What are interpersonal skills? - Definition and Importance

Introduction

Human beings communicate at various levels. Interpersonal communication is defined as all communications we share with fellow human beings. Even as professional individuals, our success or failure is marked by effective communication. It is through interpersonal communication that information is distributed or shared among people. Through interpersonal skills, important decisions are taken, shared, and made known to people within and outside organizations as a team. 

We converse with our peers, batchmates, colleagues, and our employers and clients. Communication is one thing we all humans share in common with each other.  Can you imagine a world where there is no communication? Can’t you, right? This itself proves to you what an integral part of our overall lives; personally and professionally, it is. Our formal conversations are shorter in duration than our chit chats in an informal scenario. We all wish to excel in our workspace. But you need to understand that being only book smart won’t take you to higher positions. It would be best if you were clear in your head and even spoke. Communication is a big factor determining your fate anywhere, be it a professional or a personal relationship. This article emphasizes the importance of interpersonal communication in a formal setting. 

interpersonal skills
January 20, 2022
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Table of Contents

What are interpersonal skills?  

As human beings tend to be social, we cannot live in isolation. We need to communicate with others to survive in society. There are various reasons for these communications: personal, emotional, psychological, educational, social, financial, professional, cultural, etc. In most cases, interpersonal communication is studied academically to improve communicational skills and become an effective communicator/speaker. 

We should be able to communicate effectively. This is necessary to arrive at success personally as well as professionally. Moreover, the majority of the companies promote their respective products to the audience. They do so through advertisements. Thus, it becomes clear that no business company can survive without powerful and productive communication or interpersonal communication. 

Why interpersonal communication is essential in a workspace? 

We need to understand that communication in general, between our family or friends, is stark opposite to the professional world. This is due to the reason that the fundamental objective of these two scenarios varies. For instance, there is a lot of advancement in technology in the modern world. So, most of our communication happens through mobile phones, either through phone calls or texts. 

You can also read our article on Office Communication.

Now, when we speak to a loved one, we might talk about things that are even non-sensical for hours without any clear objective. Albeit even to pass the time or know how their day went by. This conversation can even last for hours, making the parties stronger than ever. It’s more informal, so to say. 

But, when we communicate in a professional environment, it is poles apart from how we talk to our friends or family. We need to speak in a crisp, concise, logical, and coherent manner. This is essential to make the communication clear and informative. Suppose, when you are in the office, if you fail to present your thoughts consistently and organized, the odds are that your ideas won’t be understood and, hence, not approved. Therefore, you must learn how to become an effective communicator and hone your communication skills for better job opportunities or even seek promotions in your workspace. It’s more formal. 

Lack of good communication skills might be concluded as incompetence on your part to deliver your projects or responsibilities efficiently. You might be considered a hindrance. It may even lead to conflicts in the workplace and hence, cause mismanagement, and others might even develop a sense of dislike for you as a colleague. 

Importance of good communication skills in the pandemic 

During the COVID-19 pandemic that has struck the entire world by a storm, working from home has certainly become the call of action. Now that we are adjusting to the “new normal”, it’s time we embrace the work from home culture and understand how communication is becoming more and more integral for our day to day work activities. 

By now, we have understood that communication plays a significant role in our daily lives. Only through good interpersonal skills can we fulfil our needs – cultural, financial, personal, or professional. Your interpersonal skills in an office are directly proportional to your ability to adapt and work in a corporate world. The sound your interpersonal skills, the better you are at your job. 

It is impossible to think of a world devoid of communication. By now, a question must be lingering in your mind – how to improve your interpersonal communicational skills? Read on to know more. 

You can also read our article on Employability Skills.

Here’s how you can grow interpersonal skills 

Keep it crisp 

Do not deflect from the main aim of the conversation. Keep it professional by restricting informal events that might be useless for the listener. Make sure it’s informative, and the message you want to send across is mentioned without straying from the main objective of the conversation. 

Maintain eye contact 

You know the saying “eyes speak a lot and tell you a lot”. This is, in fact, very true. Words become ten times more powerful. They carry more weightage when delivered with firm eye contact with the listener or the receiver. 

