What Are Interpersonal Skills and How Can You Develop Them?

Last updated on April 4th, 2023

What Are Interpersonal Skills and How Can You Develop Them?

During everyday interaction and communication with others, people use their interpersonal skills to develop strong professional and personal bonds with each other. Although interpersonal skills include a wide range of skill sets, effective communication, good speaking skills, and adequate control over one’s emotions stand out.

There is no exaggeration in the argument that people with strong interpersonal skills are more likely to succeed in life. They have durable personal and professional relationships as well as big achievements in every walk of life. A person with good interpersonal leadership skills is likelier to be promoted than his colleagues. He can close more deals, win over a sizable number of suitable clients and pitch his offer or proposal more effectively. 

This article will cover all aspects related to communication and interpersonal skills and their importance. How to improve interpersonal skills? How to develop interpersonal skills? All of these questions will also be answered with some examples of interpersonal skills.

What are Interpersonal Skills?

In short, interpersonal skills include a set of behaviors, emotions, and tactics that a person uses to communicate and interact with others efficiently. A person is always using these skills, whether consciously or unconsciously, at home, the workplace, and other social gatherings.

However, in the business landscape, interpersonal skills define the ability of a person to work, communicate and interact with other employees, executives and customers effectively. These good interpersonal skills also involve an individual’s social intelligence and people skills. Interpersonal skills in the workplace may also include a person’s ability to receive and detect social signals from others and interpret them to create the most efficient response.

Why are Interpersonal Skills important?

Interpersonal skills are important for individuals’ proper growth and success in their personal and professional lives. They help people become proactive in whatever they do and develop long-lasting relationships with others. A person with good interpersonal skills manages to secure his place in every social gathering and event. He is able to make more reasonable and effective decisions and excels in every field he walks into.

For different types of audiences in events, gatherings, and conferences, a person may need a different set of soft and interpersonal skills, but the overall foundation of interacting and communicating with others remains the same. A person with good interpersonal skills is a problem solver. He manages to make good decisions not only for himself but also everyone involved in his routine tasks and activities. Employers prefer to hire employees with strong interpersonal skills because such people can work effectively in teams and collaborate on projects related to each other. Good interpersonal skills having team members enjoy superiority over others in terms of promotion and other perks. They are rewarded with leadership roles as well as they can not only manage and run their own routine activities effectively but also the whole team under them.

Examples of Interpersonal Skills

Interpersonal management skills are crucial in all professions and other areas of life, and one can sense their need and requirement in almost every routine activity. You can understand the different categories and types of interpersonal skills through the following examples.

Interpersonal Skills for Management

Managers usually provide their employees with all resources, training, and instructions to complete their jobs on time. However, a strong managerial position may require a sophisticated set of interpersonal skills to help a manager perform his job duties efficiently.

Communication is one of managers’ and leaders’ most desired interpersonal skills. A good manager must be clear, unambiguous, and effective in communication so that his commands and instructions can be followed easily. He must be effective in non-verbal and verbal communication as well. He should be an active listener to receive constructive feedback from his subordinates and employees.

A good manager has qualities like honesty, integrity, and confidence. He should be able to micro-manage his employees’ tasks and job duties through consistent feedback and transparency. He should also be self-aware and selfless to achieve his company’s goals in a productive manner. He must have compassion and empathy for his workers.

Interpersonal Skills for Social Work 

If a person is a social worker or is willing to work on social welfare tasks and activities, he must have some specific qualities and interpersonal skills to succeed at his job. One of the most important factors is that he must be organized in all his responsibilities and job duties. He should not miss deadlines and procrastinate. His negligence and poor time management may result in negative outcomes for him, his business, or his clients.

One of the most desired interpersonal communication skills in the workplace and social activities is being a critical thinker and analyst. To achieve unbiased and objective results, a person must rely on observation, analysis, and careful evaluation of the situations he may face. Hence social worker interpersonal skills may include patience, cultural competence, professional commitment, advocacy, and self-care.

Interpersonal Skills for Nursing

In the medical field, in most scenarios, the initial interaction of a patient with a care-providing or hospital staff starts with a nurse. This fact increases the importance of the fact that nurses should be equipped with strong interpersonal skills training. A nurse interacts with numerous patients, medical personnel, and other people daily. Their medical knowledge is important to do their job duties effectively; however, their technical knowledge must be backed by a set of strong interpersonal skills in the workplace.

A nurse must be concise in his/her verbal communication so that the message is delivered to the desired person effectively. He/she must be aware of all possible scenarios that he/she may face. A nurse should be compassionate and even humorous sometimes to release the tensions and worries of his/her depressed patients. He/she must be proactive in relationship building so that she/he can take care of his/her patients in an environment of trust and confidence. Her/his conflict resolution ability should be top-notch. A nurse must also create a positive environment in his/her workplace. In the list of interpersonal skills for a nurse, other important skills are critical thinking, personal stress management, and good listening skills. To better understand the interpersonal skills required for almost every field or profession, look at this free premade Interpersonal Communication Strategy PowerPoint Template.

How To Improve Your Interpersonal Skills

Professionals use many processes and techniques to teach interpersonal skills to people. In fact, there are numerous ways through which one can improve his/her interpersonal skills in the workplace. If these skills are reinforced in the masses, they enhance the revenue and sales of a business and improve the overall workplace environment. Here are a few ways through which you can improve your interpersonal skills.

