Interpersonal communication is the process of sharing both ideas and emotions verbally and nonverbally with another person. It allows us to interact with and understand others in our personal and professional lives. In the workplace, hiring managers often look for employees with strong interpersonal skills who will collaborate and communicate well with their colleagues.
Interpersonal skills fall under the soft skills umbrella. We use Interpersonal skills when interacting and communicating with others to help start, build, and sustain relationships.
Six Interpersonal Skills that are important at Work:-
1. Verbal Communication: Your ability to speak clearly, confidently and appropriately for the situation can help you communicate effectively with others. Choose the correct tone and vocabulary for your audience. Example: speak formally and professionally during meetings and presentations. Avoid using complex or technical languages when trying to explain things or when talking to customers.
2. Active Listening: Active listening is the ability to pay full attention to someone when they speak and to truly understand what they are saying. You are engaged with the speaker and show that by giving verbal and nonverbal responses, including eye contact, nodding and smiling. Ask and answer questions to show that you are listening and interested. It can also encourage colleagues to share their ideas and collaborate.
3. Non-Verbal communication: Your posture, expression and gestures can say just as much as your words. When communicating with co-workers and managers, be aware of your nonverbal cues as much as what you say. Gestures like nodding, smiling and being relaxed are all signs that you’re listening to someone and are engaged in the conversation. This said, avoid other gestures, expressions and posture such as crossed arms, restless behaviour and shifting your eyes.
4. Empathy: Empathy, also known as emotional intelligence, is the ability to understand others’ emotions, needs and ideas from their point of view. People who are empathetic have awareness and compassion when communicating. Empathy in the workplace can be good for morale and productivity and can help prevent misunderstandings between employees. By showing empathy, you are more likely to gain your colleagues’ trust and respect.
5. Conflict resolution: You can use your interpersonal communication skills to help resolve issues and disagreements in the workplace. This might involve skills such as negotiation, persuasion and understanding both sides of the argument. Listen closely to everyone involved and try to find a solution that benefits all of you. Good conflict resolution skills can lead to a more positive and collaborative work environment. They can also earn you respect and trust from your colleagues.
6. Team Work: Groups of employees who can communicate and work well together have a better chance of success and achieving common goals. Do so by offering to help your co-workers when needed and asking them for their feedback and ideas. When team members do give their opinions or advice, listen and react positively. Be encouraging and optimistic when working on projects or in meetings.
Tips for Enhancing Interpersonal Communication at the Workplace:-
Improving your interpersonal communication skills can significantly impact your success at work. Some tips to help you enhance your communication abilities:
– Be Clear and Concise: Avoid jargon and convoluted language. Be clear and to the point in your communication.
– Choose the Right Medium: Use the appropriate communication channel for your message. Not all information needs to be shared in a meeting; sometimes, a quick email suffices.
– Listen Actively: Pay attention to what others are saying, and show that you are engaged. Ask clarifying questions to ensure you understand.
– Use Positive Body Language: Maintain eye contact, use open and friendly gestures, and project a positive attitude through your body language.
– Mind Your Tone: The tone of your voice can greatly affect how your message is received. Speak in a tone that matches the content of your message.
– Be Empathetic: Try to understand the perspectives and feelings of others. Empathy is key to building trust and strong relationships.
– Provide Constructive Feedback: When giving feedback, focus on the issue, not the person. Be constructive and offer suggestions for improvement.
– Practice Cultural Sensitivity: In diverse workplaces, be aware of cultural differences that may impact communication styles and expectations.
– Manage Conflict Effectively: Address conflicts as they arise and seek mutually agreeable solutions. Avoid blame and focus on resolution.
– Continuous Improvement: Communication is a skill that can always be improved. Seek feedback, attend workshops, and read books on communication to enhance your abilities.
In conclusion, interpersonal communication skills can help you be productive in the workplace, build strong and positive relationships with your colleagues and complete team projects smoothly and effectively. The benefits of good interpersonal skills can affect the morale and productivity of your entire team or department