleagues behind their back.
9. Do Not Be Afraid to Be Funny
You also need to have fun while working. Feel free to laugh at situations and make witty jokes with your workmates. You can actually use your humor to lower barriers and get people to be more comfortable with you and with each other. You just have to make sure that your jokes are not inappropriate or harmful.
10. Always Smile and Use Positive Body Language
Remember to always maintain a happy and positive attitude. In the office, greet your workmates with a smile. Doing this will make them feel that you are approachable, and they will become more comfortable when they are with you. Always smile when interacting with others. Your smile might brighten up someone’s day as well.
Importance of Body Language in Interpersonal Communication
We do not converse only with our words; we take help from our body language to convey what we say. It is the most crucial element of interpersonal communication. People employ body movements, nonverbal cues, gestures, and the tone of their voices to get their message across. Looking for these body cues, understanding them, and appropriately responding is the crucial part of mastering interpersonal communication.
Albert Mehrabian, in 1981, asserted with his study that body language accounts for about 55% of effective communication. Based on this principle, improving our interpersonal skills majorly require mastering the understanding and perception of others’ body language. For instance, you can gauge a person’s confidence from how they walk in for an interview and talk their minds out.
Since body language in communication is primarily unconscious, mastering its understanding can make you successful in your interpersonal communication.
Moreover, sharpening your interpersonal skills relies not only on listening intently and empathetically. It also involves communicating your message as clearly as possible. This is where your accurate body language and nonverbal cues come in.
Successful interpersonal communication relies on being as unambiguous as possible. The more you clearly get your message across, the more successful your conversation. It is essential to take help from various body cues, such as your tone of voice depicting your emotions or your body language reflecting your interest in the conversation.
Some Body Language Tips for Active Listening
- Keep your gadgets at bay when listening to others.
- Avoid checking your watch or mobile phone while listening to others. It reflects your lack of interest in the conversation.
- Do not turn your head away from the speaker and make eye contact directly.
- Another crucial body language cue to show interest is to lean forward towards the speaker. It shows that you are paying attention.
- Hold an open body posture, nodding periodically so that the speaker knows you are still attentive and listening. Open body posture is a sign of openness and accessibility.
- Relax your hands and feet and emanate a sense of openness to listening. It invites more conversation, and people love it.
- If there is any barrier between the people engaged in conversation, remove it for a more effortless flow of dialogue. Barriers also cause distraction during conversations which do not leave a good interpersonal impact.
- Looking elsewhere while a person is talking to you is considered rude and reflects your lack of interest. Do your best to appear interested and listen actively.
These are the 10 ways you can do to improve your interpersonal skills. These skills are important, and they form an integral part of your professional toolbox. You can use your interpersonal skills, from collaborating on a project with a colleague to communicating with an important stakeholder. When you have strong interpersonal skills, you will be able to have the confidence, empathy, and communication skills to make the most of every interaction at work.