Interpersonal communication skills are essential soft skills for career success. To be successful in your career, you need to communicate with other people effectively. In addition, these skills can help you build strong relationships with your colleagues, clients, and customers. But what are the most important interpersonal communication skills? In this article, we will discuss the definition and elements of interpersonal communication and the ten must-have interpersonal communication skills.
Interpersonal communication is the process of exchanging information and ideas with others, and it is essential for establishing relationships, building trust, and resolving conflicts.
For example, imagine that you disagree with your colleague. Interpersonal communication skills can help you resolve the conflict positively. By using effective communication techniques, you can communicate your feelings and concerns to your colleague clearly and respectfully. This will help you maintain a positive relationship with your colleague, and it may even improve the working environment at your company.
If you want to be successful in your life and career, you need to develop strong interpersonal communication skills.
Interpersonal Communication Skills
Interpersonal Communication Skills are the ability to communicate effectively with others to establish good relationships and solve problems. It involves listening to what others say, understanding their perspective (even if you disagree), and responding in a way that shows respect for their opinions.
Effective interpersonal communication is essential because it enables you to build strong relationships, resolve conflicts, and create a positive working environment.
Interpersonal communication could either be verbal or non-verbal. Verbal includes the use of written or spoken words. Non-verbal communication translates to the use of gestures, body language, paralinguistic cues, dressing, eye contact, facial expressions, non-word expressions, tone of voice, and so on.
Examples of Interpersonal Communication Skills
Yesterday, Jane spoke to Collins. Today, Philips will learn how to write a cover letter from Collins. Right now, I am writing to you. If I were to encapsulate all these into a phrase, I would say those scenarios were examples of interpersonal communication.
According to research, we use non-verbal communication more than verbal communication. With non-verbal communication, “not speaking” is communication itself. So yes, your silence can mean a lot to the other person depending on how it is perceived, and it can mean something reasonable to you depending on your intentions.
Elements of Interpersonal Communication
Jane picked up the telephone and asked Collins, “How are you?” Collins replied, “I am fine. Thank you.” That is an example of interpersonal communication, right? Now, some communication elements work together to arrive at a successful process of interpersonal communication. What are these elements? See them below.
1. The communicators
For any interpersonal communication to occur, there have to be two or more people involved. This has been explained in the interpersonal communication definition. Therefore, the parties involved are referred to as communicators.
Their classification is as follows: the sender and the receiver. The sender is the one who originates the message/information/idea and sends it to someone else. And the other person who receives the message and acts on it is the receiver. In this case, Jane and Collins are the communicators.
2. The message
Remember, we have discussed that communication could be verbal or non-verbal. This means that the message does not have to be word of mouth only; it could also be in the form of gestures, facial expressions, and so on.
The message is the information, idea, or instruction passed from the sender to the receiver. It is often said that the meaning of words resides in the receiver. However, messages may mean different things to the sender and the receiver. This may be the effect of noise, context, and other factors. The message is in the above example, “How are you?”.
Anything that distorts the free flow of interpersonal communication is noise. The noise could be technical, semantic, or psychological, as the case may be.
Examples of noise include the use of complicated or ambiguous words, the emotional state of the communicators, cultural differences, environmental noise, and so on.
This entails the receiver’s response to the message he receives from the sender. At the point of giving the feedback, role reversal takes place. The receiver becomes the sender, and the sender becomes the receiver.
Feedback could likewise be verbal or non-verbal. About the example given earlier, “I am fine, thank you;” was the feedback from Collins.
The context of communication influences the message and the whole communication process. The context could be social or situational. Situational context refers to the place the interpersonal communication is taking place. For example, in the office, in the room, etc.
The social context includes the status of the communicators, past relationships between the parties, and so on. Of course, you would realize that you cannot communicate with your employer the same way you do with your colleagues.
This is the physical means through which communicators can exchange messages. The channel could be a microphone, telephone, vision, or speech. In the case of the above example, the phone is the channel.
