Follow Us

Your Personal and Professional Development: Plans, Tips and Lists

Powered by Bookboon, your personal eLibrary with 1,700+ eBooks on soft skills and personal development

Interpersonal skills explained

Posted in Articles

Interpersonal skills. You use them every day without even knowing it. We use interpersonal skills when we communicate and interact with people both personally and professionally. But what are these skills? And why are they so important?

Interpersonal skills explained

Interpersonal skills or ‘soft’ skills, as they are often called, are the tools we use to effectively navigate through our every day lives. There is a wide variety of skills which could be classified as interpersonal but many are centred around communication.

Let’s discuss a few.

Interpersonal Skill 1: Listening

Active listening is not the same as just hearing. Many of us make the mistake of listening to respond rather than listening to understand. Active listening involves listening for meaning, not just listening to the words that are spoken, and its principles can be applied to workplace communications. Active listening demonstrates your undivided attention, encourages the other party to continue speaking, and can build rapport and understanding between you and the speaker.

For more: 

Learn how to listen and apply it to your everyday life here: What is Active Listening by Paul Newton 

Interpersonal Skill 2: Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to manage and understand the emotions you experience as well as those of the people around you.

Those of us with high emotional intelligence have an easier time creating and maintaining meaningful and lasting interpersonal relationships both personally and professionally. They also have a better understanding of their own emotional and psychological state and can therefore manage feelings of stress, anxiety and even depression.

For more: 

Discover the secrets behind emotional intelligence here: Emotional Intelligence Secrets by Crystal Jonas

Interpersonal Skill 3: Body language

As if communicating verbally wasn’t enough, our bodies actually have a language of our own. And it can be very telling.

The benefits of becoming more conscious of and working with your body language can be immense. Understanding what you communicate through your body language, as well as what others are saying through their own, can add new and exciting dimensions to your professional as well as personal life. Exhibiting confident body language can improve sales, service, leadership and teamwork skills. Body language can also be used to relax and better enjoy quality time with friends and family. And, amazingly, can actually have an affect on your physical and mental health! Body language has been proven to increase health and decrease stress levels through learning more about how you and others function.

For more:

Decode the mystery of what your body is telling others here: Conscious body language by Kurt Larsson

Interpersonal Skill 4: Teamwork

You have probably come across the phrase ‘Teamwork makes the dream work’ somewhere. Whether searching for an inspirational desktop background or hanging on the wall of your over-enthusiastic coworker’s office, we see this phrase a lot. However, it’s actually true. Collaborating with a group of people stimulates creativity, can increase productivity, builds a sense of community, improves problem-solving and can lead to new innovations and ideas that likely couldn’t have come from just one person.

For more: 

Discover the myths and realities of teamwork here: The Myths and Realities of Teamwork 

Why are interpersonal skills important?

Improving and developing your interpersonal skills can lead to further success both at work and in your personal life. Strong soft skills will make a noticeable difference during job interviews, sales pitches, social events and even one-on-one conversations.

What is Active Listening?

To find out more about improving your interpersonal skills, read our eBook "What is Active Listening?".

Read more