interpersonal skills

Interpersonal skills 101: What is Your Understanding of Interpersonal Skills?

What are interpersonal skills? 

Interpersonal skills are the skills you use to communicate and interact effectively with others. Do you find it easy to keep a conversation going with open body language? Or would you rather have someone else communicate? 

The five interpersonal skills you need to master like the back of your hand include: 

  1. Active listening

    Can you listen and understand what is being verbalized by the other person without wanting to jump in with your response? 

    1. Communication 

    You need to know how to convey information, whether in writing or speaking to the other person, in a way that you can easily be understood. 

    1. Leadership 

    Do you take the initiative? Are you a motivated worker who values your work and your team? 

    1. Empathy 

    Empathy is more about understanding the other person from their perspective. Adding your emotions to your interactions with people enables you to connect with people easily. 

    1. Collaborate 

    A healthy workplace encourages sharing of ideas and knowledge. Doing this while giving room to ideas and different perspectives of other people is collaborating. 

    What is another word for interpersonal skills? 

    Photo Credit: Google images

    Interpersonal can also be referred to as 

    • People skills 
    • Emotional intelligence & 
    • Soft skills. 

    How do you build interpersonal skills? 

    To effectively build your people skills, here is what you should do. 

    1. Build Confidence and Self-esteem 

    You need to be comfortable in your own skin to excel in your interpersonal skills. Confidence breeds respect and admiration from other people. 

    If your self-esteem is down the toilet, you’ll find it hard to interact with people. 

    To build confidence, attempt new tasks or roles you have never done before and reward yourself for it when you do it well. 

    1. Identify Your Core Values and Stick to Them 

    To be effective in your interpersonal skills, you must abide by your personal code of conduct. For instance, if one of your personal values is humble service, you will fail if you start acting entitled before your customers. 

    Being principled and sticking to what identifies with your personal style makes you unique and an interesting person who can bring value and a fresh perspective to the table. 

    1. Control Your Emotions 

    Always being calm and collected goes a long way in ensuring healthy interactions with your peers and colleagues. 

    Regardless of what is going on in your personal life that could make you easily irritated, depressed or angry, you need to maintain a positive disposition at work or when interacting with others. 

    Keep feelings out of your business or work environment. 

    1. Show Genuine Interest in Other People 

    Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, it won’t cost much to let other people know you care about them. 

    Building solid relationships with other people will make it easier for them to reciprocate their genuine interest back to you. 

    1. Find Ways to Practice. 

    Practice makes perfect. The more you use a skill, the more you perfect it. For example, you can find someone you trust as a mentor to help you build your interpersonal skills. 

    You can do role-plays with them and seek feedback to help you know how you’re fairing. 

    1. Be Attentive to Your Body Language

    Your body language could be closed and withdrawn or open and welcoming when interacting with others. 

    Negative Communication Symptoms You Should Avoid

    • Looking down when talking to other people or hunched shoulders. Shows a lack of confidence. 
    • Folded arms. Shows disinterest in what the other person is saying. 

    Improve your interpersonal skills by always keeping an open body language. Some ways to keep your body language open include; 

    • Maintain eye contact with the other speaker; you can occasionally look away but never look down. 
    • Be keen on the other person’s body language as well. If they struggle to keep theirs open, you may need to adjust yourself. 
    • Be aware of what you’re doing physically so that you can pay attention. 

    What are interview questions on interpersonal skills? 

    If you’re setting yourself up for an interview, you should know that questions on interpersonal skills are quite common during interviews and here are some questions you might want to check out. 

    1. “Describe a time when you demonstrated your leadership?” 
    2. “What’s your leadership style?”
    3. “How do you handle criticism? Do you think it’s important to criticize colleagues?” 
    4. “How did you build relationships after landing your first job?”
    5. “Tell me about a moment when you helped a colleague resolve an issue?”
    6. “Describe a time when you had a conflict with your colleague; how did you resolve it?’
    7. “Tell me about a time you had to work with a coworker you didn’t like or trust?”
    8. “If your best friend should describe you, what should they say?”
    9. “Tell us a time when you demonstrated your problem-solving skills?”
    10. “Describe a time when you struggled to communicate something to your boss, colleague, or to customer. How did you manage to get your message over?”

    What are Interpersonal Skills for Leadership? 

    The other way to ask this question would be, who is an interpersonal leader? One of the signs that you’re are a leader with good interpersonal skills is the ability to communicate and motivate the people around you. 

    As a leader, your role is tied more to supporting and encouraging others to deliver on their roles. Becoming an effective interpersonal leader requires learning the interpersonal skills that will make you one since they aren’t innate. 

    Here are the leadership interpersonal skills you should master like the back of your hand: 

    • Active listening 

    Refer to the first section about interpersonal skills 

    • Feedback 

    An interpersonal leader must be able to give constructive feedback to his team or employees. This is necessary to encourage a high level of performance in your staff. 

    Companies benefit greatly if they can work with a leader who can pat employees on the areas they are doing well and offer constructive criticism in the areas they should improve. 

    • Self-awareness 

    An effective interpersonal leader understands their strengths and weaknesses and can adjust according to the situation that best suits them while tapping into the available resources. 

    • Communication 

    Great leaders know how to communicate effectively with their teams. They can easily morph into different situations that demand various communication styles, such as authoritative or diplomatic. 

    Clarity and conciseness are key, so you don’t waste people’s time. The better if you can make your point clear with 200 words instead of 2000 words. 

    Be mindful of your non-verbal communication such that you don’t convey the wrong signals to the people you engage with. 

    • Compassion and Empathy 

    The most effective way to understand other people’s feelings or thoughts is to practice compassion and empathy. The other person isn’t just a working machine but wants to be understood. You build more trust with them when you can understand their feelings. 

    • Trust and Honesty 

    An indicator that you don’t trust your employees is micromanaging them. You want to put up a trusting and honest disposition as an interpersonal leader so that your team can trust you in moments of crisis. Do you give your team a reason to trust you? 

    Is there Interpersonal Skills Training? 

    Yes, soft skills can be taught and one needs to identify the right corporate trainers to learn from. 

    Interpersonal Vs. Intrapersonal Skills

    Interpersonal skills refer to communication that happens between two or more people. While intrapersonal skills have got more to do with you as an individual, the skills that build you up. 

    Interpersonal Skills Intrapersonal Skills 
    Communication Ability to overcome distractions 
    Empathy Time management 
    Leadership Persistence 
    Collaborate Self-confidence 
    Openness to change Resilience