Jane picked up the telephone and asked Collins, “How are you?” Collins replied, “I am fine. Thank you.” That is an example of interpersonal communication, right? Now, some elements of communication work together to arrive at a successful process of interpersonal communication. What are these elements? See them below.
10 Must-Have Interpersonal Communication Skills
Interpersonal communication is “communication between two or more people.” To have successful interpersonal communication, you need to have the following skills. The interpersonal skills below are general skills that employers would value in you.
1. Speaking Skill
The speaking skill includes your ability to speak clearly and effectively and your vocal tone and delivery.
For example, the wrong selection of words and tone may mean an entirely different thing to the receiver. That is why speaking is a skill. However, not everyone can speak for a long time.
When giving a public presentation, you need to be clear and concise in your speaking. You should also project your voice so that everyone in the room can hear you.
2. Conflict management skill
This means your ability to handle and manage misunderstandings and disagreements.
For example, in a team meeting, if you and another team member disagree about a project proposal, you need to be able to manage the conflict effectively. Conflicts are not harmful unless they become messy. You need to be open to understanding others’ arguments and finding the best option that can benefit the organization.
This is the ability to identify with other people’s emotions and show concern for their feelings. The ability to understand and share the feelings of another. This skill is essential for building relationships. If you can put yourself in someone else’s shoes, you will be able to understand their perspective better.
Example: Your co-worker just received a bad performance review from their manager. You should express empathy by saying, “I’m sorry to hear that. I know you’ll work hard to improve your performance.”
4. Leadership Skill
Indeed, one must prove that they are exceptional and can drive a group to achieve the set goals and objectives of the group. Leaders are not born but groomed. Leaders have followers who know how to get the best out of them.
Example: Your team is behind schedule on a project. You need to take charge and be a leader by rallying the team together, setting deadlines, and motivating them to finish the project.
5. Listening Skill
This is your ability to understand what the other person is saying and your tone and body language.
According to a study carried out by Wright State University, workers who listen well could show their commitment, trust, and cohesive bonds to their workplace.
Example: Your boss tells you that they want you to work on a new project. But instead of just hearing the words,
6. Negotiation Skill
A good negotiator could be a good problem solver and will be able to harness other people’s ideas, filter them and arrive at the best results.
Example: You’re negotiating with a supplier to get the best price on materials for your project. You need to be able to negotiate effectively to get the best deal.
7. Positive attitude
All employers want their employees to be friendly and have the right attitude towards work. Same with employees too. When you have a positive attitude towards work, it would birth significant commitment and lead to success at work.
Giving positive reinforcement is an excellent way to motivate employees and show their appreciation for their hard work.
Example: You’ve been working on a project for the last few weeks, and you’re finally finished. You should celebrate your success by having a positive attitude and thanking all team members. Even if a project fails, recognize the efforts of the team members.
A good team player would motivate the group, resolve any conflict quickly and effectively, that may be, communicate ideas well to achieve the goals of the group, collaborate with others to achieve the set goals, and give accolades to the entire group.
Example: You’re working on a project with a team of people. You need to work well with the other team members and collaborate to get the task done.
This means not being rigid in your ways and methods. Instead, you accommodate other peoples’ ideas and adjust to new opinions if they are good ones.
Example: You’re working on a project with a team of people. You need to work well with the other team members and adjust to their ideas.
Everyone deserves a little bit of respect. One must realize this and deal with others with respect, love, morals, and humility.
Example: You’re working with a team of people. You need to work well with the other team members and respect their opinions.
Importance of Interpersonal Communication Skills
Interpersonal communication skills are the essential traits you use while interacting with others. Therefore, as we need to communicate and we must communicate, we must also master some interpersonal communication skills.
Effective interpersonal communication skills have a wide range of usage. It is essential across relationships, workplaces, family, and friendships, among other areas of life. Some key points are described below to show the importance of interpersonal communication skills.
1. People Management & Leadership
It is not so easy to lead a team. There may be a lot to face as a group leader or even an ordinary team member.
