We, humans, in a lot of ways, are similar as well as different. There are many ways in which we can be differentiated from one another. Among those, differentiating from each other’s characteristics is one of the most common ways. It is because our characteristics define us and make us unique from each other.
Moreover, our characteristics include our soft skills or interpersonal skills. We can also compare these to our behavioural skills. Some exist due to exposure to a particular environment, while others are there due to specific genes.
In addition, interpersonal skills are so crucial that even experts strongly believe that people with better interpersonal skills tend to be more successful. This should come as no surprise because one who works better in groups or teams, communicates well with family, friends, colleagues, clients, and customers tend to do better.
Do you want statistics to help you believe and understand better? If so, here you go.
Therefore, if you don’t want to be among the 60%, I am sure you will be happy to hear that people can improve interpersonal skills with practice, effort, and time. And if you already have good interpersonal skills, I am sure it wouldn’t hurt to take it to the next level.
Table of Contents
What is Interpersonal Communication?
In simple words, interpersonal communication is just communication between two or more people face-to-face, either verbally or non-verbally. It can be sharing information, ideas, feelings, emotions, or thoughts.
Verbal communication is, as the name suggests, passing messages to someone through spoken words. In other words, it is talking to people orally.
On the other hand, non-verbal communication is the exact opposite. It still involves passing messages, but no words are involved.
The most known methods are facial expressions, gestures, body language, tone of voice, eye contact, and posture.
Am I missing anything else? Hmm, I guess that is all.
Non-verbal communication is such that it occurs all the time. There will be many cases when you are not verbally communicating with someone, but non-verbally you are.
There can also be cases where you will be having verbal and non-verbal communication at the same time with one person. That, to be honest, is hard to keep up for longer if you intend to!
Moreover, it may seem simple, but there is a lot you can learn about the person you are talking to by just noticing their facial expressions, body language, gestures, and tone of voice. All these are the non-verbal messages that they sent out while communicating.
Through these messages, you can identify their emotional state, personality, and how they intend to deal with others.
Importance of Interpersonal Communication
Interpersonal communication can easily be used as a tool, especially when hiring, but surprisingly it is overlooked by many applicants. Applicants mainly focus on building and showing up with a fancy resume, showcasing their technical skills. But they don’t realise that their interpersonal communication with their hiring manager will also play a huge role.
To put this into statistics, as mentioned earlier, more than 60% of employers reported that applicants are not showing enough sufficient interpersonal skills in their interpersonal communication to be considered for their role/job. A significant amount, right?
There are a lot more places that will bring your interpersonal skills into play. The list is long, so long that I don’t want to bore you with it. So long that it is safe to say you need it everywhere, in every stage of your life. And as far as interpersonal skills, it will bring you only good, good of all sorts!
What are Interpersonal Skills?
Interpersonal skills are skills that one needs to interact, communicate, and work with other individuals or groups effectively. In other words, they are known as social skills. When you put them into use, the process is called socialization.
Here is a list of some interpersonal skills :
- Verbal Communication
- Written Communication
- Non-verbal Communication
- Showing respect to other people
- Having great attitude
- Cooperating with everyone
- Good sense of humour
- Managing relationships
Verbal communication is when you are talking, conversing, intonating, or even making audible sounds like “hmm” or “ouch!”. This is directly involved in social interaction in our everyday life, and this medium of communication is one of the best ways to judge a person.
Besides, intonation refers to the rise and fall of your voice in tone as you speak.
Intonation is such that it can easily change the meaning of what you are saying.
For example, the phrase “see ya” can have many meanings and can be taken in many different ways depending on the intonation used. It can either be sarcastic, friendly, frustrating, or boring.
Written communication is when a message is sent through letters and symbols. The most used form of written communication is text messages, emails, memos, and reports.
Written communication is best used for expressing and sharing lengthy information with people. This is because it is harder to forget the information as you are just one read away.
Expressing your emotions is also possible by using specific words or emojis. We all got to agree that adding emojis to written communication is one of the best things ever!
