What Are Interpersonal Skills and How To Improve Them

What are interpersonal skills? It is the people skills that you and I use every day to communicate and interact with others at a workplace, in a team meeting, in relationships and pretty much everywhere and anywhere.

These skills are one of my top criteria to use when evaluating employees’ performance and future candidates during the interview process. Not everyone has it but it is one of the skills that you can and must learn to develop and improve to stand out from the crowd and gain success both professionally and personally.

Perhaps, on some level, we take for granted these interactions. In some cases, they are pretty automatic and proceed without difficulty. The teacher in the classroom has a set way to respond to certain queries. The mother, as well, has a certain parenting philosophy which might make some of her responses almost predictable.

But, if we could become more conscious and effective in our interactions with others, bringing about greater clarity, calm and a genuine sense of connection; would that not be a worthy pursuit?

The workplace gives a lot of emphasis to interpersonal skills. Spending over 10 years in the Corporate environment, I can honestly say from observations and conversations with my mentors and colleagues, these are skill sets that people don’t put emphasis on plus their lack of understanding of its powerful impacts on their careers, businesses and most importantly personal relationships.

Being able to work as part of a team and/or facilitate the team effort as the leader is very important to many companies. And, as an employer, how you communicate with your employees, inspiring and motivating them, can directly impact the sense of wellbeing of the entire company, as well as the future productivity.

In this article, we will study the science and art of interpersonal skills, what they can tell us about ourselves and the world we inhabit and the courses we can take to improve them.

What Are The Benefits of Having Strong Interpersonal Skills and Its Effect on Self-Esteem?

  • People are attracted to us and as a result, they are more inclined to seek our advice and confide in us than those who lack in these skills set.
  • Solid ability to communicate effectively, with warmth and clarity become a marvelous asset that can help us in all area of our lives.
  • Become a strong leader, a great negotiator and an influencer
  • Exude a sense of confidence, quiet authority and most importantly charisma.

One can define self-esteem as a confidence and satisfaction in oneself where another defines it as a realistic respect for or favorable impression of oneself; self-respect.

Self-respect is so crucial to how we carry ourselves. When we respect our own natural integrity and intuition; when we understand ourselves to be innately worthy of that respect for self and others, we exude a natural confidence that is not overbearing and invites others to express who they are, as well. This is obviously part and parcel of a high degree of skillfulness in the interpersonal department. Thus, we can say that self-esteem and interpersonal skills are highly interconnected and intertwined.

Desirable Interpersonal Skills of Likeable People

Demonstrate Vulnerability – People who have a high level of self-confidence has no fear of defeat, however, they are willing to accept their faults and correct them. Nelson Mandela was an anti-apartheid revolutionary, philanthropist, and politician. He was his country’s first black head of state and served as president from 1994-99. He came to this position during South Africa’s first fully representative democratic election. His government tackled institutionalized racism and fostered racial reconciliation in an effort to dismantle the legacy of apartheid.

Can you imagine the interpersonal skill, the emotional wherewithal, it took to accomplish all of the above; the ability to see from another person’s point of views? In 1993, both Mandela and then-president de Klerk were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts toward dismantling apartheid. This is a global recognition of the incredible skill he had in the arena of human connection, understanding, and negotiation.

Look for An Agreement and Open Minded – We human are very guilty to always look for faults in others and never in ourselves because of our close-minded toward any topics that make us feel uncomfortable. Likeable people are those who looks for common ground where solutions are found thanks to their ability to ask the right questions and to listen before talking.

Oprah Winfrey, the queen of talk show stardom, has brought so much to dialogue and compassionate sharing and all that can be accomplished through an effective interpersonal skill set. Her talk show extended from 1996 to 2011 and her empathetic and conversational ability to connect with people from all walks of life was beyond impressive.

Her ability to truly listen, to ask the right questions, to be appropriately assertive when necessary, to be empathetic and bring folks of diametrically opposing points of view together in a civil manner, to show a sensitivity and respect for each person were marked and remarkable. Though most of us do not operate on a world stage visibly, certainly we can all learn from her example and apply it in our own lives; bringing about greater civility, connection, and kindness.

Knowledge Sharing and Offer A Helping Hand – Most of us don’t share knowledge because we’re afraid that others will do better, unfortunately, that is not the case. Working with Directors and VPs for the past decade, what I know is the more I share, the more I learn and the more I get invited to meetings where my opinions are valued by top executives. Knowledge is power and helping others with what you know, you will be surprised how much you will learn about yourself.

