Looking to turbocharge your interpersonal skills?
You’re in the right place!
Interpersonal skills are skills you use to interact and communicate with others — and they make a huge impact on your personal and professional success.
In this post, we’ll explore actionable ways to elevate these skills, along with relatable examples.
Whether you’re networking, leading a team meeting, or just having a friendly chat, these techniques will make a world of difference.
Excited to become the charismatic communicator you’ve always wanted to be?
Let’s dive right in!
1. Embrace the Power of Silence
Having strong interpersonal skills doesn’t mean you have to be the loudest voice in the room.
Listening is one of the most effective communication skills you can learn. It fosters trust and respect in your interpersonal relationships and helps reduce misunderstandings and conflicts.
Active listening involves fully concentrating on, understanding, and responding to a speaker, rather than simply waiting for your turn to talk.
Let’s say you’re in a team meeting, and a colleague is presenting a new idea.
Instead of planning your response or thinking about how the idea might not work, focus on understanding their perspective.
Show that you’re engaged by nodding or paraphrasing their points. These actions show respect for the speaker while helping you truly grasp their ideas.
Effective non-verbal communication amplifies your verbal messages and helps you build better relationships by demonstrating empathy and understanding.
2. Master Non-Verbal Communication
Did you know that over 50% of our communication is non-verbal?
Your body language, facial expressions, gestures, and even the tone and volume of your voice are considered forms of non-verbal communication.
For example, imagine you’re having a conversation with a friend.
While they’re talking, you’re looking at your phone, your arms are crossed, and you’re leaning away from them.
No matter what you’re saying, your body language is screaming disinterest and disconnection.
On the other hand, maintaining eye contact, using open body language (like uncrossed arms and leaning in), and using appropriate facial expressions will significantly enhance your non-verbal communication.
These signals show that you’re engaged, open and receptive, leading to more positive and effective interactions.
3. Break Down the Walls with Vulnerability
We often underestimate the power of vulnerability as an interpersonal skill.
Revealing a bit about yourself or your feelings, especially in a work setting, can feel a tad too personal, right?
But when done in moderation, it can be an unexpected tool to build trust and promote healthy relationships.
Vulnerability is about being open about your feelings and accepting your flaws.
It’s about sharing personal experiences or thoughts that make you human.
For instance, admitting to a mistake at work or opening up about a challenge you’re facing shows you’re human and relatable.
This openness creates a sense of camaraderie and mutual understanding.
However, a word of caution: vulnerability is not about oversharing or creating an uncomfortable atmosphere.
It’s about sharing appropriate personal experiences in a way that strengthens your connections with others.
5. Say Yes to Constructive Criticism
Let’s be honest — receiving criticism is never fun.
But accepting and embracing constructive criticism will strengthen your interpersonal skills and ignite personal growth.
Let’s say you’ve just given a presentation and a colleague offers some feedback on how you could’ve better structured your points.
Instead of defaulting to defensiveness or dismissing their perspective, take a step back.
Consider their advice as a tool to refine your skills, not as a personal attack.
Here’s another tip: when receiving feedback, thank the person for their input.
This might sound counterintuitive, especially if the criticism stings a little. But, acknowledging their effort to help you improve reinforces a positive, open-communication environment.
Then, reflect on their suggestions, decide on their applicability, and incorporate changes where necessary.
6. Cultivate Conflict Resolution Skills
Disagreements and conflicts are part and parcel of interpersonal relationships.
What sets strong interpersonal communicators apart is their ability to navigate these choppy waters with tact and grace.
This is where conflict resolution skills come into play.
Imagine you’re working on a project with a colleague and you hit a roadblock due to differing viewpoints.
Instead of digging your heels in or turning the situation into a battle of wills, try a different approach.
Start by acknowledging the other person’s perspective: “I understand where you’re coming from and why you believe this approach might work better.”
Then, calmly present your viewpoint.
Cultivating conflict resolution skills will improve your relationships, create a more harmonious work environment, and even boost your leadership skill.
8. Make Written Communication Your Ally
Written communication often takes a backseat when we talk about interpersonal skills.
But in our world of emails and instant messaging, it’s an important skill to master.
From writing a concise email to crafting a compelling proposal, effective written communication enhances your interpersonal communication skills.
For example, let’s pretend you’ve been asked to email a project update to your team.
Rather than sending a lengthy, convoluted email, you craft a concise yet informative update, highlighting key achievements and next steps.
You use clear language, logical structure, and ensure your email is positive and respectful.
Your teammates now have a clear understanding of what’s going on, and know exactly what’s expected of them. Plus, they start to trust you as their leader.
