The 10 Essential Interpersonal Skills

interpersonal_skillsCommunication is the base of any interpersonal relation.

It might sound simple, but most of us make mistakes because we don’t actually know what a good communication means. It is expressed in many ways, some of them being bad.

The word “communication” originates from the Latin word “communicare” which can be at shortest explained as: sharing.

So, what we can do to upraise the level of our communication with others?

1. Verbal Communication

Speak! Let the communication begin with you.

Be self-confident and start communication, do not wait and expect from the other person to do it.

Be direct, but gentle.

Try as clearly as possible to say what you want, but do not forget that the basis of good communication is respect and kindness.

Put the emphasis on important things, not trivialities. You cannot discuss about everything all at once. Keep your focus on what is your priority.

Do not allow stress to speak for you. If you’re really upset, take a break, relax and return to conversation when you are ready.

2. Non-Verbal Communication

Look the interlocutor in their eyes. Occasionally nod your head in order to make them know that you are listening.

Body language is very important, so pay attention to it: free your hands, let their position show that you are relaxed; do not bend them and do not wave too much. Tapping on the table is not advisable, nor is shaking a leg under the table.

Let your whole body give the impression of relaxation – it will help the interlocutor to relax too.

3. Listening

”Nature gave us one tongue and two ears so we could hear twice as much as we speak.“ Epictetus, Greek philosopher.

Knowing how to listen is probably the most important thing in interpersonal relations.

We often don’t listen to others or only listen superficially. The real listening is much more than accurately hearing the words of another person. True listening is a real skill and it has to be learned.

Be attentive and focused.

Listen with empathy, because it means that you understand the feelings of another person.

Emotional acceptance helps you understand how a person thinks, regardless of whether you agree with them or not.

Take your time to listen, feel, clarify yourself, shape the response. That takes time.

4. Questioning

Be curious. It means that you are interested in what other person has to share.

Ask questions to check if you understood well what you have been told.

Rephrase interlocutor’s words if you are not sure you are quite clear of what he/she said.

5. Manners

Nice manners have ever been a reflection of one’s upbringing and a level of culture.

Unfortunately, in the current daily communication they are neglected. But, fortunately, we can use them to improve interpersonal relationships.

Act natural and sincere.

Say “thank you”, even for small favors.

Give compliments – of course, with a good measure, so that it does not sound like flattery.

Do not be boastful.

Do not badmouth and spread gossips.

Do not be late, respect other people’s time.

Avoid inappropriate jokes.

Take care of your appearance, because it talks about your esteem, yourself as well as others.

6. Problem Solving

We come into problems that need to be solved day by day, through the entirety of our lives.

Some of those problems are personal, and many of them arise from relationships with other people.

The most important thing is not to ignore the problems and hope for them to be solved spontaneously.

Regardless of the nature of problems, they should be solved quickly and we should keep in mind how much we can contribute to their solution.

When solving problems, we should be enthusiastic, innovative, constructive, ready to the challenges and ready to cooperate with others.

7. Social Awareness

If you want to have good relations with other people, whatever the kind of relationship it might be, it is very important to be socially conscious person.

Issues such as: differences in social status, gender, political or religious affiliation, cultural heritage, financial position, as well as many similar differences, should not be an obstacle in establishing quality relationships between people.

This requires an open mind and readiness to accept various forms of behavior that shape one’s personality.

8. Self-Management

This requires a permanent and continuous work on ourselves and mostly refers to the ability to manage emotions.

We must reign over them, not submit to them.

Using emotions, we can make external events pleasant or unpleasant, useful or harmful, joyful or sad.

Emotions influence our assessment of external reality, and they also contribute to our happiness or unhappiness.

Because of the great impact that emotions have on our life, it is very important that we manage ourselves and our life in a good way: pay ourselves enough attention, care about ourselves, be truthful and honest, and master our everyday life in a way that suits us best.

9. Responsibility and Accountability

Responsibility means conscientiously and properly performing duties and obligations.

When we talk about “duty and obligation“, responsibility means readiness of the person to do what is necessary with a highest level of awareness about the importance of the task, so to say.

Accountability is even more than that, it means that an individual is willing to perceive their personal responsibility and take an active role in making decisions governing their actions, and their own participation in the events.

Responsibility and accountability are key characteristics by which we can assess if a person is really mature and capable. Based on that, we can ultimately decide whether we want to have any relationship with someone. At the same time, we should also estimate ourselves in this regard.

10. Assertiveness

Someone explained assertiveness in a likable way as: politely say “no!“.

Assertive behavior represents a dedication to our own rights through the expression of our thoughts, feelings and beliefs in direct, honest and appropriate manner, showing at the same time respect of the rights of others.

Useful assertive techniques:

  • Repeating the request: when our request is short and clear, we constantly repeat it.
  • Refusing another’s request: resolutely refuse, say no, very briefly explain the reasons and decisively repeat – no.

Importance of a good balance

When you master certain skills of good communication, you will have a better position in interpersonal relationships.

Moreover, you will do a lot for yourself, your family, friends and business associates.

A good balance can basically be described as any kind of harmony, and harmony is a precondition for high-quality, healthy and happy life.

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