Interpersonal skills are those pertaining to relationships with people. Interpersonal skills gauge how good you are at interacting with others. For example, the interpersonal skill of knowing how to respectfully communicate with someone is called “active listening.”
Interpersonal skills encompass many different important soft skills, including:
- Mentoring: Coaching one or more people
- Leadership: Leading and assisting others by example
- Communication: Conveying ideas effectively through verbal and non-verbal means
- Problem Solving: Resolving personal, group, and business conflict
- Negotiation: Coming to an agreement with others when opinions differ
- Empathy: Understanding individuals in the workspace
- Teamwork: Working together with various people to achieve a single goal
For a list of 28 workplace soft skills, click here
These skill sets require practice and awareness until they become habit. Here are just a few ways you can improve your interpersonal skills:
- Practice active listening skills during all conversations: Whenever you have a conversation, a particularly work-related or instructional one, be mindful of what the other person is saying. Repeat what they say in your own words to ensure you understand. By showing them you are actively listening, you are fostering a better working relationship.
- Let coworkers know when you appreciate them: It feels great when you know those you work hard with or for appreciate your efforts. Rather than keeping your appreciation to yourself, let others know when they do a good job. When people know they are appreciated, they are motivated to keep up the good work.
- Smile and use positive body language: Body language is important in communication. Taking pride in your appearance is just the first step. Practice standing in a welcoming way and other non-verbal communication skills. Most of all, smile when interacting with others.
- Promote a positive work environment: Positive work environments equal happy coworkers. A positive work environment reduces stress, promotes creativity and innovation, and helps keep employees productive. Touch base with coworkers often and see how they are doing. If you have downtime, offer your assistance to those who need it.
To find out 10 ways how not to improve your interpersonal skills, visit http://www.youtube.com/embed/ypquQYbilyU
One of the most effective ways to improve your interpersonal skills is to imagine how you would like to be treated by others. Take a look at the list of skills I listed at the top of this article and imagine how you would like to be treated in regard to this.
Interpersonal skills are not just important at the workplace, in school, and in life. They are critical regardless of what level you are on in the social or workplace hierarchy.
What are some examples of interpersonal skills you find the most important?
Allison Kay is co-founder of BeMyCareerCoach.com. Connect with her on Twitter at