Any website or article about interviews and jobs always talks about interpersonal skills. Also known as social skills or people skills, interpersonal abilities are necessary every day at all stages of our lives. Interpersonal skills meaning is all about how one talks with others. Their behaviour at work and home and their ability to handle emotions make a person socially aware. A person with strong people skills can talk better and are good team worker.
However, before understanding how to develop interpersonal abilities, one must know what is exactly an interpersonal skill.
Importance of Interpersonal Skills
Interpersonal skills do much more than secure a job. People who communicate better can work in teams better. They form deeper and more meaningful relationships in their personal lives and at work. Employers and managers tend to rely on them more than other employees. Even children will gravitate towards a positive person who can talk better.
People with strong social skills are observant of their surroundings and make better decisions. Their decisions will usually benefit everyone and not just one person. The same person can also motivate and include everyone in projects and conversations.
Collaboration and resolving conflicts are second nature to an individual with strong social cues. Due to this reason, they also make good leaders and tend to get chosen, over others, for important roles. As they can also better take feedback and work on themselves, they can access better opportunities.
What are Interpersonal Skills?
Describing interpersonal skills is not as hard as one assumes. Interpersonal skills put simply, are how one interacts and talks with others. Also known as people skills or soft skills, they are important skills to showcase to prospective employers. However, there are many more social skills than simply how one talks. Interpersonal abilities include verbal and non-verbal skills, listening skills, teamwork, collaboration, leadership etc. Problem-solving, a positive mindset and good listening skills also are part of social skills.
Strong interpersonal abilities will help interviewees to land the interview. At work, these individuals are also able to progress faster. At the personal level, people skills are necessary for long-term happiness. Any relationship, work or personal, is tough. Human beings pick up cues as kids to navigate such situations. These skills enable us to know more about others, resolve conflicts and form deeper bonds.
There are some skills or behavioral patterns that we develop over time that we do subconsciously. One should always be aware of such negative traits. Being aware of them will help eliminate them. These individuals would then stand out from other interviewees and get the job.
Interpersonal Skills at Home
Interpersonal skills also known as social or communal skills, extend to every person we talk to. Personal relationships at home and with friends also benefit from these skills. Besides good communication, some more interpersonal skills are worth knowing to have long-lasting relations.
- Positive Attitude: When one is in a bad mood, it will affect everyone, and the evening is spoilt. Make an effort to leave work stress behind and be positive with the family. Be sympathetic and do not jump to extreme reactions.
- Taking and Giving Feedback: Giving constructive feedback to partners allows them to make changes. Pay attention to what to say and when to say when giving feedback regarding someone’s behaviour. Some of the most successful relationships are based on effectively giving criticisms.
- Conflict resolution: Conflicts will inevitably arise in relationships. Proper communication during conflicts will not only de-escalate the situation but also help arrive at a solution. Try to remain calm and remove all emotions. It is more of ‘US vs ‘The Problem’ and not the other way around. Do not interrupt the other person, listen and ask questions.
- Decision Making: Proper decision-making is a good skill to learn for success. One simple trick to learning how to do so is identifying the problem. After that, looking for all solutions, evaluating them and then choosing an option is the way to go.
- Self-Confidence: Be independent and confident. Doing so will make people happy, and this will, in turn, help them bring their best selves to other relations. It is not healthy to always rely on others.
Interpersonal Skills at Office
Social skills at an office are particularly important. Interpersonal skills including communication skills are a must as one is constantly talking with vendors or employees. Being able to do so effectively and more brings success in work life.
- Customer Facing Roles: Roles that require talking to customers, face-to-face or over the phone, require strong interpersonal skills. Professionals in these capacities should be able to show sympathy, listen and understand emotions constructively. Especially for doctors and nurses, one wrong word can devastate families.
- Meeting Skills: The dreaded daily meeting no one wants to be in is an area to pay attention to social skills. Pay attention to body language and listen to what others are saying. Take feedback and ask questions to show that one is paying attention in the meeting.
