Why interpersonal skills are important
As much as being up to date on the latest trends and techniques in your industry is important, an employee with strong people skills is what every manager wishes for. These interpersonal skills are much harder to come by than technical knowledge. Social skills enable us to maximise effective and productive human interaction.
Interpersonal skills, often referred to under the umbrella term of ‘soft skills’, enable us to do more than just communicate with one and other. Our human skills will help us to work with others and build rapport with them but they will also help you to respond to complaints and conflict in a productive manner.
It has been said that good manners cost nothing and often in business that’s the truth. Being anything but courteous when communicating with customers and colleagues. It fosters relationships and shows that you care about making the other person comfortable.
You may have heard of the ‘golden rule’, that you should treat others the way that you would like to be treated. When it comes to human interaction, the true expression of respect is something called the ‘platinum rule’ – treating others the way that they would like for you to treat them.
If you are working with a customer who is upset about something, you might feel as if they have overreacted at first. You may be right but try not to react with your gut instinct. Perspective gives you the ability to understand how what has happened is affecting your customer.
Perhaps to you, having an order arrive one day late is not a big deal, but to your customer, it could mean lost sales, lost productivity, embarrassment, or any number of things. It is important to put yourself in another person’s shoes, understand – and express that understanding – so that the customer feels heard and acknowledged.
The ability to understand the various communication styles each of us uses is a very useful skill to possess. One individual’s way of communicating with the world could be very different from your own. These differences could create barriers to relationship building if you don’t understand how their communication style.
For example, a person who you perceive as being rude or cold may simply be reserved or shy. Or a person you see as intrusive or forward may simply be interested in general and does not mean any disrespect. This is just one form of keeping an open mind when working with others – a huge factor in interpersonal skills!