Jim Rohn is my number one motivational speakers who weren’t afraid to share what he knows that help millions of people achieve their dreams. His philosophy on life is so simple yet most of us won’t do it. Why? Because we don’t want to change, changing what we are comfortable with and how we use to do things are risky. Our attitude and our laziness of learning new skills put us in the 98% of the population where our potentials are being wasted.

Don’t you ever met someone and said to yourself, “I would do so much if I have that skills or his/her life.” I mean don’t wish for things, share what you know and help others and someone else will do the same for you.

The 10 Must-Have Interpersonal skills

Verbal Communication – Here is emphasized the need to speak with clarity and this can involve simply slowing down and expressing with more thoughtfulness. Sometimes this involves pausing before answering a question, thus proceeding in a more considerate manner.

Non-Verbal Communication – So much can be communicated non-verbally. It is a largely underestimated in terms of its impact. Nonverbal communications can express confidence and can reinforce what is being said verbally. And, if something could come across as less than tactful verbally, the non-verbal could express this more successfully.

Listening – Without effective listening, how can one understand and respond appropriately? This is a crucial element in the interpersonal skill set.

Questioning – Asking the right question can lead to so much discovery and connection. It is not only a way of obtaining information but can lead to other areas of commonality and interest.

Manners – Proper etiquette is very important in today’s global economy. And, this knowledge helps support successful interpersonal skills.

Problem-Solving  Learning a creative and methodical approach can be very helpful.

Social Awareness – Being empathetic and aware of other’s emotions is an essential interpersonal skill.

Self-Management – There is such value in learning to manage one’s emotions and remaining composed.

Assertiveness – Being appropriately assertive is important. Standing up for what you believe and having confidence in your ideas can evoke respect.

Now, the question might be asked at this juncture, not what are interpersonal skills, but rather how do we improve in the interpersonal department? We all know people who have a natural handle on how to approach and connect with everyone from infants to the elderly as well as across the career spectrum. Unfortunately, not everyone is so naturally inclined. Then, how do we go about developing these skills?

How To Improve Interpersonal Skills?

If you are willing to learn, you will grow and approach life gracefully with the right balance of skill that is shareable among those you care for. Here are the courses that I recommend you give them a try as your starting point in strengthened your interpersonal skills. They are affordable and you can study them anywhere you please.

Conversation And Communication Mastery

Cost: $25
Length: 2.3 Hours/12 Lectures
Benefit: You will know how to communicate more effectively, clearly and directly. It will enable you to quickly and easily produce more authentic, genuine and long lasting relationships at home, in the office, at parties and even with a romantic interest.

Social Styles: Understanding & Applying Interpersonal Skills

Cost: $55
Length: 3.3 Hours/28 Lectures
Benefit: Though this course is intended for those who want to improve their interaction with others, with a focus on the workplace but it also helps participants reduce conflict, improve communication skills as well as your personal interaction with others.

10 Soft Skills You Need To Be Successful

Cost: $80
Length: 1.5 Hours/34 Lectures
Benefit: Ideal for professionals, managers, and leaders who want to improve their soft skills as they climb the career ladder. It includes meditation as part of the training which is amazing as it calms your mind and body to think better.

Interpersonal Skills Improvement Plan

Cost: $80
Length: 3.3 Hours/28 Lectures
Benefit: Ideal for anyone interested in improving their interpersonal skills either as part of their personal or professional development plans.

Build Healthy Relationships using Emotional Intelligence

Cost: $125
Length: 2 Hours/48 Lectures
Benefit: People who wish to understand themselves better and communicating with other people with more impact. It forms part of a comprehensive course that explores emotional intelligence in more depth.

If You Have The Will, You Will Improve

So, where does this bring us? What are interpersonal skills? We have learned that interpersonal skills might come naturally to some but it is definitely a skill set which can be learned and refined.

So no more blaming your parents for not passing down the good genes and envy those who have amazing charismatic characters, because you too can have that. So to the introvert amongst us, this is possible and don’t give up because repetition is a mother of all skills.

Interpersonal skills are recognized by the business world as very important and something to be sought, recognized and encouraged in leadership positions, as well as amongst employees. It can impact the bottom line and make for a happier workplace. But, whether inside an office or at the playground with fellow parents as the children play, interpersonal skills are relevant. And, how parents interact is certainly noticed by their children.

My final thoughts? Having a balance in anything will allow you to deal with life. Thus understanding the nature and the importance of interpersonal skills will help you approach challenging situations more gracefully without offending those around us whether in the workplace or at home. So cheers to you for wanting to better yourself.

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