1. Establishing goals

Any person can improve his/her interpersonal skills by setting meaningful objectives and goals. You need to analyze your strengths and weaknesses and assess which skills you want to improve. If you find it hard to start a conversation, you can set it as a goal and then develop a SMART strategy to achieve this goal. The SMART strategy, which makes your goals specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-oriented, help you set and achieve actionable goals and objectives.

2. Observing people with strong interpersonal skills

To improve your interpersonal skills, you can observe and analyze the actions and strategies followed by people with strong interpersonal skills. You can observe your colleagues, executives, customers, and even competitors. Try to analyze how they manage their communication and interaction with others.

You can notice the body language, postures, and gestures of others in different situations. You can also share your goals with others as well to get their constant feedback and opinion on your actions and behaviors.

3. Identifying different ways to practice

You can find different ways to practice your existing and newly acquired interpersonal skills. For this purpose, you can take the help of a mentor and engage with him in some role-playing activities. The purpose here is to further nurture your interpersonal skills through specialized training and customized feedback by a coach or trainer.

Another way of practicing your interpersonal skills is to join seminars, conferences, and training sessions meant to boost the interpersonal skills of people. Many employers arrange training sessions for their employees to enhance their communication and other soft skills. Employees and professionals can also join independent training sessions on their own to improve their careers and skill sets.

4. Assessing your skills periodically

It is very crucial to periodically assess your skills and modify them from time to time. You need to reflect on your interpersonal skills development and overall growth. For this purpose, you can set specific dates on the calendar to re-evaluate your skills randomly. The purpose of the activity is to be aware of your improvements and setbacks so that you can focus on the areas that need your attention.

If one strategy is not working, try developing another plan with another goal. It is fine to re-adjust your goals for improvement and consistent innovation in your skill sets. These interpersonal communication PowerPoint Templates will provide you with a thorough strategy to assess, re-evaluate and reset your interpersonal skills-related goals.

5. Choosing your language and tone

How you address different audiences may vary depending on the goals you want to achieve. For example, presenting your report in front of your senior manager will be totally different from speaking in front of a friend.

You need to be aware of appropriate body language, words, voice tone, and other factors while you speak in front of listeners. The usage of slang words, idiomatic phrases, and catchy lines will also be decided based on your potential audiences’ interests, needs, and behaviors. 

6. Showing compassion to others

Most of the time, people interact and communicate with others based on their emotions, feelings, and behaviors toward each other. Showing compassion and empathy to others is a great way to improve your interpersonal skills. This happens because when you show empathy to another person and value whatever he has to say, the interaction with that specific person becomes productive, positive, and fruitful. Such interactions may result in fostering strong relationships and bonds of the people with each other. When one person understands another person’s perspective and tries to agree with his ideas and arguments, the foundation of strong interpersonal bonds is laid. These bonds resultantly help in improving the interpersonal skills of the people.

7. Negotiating efficiently

Your negotiation skills also help you improve your interpersonal skills in many ways.

You can resolve your personal and professional disputes and conflicts through these skills. By using these skills, a marketer or salesman can present his business’s products or services more competitively with good persuasive skills. Conflict resolution and proper decision-making skills are also offshoots of these interpersonal skills. While doing such activities, a person becomes more aware of his communication flaws, verbal strengths, and weaknesses.

Training and Developing Interpersonal Skills

Interpersonal skills training allows employees and professionals to foster good work relationships with their employees and increase the overall productivity of their business. The success rate of the employees also increases along with the improvement in their verbal communication, time management, and problem-solving techniques.

In the business landscape, these training sessions are specifically meant to enhance customer service and the effective communication skills of the workers. These focus on the employee’s oral presentation skills and emotional intelligence. High-impact presentation skills are also given to employees in such webinars, conferences, and training sessions.

Leaders and business managers are prepared to implement desired changes in the workplace along with top-notch strategies and approaches to building high-performing teams. Topics like KPIs, appraisal systems, performance calibration, and permanence management are also discussed and presented in such gatherings. Employees are also trained in interpersonal skills like analytical thinking and problem solving, self-management, effective business writing, taking initiatives and managing productivity, negotiation and conflict management skills, and public speaking, etc.

Difference Between Personal and Interpersonal Skills

Although both terms are often used interchangeably, there is a significant difference between personal and interpersonal skills. Personal skills are a person’s abilities that can be considered his strengths. While on the other hand, interpersonal skills are those capabilities that an individual needs to communicate and interact with others effectively. Some significant differences between these two terms are given as follows.

Difference of boundary

Interpersonal skills are limited to communication and interaction with other people. At the same time, personal skills are an individual’s abilities, including interpersonal skills. Hence the aspects covered by personal skills are more than those of interpersonal skills. Other skills included in personal skill sets other than communication skills are critical analysis, technical skills, and more.

Relationship with the personality

Interpersonal skills don’t shed light on a person’s personality, traits and attitude. They are just a part of his personality. On the other hand, personal skills are totally shaped by a person’s personality, especially through soft skills. 

Difference of completeness

Interpersonal skills do not satisfy a person’s personal needs and hence can’t make a person complete. Personal skills, on the other hand, can make a human complete through a mix of soft and technical skills. Other abilities apart from interpersonal skills are also needed to make a person a complete human being. 

Final Words

Interpersonal skills are important for proper communication and interaction with other individuals. These skills are important for the growth and success of employees, professionals, and business people in their personal and professional lives. Different types of interpersonal skills are required for different professions and job roles, like honesty, integrity, effective communication, people management, professional commitment, stress management, and conflict resolution. You can improve these skills by setting actionable goals, observing other successful professionals, choosing the right language, behavior, and tone, and showing compassion and empathy to others.

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