Written communication is a more serious form of communication, especially when we are talking about legal validity. Think about paper works for your business or property. It is all written communication there.
Listening is something we all do every time, and it is appreciated really well if you do it well. But, even though we do it a lot, it is something that many people are bad at. Now you might wonder, how can someone be bad at listening?
The answer to this question depends on how you define listening. There is active listening on one side, and there is hearing on the other. We all do hearing well as it is something involuntary and listening is when you concentrate and hear something.
As mentioned earlier, listening is something not many excel at, but it won’t eat up much of your time to be good at it like the other forms of communication.
All you have to do is become fully engaged and focused on the person who is speaking to you. Make eye contact and answer or ask questions of any sort if you have any. You will be surprised to know how much easier it is to listen once you chip in the conversation, even if it is by a small amount.
Now we have arrived at the most fascinating form of communication. Non-verbal communication doesn’t include much of your intended actions as it is mostly involuntary, and you have the least control over it.
However, it can be the most revealing, especially to the people who take reasonable notice of a person’s body language, gestures, posture, tone of voice, and facial expressions.
Improving this skill will consume a lot of your time, but it is all worth it. People who are good with non-verbal communication are the only ones who can tell the number of advantages they have over people without these skills.
They come in handy, especially when you are giving speeches, volunteering, or applying for jobs.
If you talk about a superpower among the interpersonal skills, then chances are high this could be it. Understanding the feelings of people is called empathy. Empathy is such a superpower that the people who possess it can also make a living.
Okay, all jokes aside, having empathy will help you develop strong bonding and relationships with other people easily. Plus, who doesn’t appreciate someone with more empathy?
The best way to develop empathy is by placing yourself in other people’s shoes. In that way, you will know how it feels to be in that situation. You will know what you expect to hear from someone, you will know how you want to be treated, and many more.
It is another difficult skill to acquire, but all the time and effort is worth the outcome.
Showing Respect To Others
Respect is something that you need to give others; only then will they respect you back. Being polite in every situation possible is perhaps the best way to show respect.
You can also show respect by being kind, thankful, affirming, and helping people in whatever way they need.
Showing respect will get you a lot more than respect. People will tend to be more friendly, loving, caring, kind, and helpful to you. All in all, respect will get you only friends and no enemies.
Having a Great Attitude
It is not only about having a positive attitude, but it is also about showing and expressing a positive attitude. It will make everyone around you and yourself live in a positive environment, feeling happier, closer, and satisfied with their lives.
This skill will be of immense help if you want to be a people person. It is because everyone loves being around someone who has a great attitude, since they spread positivity. Not only that, you can motivate yourself along with others, you will be stress-free along with others, you will have more productivity along with others.
This will also make your life a lot better and easier, as you will know how to see the good in every bad and appreciate even the tiniest of things.
Cooperating With Everyone
Cooperating works best if you are doing community service, working in a team at your workplace, or anything that involves teamwork. It results in more efficient work in less time if done correctly.
There are a few things that you need to keep in mind. Firstly, everyone should get a chance to share their ideas and thoughts. Secondly, everyone should get their own space and pace to work because not everyone is the same and prefers to work in the same way. And thirdly, motivate and encourage yourself and others in reaching goals.
One of the best interpersonal skills to have is patience. It is also a very rare skill, and not many possess it. Patience can be eye-opening in many ways.
For success, we need patience as success doesn’t come overnight; it takes years and years. And we are sure we all remember Aristotle’s quote on patience “Patience is Bitter, but its Fruit is Sweet.” That is the best way to put it, to be honest.
Furthermore, patience can shape you for everything, such as:
- Help you focus on your long-term goals
- Look at the bigger picture
- Make people love you
- Have a healthy mind
- Stay down to earth
- Bring inner peace
- Possess a positive attitude
- Be more empathetic.
The list goes on and on and on, but I am sure you got what I meant. The ideal way of having more patience is thinking about the good in everything and waiting for more good to happen. Additionally, it will also help if you take your time with everything and not rush.
