When we interact with any individual inside or outside of work we use interpersonal skills. Interpersonal skills are of wider variety but mainly they include the communication skills. Listening to someone’s problems or how they are feeling or what problems they are facing at work or in life in general are all a part of interpersonal skills. Apart from this, communicating with someone effectively, counselling someone to normalcy or providing someone solutions to their problems are also part of interpersonal skills.
Communication is the key and helps people to form relations in life as well as at the workplace. Now what exactly are these skills, what comes under these skills, how can one achieve it or what we need to know about them is important. Lets see a deep detail on the same.
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The knowledge of self is what we call self awareness. To know what are your goals, ambitions, personality, and motivation so that you understand how these things are going to affect your decisions and judgements is what self awareness is all about.
Self awareness is needed to be self-effective. What you feel and how you feel, what are your shortcomings and how can you overcome them helps you to deal with your emotions and improve yourself at places you lack. Self awareness can help an individual in:
- Understanding one’s emotions
- Understanding oneself with respect to others
- Improve one’s area of shortcomings
- Develop relations with other at workplace or in general
- Set one’s goal clearly
- Manage others efficiently
Self awareness at large is essential to understand how you are with others, what your goals are and what you wish to achieve in life. When you work in an organisation, what relations you make with your colleagues and managers show how easy your journey in that organisation will be, which is only possible if you are aware of your own self.
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While conversing we need to know the art of understanding people and their emotions to take them on your side. It might be that you are amazing at your vocabulary and have many words in your pocket but what is more essential is selection of words. You should know what to say and when to say that you make people look up to you at any point of time. When we use words wisely we create a path for people to share their emotions with us and express their ideas with us in a positive manner.
The objective of effective communication is to have a conversation that is long lasting, informative and leaves a positive impression on a person’s mind forever. Effective communication prepares you for negotiations, cracking deals, retaining employees and a lot more. It works as a key factor while working or running an organization.
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Communication is not a one way activity, it’s a two way process. When someone is speaking to you need to listen to that person actively. Listening is as important as speaking with fluency. If one is not listening or appears to be disinterested that pauses a conversation half way and you leave a very bad impression on the other person who gets offended and sad and might never talk to you again. There is a vast difference between hearing and listening. Hearing is just collecting sound waves from your surroundings. For example you hear sounds of birds, you hear a generator working, you hear a DJ system at weddings.
Listening on the other hand is about understanding the meaning and feelings of what is being said. For example you listen to music, you listen to your siblings problems, you listen to what is being said in a classroom etc.
Active listening helps you to react according to a situation. When you listen to people at your workplace you become a confident to them and they rely on you. That is how you make a team and work in harmony at any organization.
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The Art of Asking
When working in an organization or in a team you should possess the art of asking. People tend to be very reserved or shy when a discussion takes place. They tend to avoid asking their doubts or questions. You should thus know how to ask people and in what way you should ask people so that they are able to voice out their opinions or suggestions. This happens when you ask open-ended questions. When one asks open-ended questions people tend to give descriptive answers. When, How, Why, Where, Whom these are the kinds of open ended questions which push people to answer and voice out opinions.
When you need a quick response from people around you,you can ask close ended questions. Such questions are answered in yes or no and involve every individual in the conversation taking place.
When you speak it’s not just you who is talking it’s your body that does the talking too. Your body language and gestures tell how serious or into a conversation you are. The factors that tell about your body language are:
A firm eye contact indicates that you are confident and prepared for what is to come. It also tells about your willingness to take part in a discussion. A lack of eye contact on the other hand tells that either you are shy and lack confidence or unprepared or lack confidence. All these attributes can fail you in your interview.
Your facial expression tells what’s going on in your mind. For example if you are happy you will give a full fledged smile with your eyebrows raised but if not you smile just out of courtesy. If you are zoned out during a conversation it will reflect on your face showing that you are not listening to what is being said.
It is important that you maintain a stiff and crisp posture. A slouchy posture is associated with arrogance and unproductivity. A straight posture oozes confidence and demands respect.
Your proximity with the other person defines a lot of things. The way you shake hands or your shoulders touch gives a friendly vibe whereas standing too far can give out that you are rude and unfriendly.
