“The skills you need and use to communicate and interact with other people.”
Interpersonal skills are the life skills we use every day to communicate and interact with other people, both individually as well as in groups.
People who are constantly working on developing their strong interpersonal skills are usually more successful in both their professional and personal lives.
Through Interpersonal Communication Skills which includes Active Listening one can learn to develop Building Rapport and Persuasion Techniques.
Interpersonal skills are also referred to as social skills, people skills, soft skills or life skills. They include a wide range of skills, but particularly communication skills such as listening and effective speaking. In addition to the above, they also include the ability to control and manage our emotions.
It is no exaggeration to say that interpersonal skills are the foundation for success in life. People with strong interpersonal skills tend to be able to work well with other people, including in teams or groups, formally and informally. They communicate effectively with others, whether family, friends, colleagues, customers or clients. They also have better relationships at home and at work.
Interpersonal skills can be developed by developing awareness of how we interact with others and practising on them.
Interpersonal Communication Skills include:
1. Verbal Communication – WHAT WE SAY & HOW WE SAY IT! It is the use of words to share with other people. It can therefore include both spoken and written communication. The verbal element of communication is all about the words one chooses to use and how they are heard and interpreted.
2. Non-Verbal Communication – WHAT WE COMMUNICATE WITHOUT WORDS! Body Language, Tone, Gestures, Rhythm, Pitch play a colossal role.
3. Listening Skills – It is how we interpret both the verbal and non-verbal messages.
4. Emotional Intelligence – It is being able to understand and manage one’s own and others’ emotions.
5. Team-Working – It is being able to work with others in groups and teams, both formal and informal.
6. Negotiation, Persuasion and Influencing Skills – It includes working with others to find a mutually agreeable result. This may be considered a subset of communication.
Importance of Interpersonal Skills
Interpersonal skills does matter in our lives.
In the course of our lives, we have to communicate with and interact with other people on a daily basis. Good interpersonal skills ‘lubricate the wheels’ of these interactions, making them smoother and pleasanter for all those involved. They allow us to build better and longer-lasting relationships, both at home and at work.
Good interpersonal skills help you to communicate more effectively with family and friends.
This is likely to be particularly important with your partner/companion. For example, being able to give and receive feedback effectively with your partner can help to resolve small problems between you before they escalate into big issues.
We may not like to think about it, but we almost certainly spend more time with our colleagues; than with our people at home!
At work, we are required to communicate with and interact with a wide range of people, from suppliers and customers to our immediate colleagues, colleagues further divided, into a team and manager. Our ability to do so effectively can make the difference between a successful working life, and one spent wondering what went wrong.
There are, of course, some jobs in which interpersonal skills are particularly important.
Customer-facing roles, such as Sales and Customer Relations Management; Corporate Sectors which focus on Training especially; Corporate Training, Soft Skill Training, etc in which good interpersonal skills are a prerequisite. However, there are a number of other less obvious jobs and careers where interpersonal skills are also vitally important. These include:
1. Healthcare provision, including doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals. Being able to listen to, and talk to, patients and their families is an essential skill, as is being able to give bad news in a sensitive way. We almost take these skills for granted in healthcare professionals—but we also know how devastating the situation can be when these professionals have poor skills and fail to communicate effectively. For example: Sharing the death news: “Mr. Kukreja is dead!”
2. Financial advice and brokerage. Financial advisers and brokers need to be able to listen carefully to their customers, and understand both what they are saying, and what they are not articulating. This enables them to provide recommendations that match their clients’ needs. Poor interpersonal skills mean that they will find it harder to build good customer relationships, and to understand customer needs.
3. Computer programming and development. This area is often thought of as the ultimate territory for ‘geeks’, with the assumption that interpersonal skills are not essential. These individuals are considered not to be having any empathy, emotional intelligence or feelings of any sort. However, technical developers increasingly need good interpersonal skills to understand their customers, and to be able to ‘translate’ between the technical and the practical.
Good interpersonal skills are the foundation for good working and social relationships, and also for developing many other areas of skills. It offers a plethora of opportunities in various sectors; be it in the Learning and Training or in the Corporate Sector. It is therefore important spending time developing good interpersonal skills.