We live in a world that keeps getting more and more connected every day. And to succeed in this hyperconnected world, we need to learn about interpersonal skills. Interpersonal skills are the skills that you use to communicate and interact with other people. But these people skills are more valuable than you think. This set of skills allow us to have strong personal relationships. We use them at work, with our friends, at school, at home, and every time we interact with someone. In this article, we’ll share why interpersonal skills are important and some common examples of them you’d use in your daily life.
Why Interpersonal Skills Are Important
All people are connected. Having good interpersonal skills is crucial for daily life. Even the loneliest person in the world had to interact with people at some point. When you go to the grocery store, when you go on a date, when you talk to clients, and even when you go to school, you use interpersonal skills. There is no escaping relationships in some form or another.
2. To communicate better
When you have strong interpersonal skills, you can communicate more efficiently with the people around you. Having good people skills allows you to stay safe, belong in a community, and meet your needs. When you develop good interpersonal skills, you give yourself a chance to be cared for by the people around you. Since humans are social beings, being accepted by the group is essential. Being a poor communicator can lead to being excluded by others.
3. To grow professionally
In the job market, interpersonal skills are crucial for people working in customer service, offices, or people-oriented careers, such as medicine or sales. But even people who don’t have to deal regularly with people like artists, technical jobs, or freelancers; need to use interpersonal skills to communicate with clients and teams. At work, you can’t avoid relationships with others, making interpersonal skills critical in those situations.
Examples of Interpersonal Skills
If you want to improve your interpersonal skills, you need to know which ones are the most important. Let’s example some examples of interpersonal skills.
1. Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence is the capacity to understand and control your emotions. But understanding other people’s emotions is also an aspect of emotional intelligence. This skill is the main pillar of interpersonal skills. We’re emotional by nature, so understanding emotions can help you cool off and put yourself in other people’s shoes.
You would use the interpersonal skill of emotional intelligence in situations where emotions are heated. For instance, knowing when your spouse is mad is essential to help resolve conflict and maintain a safe and stable relationship. If you can’t read facial expressions or emotions, it may cause stress in your romantic relationships.
When you have the necessary emotional intelligence, you can easily place yourself in someone else’s shoes. And that’s what empathy is about: understanding emotions.
Sometimes you’ll need to listen carefully to a friend, a colleague, a customer, or a boss. Some situations will require you to set yourself aside for a minute and focus on what someone else is feeling. Learning how to be more empathetic can help you look reliable and caring.
For instance, if someone in your family recently died, you would choose to use empathy as they struggle to make sense of a world without a loved one. You might offer a listening ear, mirror their words, and show love as they go through the stages of grief.
3. Caring and friendliness
Interpersonal skills can help you be more caring and friendly with strangers and people in general. Showing a positive attitude towards someone can lighten up their mood and help ease tensions.
In the workplace, friendliness is fundamental as the opposite can lead to a toxic culture. Celebrating birthdays, promotions, and individual wins is a great way to be friendly towards your coworkers without crossing boundaries.
4. Ability to control emotions
We’ve talked about how people skills are critical to interact with others, but it’s also helpful to behave better. When you’re aware of what you feel, you can treat yourself and others better.
Redirecting and understanding negative thoughts and emotions will make you less volatile. And yes, being volatile won’t make you look friendly and approachable.
Controlling your emotions is essential when you’re under stress, such as in the workplace. For instance, a doctor exhausted from a long day at work shouldn’t be rude when telling his or her last patient of the day about a serious terminal illness, even if they just want to go home.
The simple act of sharing information might not seem hard, but in reality, effective communication takes time to master. Speaking, writing, listening, and reading are important skills. But effective communication is about using those skills correctly.
Communication is critical in all relationships: professional, romantic, friendships, or family bonds.
For some people, speaking to someone else can be incredibly difficult. But speaking is a fundamental skill in any negotiation or relationship.
Most of the time, how you say something is more important than what you say. So the tone in which you say something does matter. Keep in mind written communication can cause miscommunication as people can’t hear your tone or view your body language.
But there are other ways to communicate with others. Communication is more than just words. Becoming aware of non-verbal communication can help you establish better relationships. Some non-verbal actions include facial gestures, maintaining eye contact, smiling, body language, and posture.
Your non-verbal language has a big influence on how people can perceive your message. Head down? You’ll look sad and uninterested. Arms crossed? Defensive. No facial expressions? Unamused.
6. Negotiation Skills
When people hear the word negotiation, they think of a salesperson asking them to subscribe to a service or product. But in reality, negotiation is a lot more than that. The interpersonal skill of negotiation is about using complex social skills to find a win-win scenario for everyone in the negotiation.
To negotiate is to listen to a problem and think of a solution that will satisfy everyone.
Negotiation skills are particularly critical during hostage situations, where police negotiate with criminals who have kidnapped individuals.
Persuading someone is selling them an idea or object and make them like it. Persuasion is part of any negotiation.
