Your ability to communicate, interact and develop relationships with others can be a big determining factor to how successful you are in life; on a professional level and on a personal level. Because the way we connect with others is extremely important both in and out of the workplace. Having good interpersonal skills is useful in so many different ways. It helps us convey ideas effectively, it makes us good team players, it improves our problem solving skills, it allows us to become better negotiators, it makes us better managers, and it heightens our ability to be empathetic and understanding of others. So it doesn’t matter whether you’re an apprentice or CEO of your own company, everyone can benefit from brushing up on their interpersonal skills!
Here are some ways you can improve yours:
Be aware of how you interact with people
The first step is to have awareness of how you communicate with others. We have all been developing our social abilities since childhood, so it’s just about tapping into these and being mindful about how we apply soft skills in different situations.
Learn to listen to others
Listening is extremely important when developing your interpersonal skills in the workplace. Because being a good communicator is more than just being a good speaker – it means being a good listener too. Improving your listening skills can help you build better relationships with colleagues at every level.
Choose your words wisely
Practice clarity and select your words with care when you are talking to others. Ask yourself whether a word could be misunderstood or whether your meaning could be misconstrued. It’s important to think before you speak if your message isn’t the easiest to convey. Encourage open dialogue too so you can get feedback and answer any doubts or questions.
Understand communication failures
Perfect communication simply does not exist and problems are inevitable in any office or workplace. If a project is unsuccessful or you encounter workflow difficulties due to poor communication, it’s important to understand why. Analyse what went wrong and try to make positive changes going forward to avoid the same mistakes from happening again in the future.
Manage stress levels
Whilst stress is not always a bad thing at work, too much of it can impact negatively on the way we communicate – it can have a detrimental effect on the way we interact with team members. So it’s important to manage our stress levels effectively. Learn to recognise signs of stress and understand the triggers, then take the necessary actions to minimise this.
Work on emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand emotion – our own and the emotions of others. It helps us develop empathy, making it easier to see things from someone else’s point of view and it also helps us manage our own feelings better. Good emotional intelligence is fantastic for building trust, gaining respect and developing meaningful relationships with both friends and colleagues. If you’re interested in finding out more, a great book to read is ‘Emotional Intelligence: Why it Can Matter More Than IQ’ by Daniel Goleman. This book will provide interesting insight on how we can apply better emotional intelligence in our everyday lives, including the workplace.