Small talks are a way to make friends and relax people. Small talks are conducted on general topics like favourite color or traffic and helps you know people better. These small talks pave the way for friendships and tell you who are the people you can rely on. Even though a lot of people do find it difficult to walk to people who are complete strangers and say anything to them, small talk to other people is not such an herculean task.
Tips While talking
Communication is a two way process. If you keep talking and dominating the conversation without giving a heed to what the other person has to say or what the other person’s opinion on that particular topic is, then the person will lose interest and will not be interested in talking to you.
Also if you don’t understand the feeling of the other person in a conversation he will feel you lack the understanding and will back out from conversing with you.
Also if a conversation is going too long and is extremely detail-oriented it becomes essential that you keep summarising the content to the other person after every few details are added on to keep him in the loop.
Influencing people’s thoughts
Influencing people is an art not everyone cannot master. For someone to influence people it is important that the person understands how the other person thinks, how his mind functions, how he reacts to situations, what are his triggers and what kind of a personal and professional environment he is subjected to. When you have details of such minute things about an individual you will know what you can say to alter the mind of the other individual.
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Empathy is another emotion that comes into play in these scenarios. When you tell the other person “ had I been at your place” you are telling him that you understand what he is going through, you can easily relate to it and this is how you would have reacted to a situation he is in. This gives the other person a sense of belonging and he would feel that the solution you are telling him is better and he would do what you tell him to. This is how you have influenced his mind and decisions.
Other things that you should keep a check on while in a conversation are:
- Maintain trust
- Appear reliable to the other person
- Nurture common grounds
- Call other people by their names
- Work on “ You win, I win” techniques
- Be strong enough to handle your emotions
- Analyse your strengths and weaknesses
- Be sure to manage your conflicting emotions
- Learn time management
- Learn to put your opinion forward
- Master negotiation
- Make sure to leave an impact while you make a conversation
Interpersonal skills form the part and parcel of your personality and help you survive the difficult times in your life and in the organisation you work in. They help you become more aware of your own self. What you like, what you dislike, what are your strengths and what are your weaknesses, what you can tolerate and what is intolerant to you, how much you can understand another individual and how much you wish to be understood is what interpersonal skills are all about. When you are able to analyse yourself, you are able to become more empathetic, overcome your weaknesses and survive more confidently in any organisation.
Interpersonal skills build the foundation of your personality and keep you in good books of the people. It makes you confident to put your points forward and makes you a person who is ready to listen and resolve others problems. It also helps you to get to higher positions in an organisation like that of an HR and managers of your department. The several interpersonal skills that are in demand by the organisations are: negotiating skills, behavioural skills, Comorting, listening, empathetic skills and so on.
Your behaviour and body language helps you grow and flourish in your organisational environment. Your behaviour also helps you to make good relations at personal level and helps you be mentally at peace.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
- How many types of interpersonal skills are there?Name them.
There are mainly four types of interpersonal skills. They are:
We need to communicate with people and there are various ways to do so and thus we need to know everything that helps us to communicate.
- Why is interpersonal communication considered as skills?
Communicating with someone needs a lot of patience and understanding.There’s a tone one expects when one is not in the best of moods and other times there is a need to be strict. Different situations need different ways to communicate and not everybody can handle that pressure to keep everyone around happy with what one says. That’s why interpersonal skills are considered skills.
- What are the elements that form interpersonal skills?
There are 5 elements that form interpersonal skills. They are: Sender, Receiver, Noise, Channel, message and feedback.
- What are termed as soft skills?
Skills that define the kind of person you are and how your relations are with others personally or at your workplace are termed as Soft Skills.
- Define Hard Skills.
Hard skills are those skills which can be learnt by any individual by continuous practice and repetition once you have been educated on them.
- Name the three skills required at managerial level.
The three skills required at managerial level include:
- Define Empathy as an Interpersonal Skill?
Empathy means to keep yourself in another person’s shoes. Empathy is an interpersonal skill because it is hard to understand somebody else by putting yourself in another person’s situation. It takes understanding and sympathy and thus is considered as an interpersonal skill.
- Who has a higher position than branch manager ?
Regional managers of an organization have higher position than branch managers.
“Interpersonal Skills at Work | John Hayes | Taylor & Francis Group.” Taylor & Francis,