- Financial Roles: Individuals in financial jobs have a particularly hard time as they must correctly translate their client’s needs into reality. Just listening is not enough here, pay attention to understand what is also not being said. Successfully translating the client’s needs will lead to long-standing customer relationships.
- Human Resources Roles: Human resources professionals are the bloodline of organizations. They help in communication within departments, solve conflicts and more. Interpersonal abilities like empathy, problem-solving, and good leadership skills are necessary for HR workers.
- Manager Roles: Managers, regardless of the field, are people who can think for others and lead them. They are also excellent problem solvers who can build people’s trust and faith. One should be able to show they are reliable and that they can take criticism well as a Manager.
Interpersonal Skills for People Seeking Jobs
It is quite a nerve-wracking process to apply to and interview for jobs. Employers are, in particular, extremely wary of the interpersonal abilities the future applicants have. These skills will also determine if a candidate can fit into a company’s work style and work harmoniously. It is, therefore, important to highlight certain skills in the resume.
- Communication: Individuals must show good spoken and written communication skills without argument. They must be able to get their point across. It is not necessary to have a big vocabulary. Applicants must also show they can communicate easily and in an easy-to-understand manner.
- Team Work: All work within an organization involves teamwork. As a beginner, it is hard to work with strangers, but necessary. An ability to work with people opposite in nature will surely bring results.
- Leadership: Leadership skill is not limited to just managers and upper management. All employees must have leadership abilities. Leadership ability can also be shown in personal responsibilities and working with others towards a common goal.
- Assertiveness: Be assertive in getting specific projects or if one does not want to work on a certain project. Assertiveness is also an attractive quality to have when looking for a promotion.
- Active listening: An ideal job applicant is a good listener. They pay attention to what is wanted of them. They will also look at the body language and appropriately react.
How to develop Interpersonal Skills?
Good social skills are the base of professional and social success. It is rewarding to take the time to develop interpersonal skills. While there are online certificate courses that will help in this regard, the same can be done at home as well. There are many ways to develop interpersonal abilities but concentrating on a few will help immensely.
The first step to developing interpersonal skills is understanding what needs to be changed. Most people have an awareness of what they lack. During communications with friends or colleagues, take cues from how they respond. Some people, like managers, provide feedback on proper ways to say or do something. At this step, it is important not to take offence when someone points out a flaw. Instead, one must take note of it to work on improving it later.
However, identifying flaws is not as easy as it seems. One can develop ‘blind spots, or we could choose to ignore our shortcomings. They could also think that there is no fixing to be done, that they are perfect the way they are. Hence, talk to someone trustworthy who can give feedback honestly. Alternatively, there are also quick and short online personality tests that one can take up. These tests could be a perfect starting point for working on basic skills.
Start with Basic Communication Skills
Communication is much more than words spoken by us. Having the ability to listen to others before saying anything is just as important. In today’s times, not many people take the time to listen to what someone is saying. Pay attention to the words and emotions the person is showing. Pause and reflect on their cues. Question them to show that one is paying attention to what they are saying. Another way to show listening skills is to summarise what the other person is saying. This will encourage them to keep talking and show that the other person is trying to listen.
People having good interpersonal skills also are aware of the words they use. Are there words or phrases in the conversation that can cause confusion? Think and choose the words carefully. Seek out feedback if necessary to ensure they understood the words. Words spoken could be useless if the right non-verbal communication is not there. One could be trying to show they are happy, but their body language shows anger. Non-verbal cues are hard to fake, and one must take the time to research and perfect them.
Focus on Advanced Communication Skills
Once the basic communication skills of listening, verbal and non-verbal communication, are out of the way, it is time to concentrate on more advanced skills. For instance, understanding why there are communication issues in the first place or how to be more effective when speaking. Interpersonal skills, in particular, communication is never perfect, and often there are barriers to them. Barriers like speaking different languages, extreme emotions or having expectations ruin good communication. Being aware of them is the first step to removing these barriers.