To achieve the aim of a team, proper interpersonal skills are necessary. And this is where interpersonal communication skills prove their importance. You may have come across team leaders or managers who do not know how to communicate well. You can testify that their lack of interpersonal communication skills has left a negative imprint on the group’s performance.
We all need to master interpersonal skills if we want to have great managerial and leadership prowess.
2. Conflict management
In essence, conflict is unavoidable in life and the workplace. It must always happen, but it doesn’t have to be messy. The problem is not the inevitable emergence of conflict but how we handle it. This is when the importance of interpersonal skills is realized.
When conflicts appear, their disappearance may be due to having excellent interpersonal skills. You need the ability to speak and convey your ideas to the conflicting parties. Master your interpersonal skill well for this.
3. Personal relationships
Building personal relationships will influence your inner peace. It leads to the smooth execution of duties making the workplace enjoyable. Thus, it also ensures the achievement of the workplace’s mission and vision.
When you build healthy personal relationships, you can ensure good mental health. All these are dependent on how well you can harness your interpersonal communication skills in building and maintaining personal relationships in your life.
It is being said that “a problem shared is half solved.” There are times when you may face some problems in your place of work. How well you can communicate these problems to well-meaning people may determine how soon the problem will be solved. You need the help of others in society as well.
As the saying goes, “no man is an island.” Some people live alone in the desert or wherever. Still, somehow, they need other living things to survive. So, no matter how you want to think about it, you will arrive at the inescapable conclusion that nobody can survive on their own.
Through the use of interpersonal communication skills, individuals tend to come together to brainstorm and debate. Their cooperation and contributions will make them solve the problem at hand.
5. Achievement of business goals
In the place of work, communication could be horizontal or vertical. The horizontal line of communication is done between or among individuals of the same level in the organization. The vertical line of communication happens to start from individuals of higher ranks to those of lower classes.
All lines of communication must yield effective results for the parties involved and should help achieve the workplace’s business goals. And interpersonal skills could be employed to make this happen.
The presence of good interpersonal communication at home or office makes the environment lively, open, and enjoyable. It is a matter of emotional intelligence. Such an environment is motivating by itself. The effect of this is that they would work better to ensure the organization’s success.
According to a survey carried out by the American Psychological Association (APA), 51% of Americans said they felt valued by their employers through recognition of their efforts, and this recognition has led to better job satisfaction and performance.
When your beliefs and knowledge result in repetitive and regular activities, then gradually, it becomes your habit. If you want to master anything, you need to make it your routine.
When you develop interpersonal communication skills, it will impact your habits positively. You will find out that you naturally make your life, relations, and work more enjoyable.
As an educator, you need to be a role model showing interpersonal communication skills. Interpersonal communication skills can be taught to students in a variety of ways:
Set up scenarios for the student.
For example, invite a guest speaker and ask them to describe how she uses interpersonal communication skills in her profession or daily life.
Another way is to have a class discussion with examples of successful interpersonal communication. This will improve the listening skills of the students.
Have a class discussion on Interpersonal Communication Skills and their importance in career success. Then provide them with examples to make it clear what you teach.
Provide online activities for self-study where they can practice communication skills.
There are several essential skills for successful interpersonal communication. For example, speaking, listening, negotiation, critical thinking, creativity, emotional intelligence, and problem-solving.
To develop such skills, you need to learn about them from any good resource available and then practice regularly. Naturally, this will be proceeded by practicing what you have learned. After all, practice makes perfect. To help you, some online courses have been suggested below with links to their web pages.
1. Interpersonal Communication: How to Win Clients and Influence Teams
2. Interpersonal Communication 101
3. Advanced Management Skills Training: Become an effective manager, using actionable steps and hands-on projects to maximize learning with your personal business coach!
As you already know the definition, examples, elements, etc., you have the necessary foundation. To improve these soft skills, you need to practice them regularly from this point. Here are some tips on how to improve your interpersonal communication skills.
1. Start with listening. Be a good listener with the ability to understand verbal and non-verbal communication with empathy and critical reasoning.