The right posture 

The way we hold ourselves, the way we walk, talk, sit or stand, changes according to our situation. When one is nervous, they start fidgeting with things. Remember your posture speaks volumes for your personality and how mentally ready you are for the task, even if you have not spoken a single word out loud. When we are talking to a person, we are well familiarised with. We are not that conscious about our posture. However, one needs to learn how to present themselves to clients or people in the first encounter. For instance- 

If one is in a slumped position, it sends the message that they have low confidence and might not be ready for the task. If one is an erect posture, it signifies that they are active, confident, energetic, and depicts that you are right for the work. This way you earn more projects. This also asserts an authoritative position and maintains your role as a leader. 

Even the way you keep your arms says a lot. On the one hand, if you cross your arm, it seems negative, as if you are not ready to listen. On the other hand, if you have uncrossed arms, it depicts that you are willing to listen. 

Be attentive and active. 

Successful communication will only be acquired if you are fully attentive and devoted to the one listening. Clarification is key to effective communication. The smoothly you carry out the conversation, the better you come across. 

Don’t be too fast 

The speed you speak conveys whether you are relaxed or in a hurry. It even confuses the fluency with which you carry out your conversation. 

Don’t use slangs 

Slangs are good when kept confined only to informal conversations. These are fine and acceptable when you are talking in a peer group. Slangs like “wanna” instead of “want to” or “gonna” instead of “going to” should be avoided. Instead of using the most used word what’s up, ask – What are you doing? It gives the wrong message that you are not serious and may seem immature and kiddish. 

Use the right tone and pitch. 

Our non-verbal cues also play an essential role. The significance of what we say depends on our delivery, tone, pitch, tempo, and volume. These elements add more weight to what we say. Talk politely. Make sure your voice is not shrill. It causes repulsion to the other person. Even our facial expressions showcase the intent behind us engaging in the conversation. Our face is the most expressive part of our body, and hence, they are taken as clues to decode a message. Be subtle. Remember the phrase “actions speak louder than words” and imply it in life during such scenarios. 

Don’t be an excessive chatter. 

Understand the other person and read the room. You will sense alertness that you shouldn’t keep talking. Take the right amount of pauses. Create some space for the other person to talk and speak as well. This will also save you a lot of energy, as you will get to know whether the other person can understand you fully or not. As it said, “silence are pauses pregnant with meaning” devote yourself to this thought. Often our silence says a lot too. 

Maintain a safe distance 

Ensure there is at least four to six feet of distance between you and the other person. The situation seems less emotional and affectionate and more professional and formal. 

Become our Subject Matter Expert 

While understanding the importance of interpersonal communication, here’s an amazing part-time job opportunity for you. Generating a second source of income through part-time jobs can be a viable option you can consider while you are a student. This will act as pocket money, plus it will help you take your mind off those strenuous tasks you perform for a while. Teaching has proven to be a great way to gain new knowledge while imparting it. When you teach, you not only pass on the information you know and understand but also learn a couple of new things from your students. Now, as a student, you would hardly have any time to go out and teach. That’s where Chegg India’s role comes in. At Chegg India, you can teach from the comfort of your home. 

Chegg India, a premier educational services firm, offers students and graduates a chance to become subject matter experts in engineering, business, health care, mathematics, sciences, etc. Chegg can act as an online learning platform where you can apply for the subject matter expert role. Your tasks would include answering academic questions on the Question and Answer Board of the website in your area of expertise. Not only will you impart knowledge to your students, but this would also help you learn something new. 

How to apply at Chegg India as a Subject Matter Expert? 

Click on this link to apply for the job of Subject Matter Expert: Here

After signing up, you would be required to appear for an online test, which is a screening process, which will help decide your fluency in the subject and your competency. The minimum passing percentage is 60%. Once you pass the exam, you can upload the necessary documents. 

Final thoughts 

We, humans, rely a lot on oral communication. However, when communicating orally in a formal setting, we find it hard and become conscious of ourselves. Therefore, failing miserably to convey our ideas and thoughts. One needs to realize that communication is extremely crucial to deal with the ways of the world and harness success professionally. One cannot think of excelling at their jobs without communication competence. 

No doubt, everyone has their own personal and interpersonal style when it comes to talking. While it comes naturally to some through their personality and instincts, that doesn’t mean it can’t be developed and improved. There are some things that you can’t learn from textbooks. Only through sheer confidence and continuous interactions with others can you become better with interpersonal skills in a professional world. It may take some time but don’t you lose hope. Everyone grows and evolves and adapts to good communication skills swiftly at their own pace. 

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