Persuasion is a common practice in marketing and sales jobs where the goal is to persuade a potential customer to buy a product.
8. Active Listening
Listening is a crucial interpersonal skill. Active listening means paying attention to the message that someone is sending you and advocate to solve it.
If you don’t listen, you’ll never know what to do next. It’s also important to make people feel listened to and mirror their words after they speak.
One of the toughest interpersonal skills to develop is patience. But when you practice empathy, active listening, and good communication, you can grasp the concept of patience.
When you’re patient, people will see you as a calm individual. Having patience can also help you on an internal level. It can do so by giving you the motivation to do something and expecting those results.
10. Work Ethic
Being in an office or working environment means adopting a different way of communicating. You can’t make silly jokes all the time or be disrespectful. You need to have good interpersonal skills if you want to be professional.
You don’t need to be firm and strict all the time. But there’s a time and a place for everything, and learning when to be funny and when to be professional is a skill you can work on. Ultimately, while you’re at work, you should be working, not wasting time.
If you want to look professional, you need to dress accordingly. You won’t find a lawyer wearing a swimsuit or an experienced dancer wearing a suit with a blazer. If your workplace has a dress code, go with it. Every type of job has some form of workwear. But don’t be afraid to speak up if you think the workwear choices are dated.
It’s only natural for us to laugh and make jokes. After all, people love humor. Humor can change someone’s mood and create solid relationships among other people like colleagues and friends.
However, people need to learn how to use humor effectively. Understanding that there are moments to have fun and that there are moments to be serious is important.
Respect is about understanding personal space and setting boundaries for other people. All you have to do is listen and respect them. To be respectful of people, there will need to be:
No inappropriate comments
Zero hurtful jokes
Respecting personal space
No making fun of someone’s beliefs
14. Conflict Management
If you’ve ever worked with people, then you know how complicated things can get. Well, you can be the necessary tool to end an argument and make every party happy. If you know about conflict management, you can help defuse many awkward and tense situations. When two people start arguing around you, help them through it by telling them to say, “When you do [this], I feel [emotion name].” It allows people to see what the problem is more clearly.
Speaking with politeness and using formal definitions is sometimes mandatory for a better understanding. Even if you don’t like the person you’re talking to, diplomacy can help you convince other people to buy your idea.
A critical aspect of conflict management is decision-making. If you want to defuse a situation, you need to make a choice. Deciding on the right choice is often a complex social problem that requires creativity and empathy skills. If you’re unsure which choice to make, listen to your gut.
We are all leaders at some point in our lives. Being a leader is being an inspiration for someone else. You have some influence on them and are capable of motivating them to do something. Isn’t that amazing? A leader will need to make firm decisions using consensus and experience. They will be someone people respect and look up to. Mindful leadership is key to being a good leader.
18. Convincing Skills
Leaders are good at convincing people. They motivate and persuade others to achieve a goal. Please note that there’s a difference between motivation and manipulation. When you manipulate, you’re using someone for your benefit; when you motivate, you’re helping someone achieve a common goal.
Listen, it’s good to do things on your own, but we all need a little help every once in a while. That’s why teamwork is a beneficial interpersonal skill. Forming teams, creating networks, and maintaining them is a lot of work. Teamwork is necessary for specific projects, events, or actions.
The ability to collaborate with other people is essential in a team. Accepting your responsibilities and committing to them is what keeps the team alive. Learning to collaborate with others can help you reach places that were far from reach before.
People need to trust you; that’s the truth. If you present yourself as someone dependable that they can rely on, they’ll be willing to listen to you. Earning people’s trust may involve making sure you do things when you say you will, finishing projects on time, and showing up when they need you.
22. Openness to Criticism and Feedback
It’s important to be open-minded about criticism and feedback. You can do this by understanding that feedback is the only way to learn something new. Sometimes a process can have flaws, or we might do something wrong. Those are the moments where we need to accept feedback and learn from our mistakes. Is it hard to realize that you might’ve been wrong about something? Absolutely. But that’s a part of learning, and we must accept it.
How to Develop Interpersonal Skills
Interpersonal skills are one of those things that people think that you’re born with. But being realistic, anyone can improve their interpersonal skills at any point in their lives. All you need is self-awareness and commitment to improving them. Here are some ways to develop your interpersonal skills.
Reflect on what interpersonal skills you already have. Then think about the ones that you need to improve.
Learn emotional intelligence.
Practice active listening with friends, strangers, clients, and colleagues.
Be in tune with your feelings.
Take the initiative to speak in public or start a presentation.
Be aware of your body language.
Start being friendly with the people in your life.
Talk with people mindfully.
Always think carefully about the words that come out of your mouth.
Interpersonal skills are just as necessary as hard technical skills. By being mindful of these skills and constantly working to improve them, you’re making a tremendous effort. By practicing these skills, you’ll get better social relationships in all aspects of your life. Which interpersonal skills are you currently working on?