2. Be honest with your words, don’t lie or try to manipulate people. This will lead to better speaking skills and better relationships.
3. When you communicate, ensure that it is clear, whether written or verbal. Remember, the meaning remains in the mind of the receiver. So, craft your communication as per your audience.
4. Be aware of your body language and the non-verbal cues you send out when communicating with others. For example, you can say a lot even when you are silent.
5. Pay attention to people’s reactions and respond accordingly. It’s not your fault, or it’s not theirs – rather, these are the factors of effective communication which lead to successful communication.
6. At last, practice makes perfect! So, keep practicing your interpersonal communication skills regularly for better relationships at home, work, or in social circles.
Interpersonal communication skills are necessary for interpersonal relationships and team building. The following communication skills are required to build a solid and effective team:
– Active listening
– Critical reasoning
– Empathy, love, and respect toward others
– Friendly and positive attitude in dealing with one another
Communication skills can be developed with practice, patience, and self-awareness.
You should do this by keeping the interpersonal skills you are describing relevant to the job being applied for. Take a look at the following examples (for those applying for managerial positions):
– A motivated individual who can motivate others through solid leadership communication.
– Able to work with others as part of a team.
Firstly, during the interview, show that you have good interpersonal skills by practicing them while answering the interview questions. Do the following:
1. Articulate properly
2. Convey information and ideas clearly to show your communication skill
3. Listen attentively to the interviewer
4. Give brief and fluent answers
5. Practice non-verbal communication skills like maintaining eye contact, being conscious of your body language, etc.
To explain your interpersonal skills, clearly state them, and give examples to show that you practiced them in various situations. For instance, you could say something like this after stating that you have good grammar skills:
“My co-workers ask me to help them check documents for errors before submission.”
Interpersonal communication skills play an essential role in the life of a student. If you have good communication skills, you can easily interact with people. You will be able to understand the lectures and instructions from teachers easily.
Student life is the best time in life to build long-lasting friendships. Having good interpersonal communication skills will provide you with emotional intelligence. That will make you likable, and you will be able to make good friends.
We all engage in interpersonal communication – consciously or unconsciously. That is why it is essential to know the importance of interpersonal communication.
For example, a study by the Center for Creative Leadership revealed that leaders with strong interpersonal communication skills are:
– More likely to be promoted
– Better at networking
– Rated more highly by their employees
So, it is clear that having good interpersonal communication is very important for managerial performance.
Why is communication inescapable or inevitable?
Communication is the process of conveying information to one or more recipients directly or indirectly in various forms. The word “Communication” can be used in different contexts, and it can also be classified into three different types as it is immaterial, physical, and virtual.
Communication in Life
Communication has been an inescapable, inevitable human activity as long as we have been human beings. This is because communicating is a way of solving problems in a complex world. Even if a problem is insurmountable, there is value in creating a shared understanding of the problem to be better managed in the future.
Communication is essential because it’s a part of what makes us human: We cannot calculate our way out of every situation, and if we’re going to cooperate, we have to be able to reason together, argue together, negotiate together, know each other’s backgrounds, and think about the ways our ideas and experiences are related.
Communication at Work
Communication is inescapable or inevitable at work because of the value it creates. Many people forget about the pillars of success, and of teamwork is what allows any company to excel. Communication allows people to interact with each other so they can compete with better ideas rather than depending on one genius to fix every issue that comes up.
Communication is also easier than ever; we live in a day where communication is faster and smarter, people are now more creative in ways to talk to each other, and even emojis have helped us become more creative because of how creative people are becoming now. In addition, communication creates an exchange of ideas needed to make sure the company is making money, and thus, a lot more money will be made.
In conclusion, Interpersonal communication skills are essential in life, work and education. They help us to interact with people quickly and understand them better. Interpersonal communication skills also allow us to build solid relationships and be successful in our careers. Therefore, it is essential for everyone to develop Interpersonal Communication Skills.
Thank you for reading! I hope this article has been helpful. 🙂
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