Emotions are a particularly hard barrier to cross. Not only does one have to be aware of the other person’s emotions but their own as well. There could be stress or anger or general unpleasantness that can show up in the communication. It is, therefore, advised to always communicate with a calm mind. People should take the time to collect themselves when feeling extreme emotions and communicating. One must also keep in mind that disastrous or difficult conversations are signs of to change in the communication style.
While all interpersonal skills are about how we talk with others, it is important to note that it starts with us. If necessary, all the hard work and any change must begin with us. For instance, people tend to be drawn toward people with an upbeat nature. This also helps in building confidence in the speaker. Stress is an important factor in poor communication. Find ways to manage stress and be assertive but not aggressive to communicate effectively.
More and more employers today are looking at the emotional intelligence of candidates. Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand one’s own and other’s emotions. Emotional intelligence can be achieved by changing things on personal front and socially. For instance, at the personal level, understanding what motivates us and how our emotions work will allow us to decode others. Additionally, one must also be able to show that they feel or have empathy for the other person to be an effective communicator.
Practice Skills in Different Situations
Just merely reading and understanding the importance of interpersonal skills is not enough. These skills must be put into practice. There can numerous situations that require the use of interpersonal skills. Imagine these situations and devise ways to use the newly learnt social skills. For instance, think about the skills necessary to work in groups, at home and work. Here, getting an understanding of how groups and individuals work will help. This knowledge also helps when one has to negotiate or convince others.
Negotiation is, specifically, helpful at times of conflict. Trying to find a middle ground where there is a win-win situation on both ends is hard but a good interpersonal ability to have. Another important aspect to look at here is the ability to take decisions and solve problems quickly. While helpful, learning to do so alone is not as effective when others are brought into the picture.
Reflect and Improve
The final step to developing good interpersonal skills is to always introspect. At the end of each day, take the time to reflect on the words said and other interactions. Look for mistakes made and areas of improvement. Keep a journal and fill it up with these thoughts to be more effective. Over time, this habit of self-reflection will be useful to correct ourselves in the middle of conversations.
Interpersonal abilities are an important trait to recognize and develop as students. Individuals with good social cues can take criticism, are pleasant to be around, work better in teams and are good leaders. Beyond the workplace, interpersonal prowess also helps people form better relations in their personal lives. A little introspection and awareness of what one is saying and doing will do wonders for the work life.
Students who wish to develop their soft skills before applying to jobs can apply to Chegg Expert hiring. Besides answering student questions, Chegg experts also get to interact with each other. Some meet-ups are an excellent space to practice their emotional intelligence skills. Apply now to know more benefits of becoming a Chegg Expert.
Wish to know more about skills to lead a successful life? Explore our guide of Life Skills.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q.1 What is an interpersonal skills example?
Ans. Interpersonal or social skills is a broad term that can include many aspects. For instance, empathy, listening skills, communication, leadership, and self-discipline are all soft skills. Other examples are being assertive and assertive also come in the same category.
Q.2 What are the 4 types of interpersonal skills?
Ans. There are four major categories of interpersonal abilities. They are, Verbal, Written, Non-Verbal and Listening. Verbal skills refer to spoken communication skills or being able to speak using the correct tone and pitch. On the other hand, written skills refer to all forms of written communication at work, like writing messages or emails. Non-verbal skills refer to body language or any type of communication that does not involve the use of words. The last skill is essential to any part of communication listening.
Q.3 What is an example of interpersonal skills?
Ans. Interpersonal abilities refer to anything that one does when speaking and interacting with others. The way one listens shows their body language and processes emotions are all part of it. Being assertive and positive, working in teams and leading everyone, and having empathy are important social skills.
Q.4 How do you show interpersonal skills?
Ans. Many interpersonal or personal skills are shown subconsciously, and one is usually unaware of them. This is why one must be aware of how, why and what people are saying and emoting through their body language. Actively listening, showing empathy, being assertive, adopting a positive tone, etc., are ways to show social or interpersonal abilities.