Humour, humour, humour! Man, do we need humour, you saw it coming. Humour is such a skill that it might just get you anything you want if you know how to use it correctly.
Speaking of the right ways, one kind of humour is called aggressive humour. It means, usually, making fun of or mocking others. This is the only kind of humour we would suggest staying away from as far as possible. Well, unless you met your childhood bully.
They deserve it! Nevertheless, humour can also do wonders for people around you. I mean, why wouldn’t it?
We all like to stay with people who make us laugh most of the time because we not only spend quality time with them, but we are always left wanting more.
There is literally not a single person who has excellent humour and doesn’t have many friends. It is just impossible. Because people with a great sense of humour just get their way around people.
Can Humour Be Taught?
One question that roams around is that if humour can be taught, many people think it is natural. It is hard not to disagree on that because there are people with terrible humour, and they seem to be trying too much, and then there are a few that can make you laugh even with the stupidest of things.
However, the answer is Yes because humour is a skill, and skills can be learned at the end of the day. The best way to learn humour is by not trying to be someone you saw on your TV or in the stand-up comedy show last week. You have to be you.
It may not sound well, but trust me, if you try to be someone else, you will be among those who try too much. Remember, everyone has their way of expressing humour.
We all are not the same. Your humour will be different to mine, and mine will be different to someone else’s. The chain goes on and on. That is why it is best to be yourself. And with time and effort, humour will be your sidekick in no time. And trust me when I say humour is the best sidekick.
Yes, having good interpersonal skills will give you lots of friends and people to hang out with, but you will make sure you don’t lose them or come to wrong terms with them.
So how do you manage not to lose any of your friends or family or anyone with whom you are on good terms? Well, you will need to learn to manage them. Managing relationships is not a specific interpersonal skill, but a skill that requires other interpersonal skills.
Interpersonal skills like Empathy, Cooperating, and Patience will come into play. You will also need politeness and be ready to sacrifice a bit.
Identify What You Have & What You Don’t.
Identifying whether you are good at something or not is sometimes difficult. It is because you have to be your judge and stay unbiased. However, in the case of interpersonal skills, it isn’t that complicated. So let’s start with how you are going to realise whether you have good interpersonal skills or not.
You can start by counting how many people you know and how many you are friends with. After that, understand what your relationship status is with all of them. Then, how do you get along with them compared to how you would like to get along.
If this doesn’t help you much, it is always better to ask the people near you. Ask the ones who are always honest to you, no matter what. Their opinion will be more powerful because what they say will be similar to what other people think of you. Once you get that off your way, it is time to know which skills among the mentioned ones you have or lack.
Among the interpersonal skills that we mentioned, check with yourself and find out which skill you excel at and which you don’t. Once you have the list of interpersonal skills, you want to improve at, start with the easiest one and work your way up.
How to Improve Your Interpersonal Skills?
Improving your interpersonal skills will take both time and effort, so you have to stay patient. Well, patience is also another interpersonal skill. So this brings me down to say again how essential these skills are!
To have a good set of interpersonal skills, you will need to be good at many interpersonal skills. As I was saying, you will need both time and effort, so prepare yourself to invest a good amount of both.
How do I track my progress? You will come to know if you are improving because if you do improve, you will feel that people genuinely like your behaviour and respond well to you.
Furthermore, you can tell your closest people to be in charge of checking your progress every now or then. Convince as many people as you can. The more, the merrier.
By the way, as far as keeping your close people in charge goes, you will be improving your interpersonal skills as you are improving interpersonal skills. Don’t know about you, but I like the sound of that!
There are no doubts about how essential interpersonal skills are in our life. They bring so many new opportunities in your life, so many jobs you can apply for. However, the actual value is known only by the one who doesn’t possess them.
Besides, if you wish to make your transforming process easier and want a compressive guide on what you need to do, feel free to enrol in the Developing Interpersonal Skills Course provided by JohnAcademy. This course will cover everything from soup to nuts.
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