There’s no one company in the world that does not run without communication. No one on Earth is a lone wolf. In one way or another, you will have to work with another person in order to make a living, in this case, to make a whole company operate.
This just means that great communication equates to great success in your career. You will also find your job a lot more fulfilling, knowing that you have a good relationship with your clients and colleagues. This skill is what we call an interpersonal skill.
Interpersonal skill is the ability to interact and communicate with other people effectively. By effectively, we mean you could express your thoughts and concerns clearly and professionally to your superiors, colleagues, clients, and customers. You also show great communication skills when you can praise your colleague for a job well done or defend yourself in an argument.
By being a good communicator, you contribute in a way to your teammates’ efficiency. All of you get to enjoy the workspace a lot more and your sales and profit go up. Now don’t feel bad if you weren’t born with interpersonal skills; some people just prefer to keep to themselves and are unable to start a dialogue. But even if you find it extremely difficult to be sociable as well as clear with the message you are trying to convey, you can always practice developing interpersonal skills with careful attention.
Below are some tips on how you can brush off your interpersonal skills or develop them.
1. Have goals.
You need to know what exactly is your goal in terms of interpersonal skills. What is your purpose? What impression do you want to leave your clients? What is the work dynamic that you want to be a part of?
First, know your strength and in what particular situation does your interpersonal skill shine the most. During conversations, you can bring this up without coming off as cocky.
To know if you’re learning properly, you must check if you are already able to chat with someone else. Relax. Breathe. Improve your weak spot by being committed to it. Your goal should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound.
2. Listen around.
Those with great interpersonal skills are more often than not, observant. They notice people from afar and even more so when they begin to open their mouths. If you also observe closely in a public place, you’d notice that it’s so easy to know who listens, who talks, and who does both.
But our bottom line is, that people who have interpersonal skills are easy to notice in a crowd. Now is your chance to really see and hear how these people interact and learn from their day-to-day grind. Deeply analyze what contributes to the success of their conversations. Take note that communication is not just words but involves more than half of body gestures. If you have a friend who has good interpersonal skills, don’t hesitate to ask for tips. Or if you’re not close, talk to another employee who might be able to help you improve this skill.
3. Do not forget to practice!
While some people are naturally born extroverted, interpersonal skills can still be developed through constant and regular practice. There is a goal that you are trying to achieve so you need to think of ways on how you could practice effective communication. You can always employ the help of a mentor who will be responsible for developing your interpersonal skills. For instance, you can ask them for a bit of role-playing dialogue. Ask for feedback afterward on how you can improve and traits you should maintain.
Of course, there is still an informal training series of sessions that would zoom in on interpersonal skills. You may ask your HR department or direct superior about opportunities available to you such as attending public speaking workshops. If none, you can always ask for leads from your colleagues or book and video recos they can give you to hone your interpersonal skills.
4. Implement changes based on feedback.
As much as possible, have trust in the feedback so that you will be able to incorporate necessary changes. Does this work for me? Won’t this work? Out of anyone in the world, you know yourself best so analyze the feedback and select which ones you could dedicate time to improving.
Have a calendar alarm on when your final evaluation, whether personal or from the company, would be. After some time, reflect on what has changed and what you still need to change. Develop a strategy to improve and adjust your goals, based on your current achievements.
5. Have your full attention to the conversation.
You will be a great communicator if you know not only to express yourself but also how to listen attentively. Make sure first that you completely understand the information that was given. Ask questions for clarity. Once you’re sure that you understood what was being talked about, now is the time to share your two cents about the matter. Cheer them for what they discussed and then provide your insights and suggestions. The conversation should be the focus, and your attention should not shift from one person to another.
6. Record yourself when talking to someone.
Ask whoever you are talking to if you can record your conversation. Or you can deliberately ask them to help you improve your interpersonal skills by asking if they can have a recorded mock conversation with you. Make it a point to listen to the recording right after you hear it and assess your communication style. You might find yourself cringing in some parts but most importantly, adjust accordingly.
7. Have good eye contact and posture.
Even in non-professional setups, you can never underestimate the power of straight eye contact. Imagine the conversations that will run if only you can look at another person’s eyes directly. It shows that you listen to them, respect them, and value their opinions and stories. Your eyes may move a bit but after a while, fixate it on the person you are talking with. You might get self-conscious at the start, but the more you do it, the more natural it becomes to you.
And of course, in an office setup, words are not the only two things that business contacts would notice. They can also look at your gestures including good posture. To maintain good posture throughout the day, sit in an ergonomic office chair. You may also use standing desk converters and accessories such as monitor mounts to improve your posture and minimize strain in your eyes, neck, and back.