To master written communication, focus on clarity and brevity.
Avoid unnecessary jargon, and ensure your message is well-structured and easy to follow.
Also, always consider your tone. Written words don’t have the benefit of voice modulation, so ensure your language reflects the sentiment you intend to convey.
Effective written communication boosts your interpersonal communication skills, enhances your credibility, and improves your professional image. It also helps you avoid misunderstandings and ensures your message is clearly understood.
9. Practice Empathy
If there were a golden rule of interpersonal skills it’d be this: practice empathy.
The essence of empathy is understanding and sharing the feelings of others.
A listening ear, a reassuring nod, or a simple, “I understand where you’re coming from” can go a long way in building strong interpersonal relationships.
To cultivate empathy, practice active listening, be open-minded, and avoid judging.
Try to understand the situation from the other person’s perspective, and validate their feelings. It may not always be easy, especially when you disagree, but it’s important to respect others’ experiences and emotions.
Practicing empathy can not only enhance your interpersonal skills but also contribute to a more compassionate and understanding workplace — and world.
10. Enhance Your People Skills with Constructive Feedback
Another key aspect of excellent interpersonal skills is giving constructive feedback.
Whether it’s to a colleague or employee, delivering feedback in a respectful and helpful manner is essential.
To provide constructive feedback, focus on the issue at hand rather than the person.
Use statements like, “I noticed there was an error in the project report,” instead of, “You messed up the project.”
This way, you’re addressing the problem without attacking the individual.
Use “I” statements to express your thoughts.
Rather than saying, “You don’t pay attention to details,” try, “I think that more attention to detail would improve the quality of our reports.”
This approach ensures your message comes across as helpful feedback, not as criticism.
Lastly, offer suggestions for improvement, turning the situation into a learning opportunity.
Remember, the aim of feedback is to foster growth and better performance. Constructive feedback creates a positive atmosphere where everyone feels valued and motivated to improve.
11. Adopt a Versatile Communication Style
Just like no two people are the same, effective communication isn’t one-size-fits-all.
Some colleagues might prefer direct communication, while others appreciate a more tactful approach. Observing and adapting to different communication styles will greatly enhance your interpersonal skills.
For instance, your team leader might prefer getting straight to the point during meetings. In contrast, your colleague might appreciate a bit of small talk before diving into work discussions.
Adjusting your communication style to meet their preferences shows respect and understanding for their individual communication needs.
To develop a versatile communication style, start by observing. Notice how your colleagues and superiors communicate.
Do they prefer direct or indirect communication? Do they appreciate humor, or do they prefer a more serious tone? Understanding these nuances can help you tailor your communication style effectively.
Adopting a versatile communication style not only improves your interpersonal communication but also fosters a deeper connection with your colleagues.
12. Prioritize Relationship Building
Prioritizing relationship building is a powerful way to enhance your interpersonal skills and nurture healthy relationships at work.
Taking a few moments each day to engage with your coworkers on a personal level can go a long way.
Ask them about their weekend plans or how their latest project is going.
Share an interesting article or joke you came across.
These small interactions build trust and camaraderie, fostering a positive work environment.
Understanding your coworkers on a deeper level can also lead to better teamwork. When you understand someone’s interests, values, and working style, you can collaborate more effectively and navigate any disagreements with ease.
Remember, you’re not just working with professionals; you’re working with people.
13. Balance Your Technical Skills with Soft Skills
In the professional world, it’s common to focus on technical skills. After all, these are the abilities that often get your foot in the door.
But to truly excel in your career, balancing technical skills with soft skills is essential.
Soft skills, like strong interpersonal skills, effective communication, and critical thinking skills, can distinguish you in the workplace.
You might be the best coder on your team, but if you can’t communicate your ideas effectively or work well with others, your impact will be limited.
So, as you strive to learn the latest programming language or get that certification, don’t forget to enhance your soft skill level.
Practice active listening during meetings, engage in team-building activities, or take a course on conflict resolution.
Remember, every interaction is an opportunity to improve your interpersonal communication skill and grow as a professional.
Balancing a technical skill with a soft skill can lead to better job performance, increased career opportunities, and even higher job satisfaction.
Learn Through Experience: Get Out There & Hone Your Interpersonal Skills
Putting these skills into practice can be challenging, and a bit awkward at first.
But remember — every conversation is an opportunity to improve.
Focus on practicing one tip per week until each one becomes a habit.
Pretty soon, your friends and colleagues will start to see you as a strong communicator who leads with quiet confidence.
They’ll also be certain you have their best interests at heart.
So get out there and start practicing!
The world is waiting for the extraordinary communicator in you to shine through.