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What Is Interpersonal Communication?
Interpersonal Communication refers to the exchange of information, feelings and ideas between/among two or more individuals. You would realize that interpersonal communication is one of the essential topics we should talk about since we all engage in it – consciously or unconsciously.
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 am to encapsulate all these into a phrase, I would say those scenarios were examples of interpersonal communication.
Interpersonal communication could either be verbal or non-verbal. Verbal includes the use of written or spoken words. Non-verbal translates to the use of gestures, body language, paralinguistic cues, dressing, eye contact, facial expressions, non-word expressions, tone of the voice, among others.
According to research, we use non-verbal communication more than we use verbal communication. With non-verbal communication, “not speaking” is communication itself.According to research, we use non-verbal communication more than we use verbal communication. With non-verbal communication, “not speaking” is communication itself. Click To Tweet
Importance of Interpersonal Communication Skills
I am sure you now know the interpersonal communication definition. It is now pertinent that we discuss the importance of interpersonal communication skills. Indeed, its importance is not far-fetched. the fact that we cannot do without communication has established its relevance.
Interpersonal communication skills are the essential traits you use while interacting with others. As we do need to communicate and we must communicate, so we must master some interpersonal communication skills.
Interpersonal communication skills have a wide range of relevance. It cuts across relationship, workplace, family, friendship, among others areas of life. Let us leave out the fact that you need to communicate; generally, there are a lot of people in your workplace. You need to work together with other people in your workplace. In this wise, you need Interpersonal communication skills. Hence, the need to discuss its relevance in the workplace:
- Perfect management and leadership skill:
It is not so easy to lead a team at the place of work. There may be a lot to face as the leader of a group or even being an ordinary team member.
To achieve the aim of a team, proper interpersonal skills are necessary. And this is where interpersonal communication skills prove its importance. You may have come across team leaders or managers who do not know how to communicate well. You can testify to the fact that their lack of interpersonal communication skills has left negative imprints on the performance of the group.
All of us need to master interpersonal skills if we want to have perfect managerial and leadership prowess.
- Conflict management:
Even, lovers and family members quarrel. So, won’t it be abnormal if employees don’t?
In essence, conflict is unavoidable in your workplace. It must come to place. Yet, it is the ways through which we manage the conflict that matters most. This is then the importance of interpersonal skills.
When conflicts appear, its disappearance is in the hand of interpersonal skills. You need the ability to speak and convey your ideas to the conflicting parties. Master your interpersonal skills well to acquire this.
- Personal relationships:
Building personal relationships in the workplace is good. It leads to the smooth execution of duties. It also ensures the achievement of the workplace’s mission and vision.
When you build healthy personal relationships, then you are on the verge of being a good team player. All these are in the hands of how well you can harness your interpersonal communication skills in building and maintaining personal relationships in your workplace.
It is being said that “a problem shared is half solved.” There are times in which 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 may be solved.
Through the use of interpersonal communication skills, individuals in the place of work tend to come together to brainstorm and debate. Then their contribution will proffer solutions to the problems at hand.
- Achievement of business goals:
In the place of work, communication could be horizontal or vertical. The horizontal trend of communication is the one done between or among individuals of the same level in the organization. The vertical trend of communication is the communication from individuals of higher rank to those of lower classes.
All communications must ensure achieving the business goals of the workplace. And interpersonal skills could be employed in making this.
- Employee motivation and recognition:
A perfect use of the interpersonal skills could mean that employers would be able to motivate their employees to work better. Also employers will recognize employees’ efforts towards the progress of the workplace. The effect of this is that they would work better to the success of the organization.
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.
Elements of Interpersonal Communication
Jane picked up the microphone and asked Collins, “How are you?”, Collins replied, “I am fine. Thank you.” That is an example of interpersonal communication, right? Now, some elements do work together to arrive at a successful interpersonal communication. What are these elements:
- The communicators:
For any interpersonal communication to come to place, there have to be two or more people. This has been explained in the interpersonal communication definition. These individuals are being referred to as the communicators.
The 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.
- The message:
Remember, we have discussed that communication could be verbal and non-verbal. This means that the message does not have to be words of mouth only; it could also be in the form of gestures, facial expressions, among others.
The message is the information, idea, or instruction passed across from the sender to the receiver. It is often said that the meaning of words resides in the receiver. Messages may mean different things to the sender and the receiver. This may be the effect of noise, context, among other factors. In the above example, “How are you?” is the message.
Anything that distorts the free flow of interpersonal communication is the noise. The noise could be technical, semantic, 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.
This entails the response of the receiver to the message he receives from the sender. At the point of giving the feedback, role-reversal takes place. That is, the receiver becomes the sender and the sender becomes the receiver.
Feedback could likewise be verbal or non-verbal. As above, “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, among others.
The social context includes the status of the communicators, past relationships between the parties, among others. Of course, you would realize you cannot communicate with your employer the same way you relate to your colleagues.
This is the physical means through which the communicators can exchange messages. The channel could be a microphone, telephone, vision or speech, among others. In the case of the above example, the microphone is the channel.
10 Must Have Interpersonal Communication Skills
I have earlier mentioned that all areas of life need interpersonal skills. Even your workplace needs those. And it is well understood that there exists work diversity. Below interpersonal skills are general skills all employers would value in you:
- Speaking prowess: Ability to carry your audience along and pass across meaningful messages to them.
- Conflict management: This means your ability to handle and manage quarrels in the workplace.
- Empathy: This is the ability to identify with other peoples’ emotions and show concern for their feelings.
- Leadership: Indeed, one must prove that he or she is exceptional and can drive a group to achieve the goals and objectives of the group.
- Listening: It is being said that active listening is effective leadership. 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.
- Negotiation: A good negotiator could be a good problem solver and will be able to harness other people’s ideas, filter it and arrive at the best results.
- 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 so lead to success at work.
- Teamwork: A good team player would motivate the group, resolve any conflict that may be, communicate ideas well to achieve the goals of the group, collaborate with others to achieve the set goals and give the accolades to the entire group.
- Flexibility: This means not being rigid in your ways and methods. You accommodate other peoples’ ideas, adjust to new opinions if they are good ones.
- Courtesy: Everyone deserves to a little bit of respect. One must realize this and deal with others with respect, love, morals and humility.
If you want to be successful in life and in your career, you need to develop your Interpersonal Communication skills. Understand the elements of effective communication and gradually improve your communication skills.