Rohan has worked for company A for three years as a sales manager. In this time, he has closed more than one hundred deals, initiated the company's collaboration with other corporations, and earned a high customer satisfaction rating. He feels that his contribution to the company substantiates his desire for a raise or promotion. In addition, Rohan recently took a training course on improving interpersonal skills.

Therefore, he utilises the skills he learned in the course to negotiate for a raise. He implements his assertiveness, negotiation skills, and verbal communication skills to propose his application for a raise to the HR manager. These skills impress his HR manager, who offers him a raise.

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Effective interpersonal skills are the social traits that improve interactions and encourage seamless cooperation in the office. They are vital for career advancement and job interviews. 

Rohan's awareness of interpersonal skills and how to use them in workplace interactions greatly improved his chances of getting a raise. Furthermore, interpersonal skills deal with much more than negotiations. The importance of interpersonal skills is far-reaching and affects other interactions. These include daily activities, collaboration, conflict resolution, and improving morale.

These career skills are not restricted to managers and employees. During interviews, they are essential for job seekers to build a rapport with the interviewer and create a positive first impression.

What are Interpersonal Skills?

Interpersonal skills are also known as people skills or soft skills. They are fundamental career skills required to communicate, interact, and collaborate with others. 

Individuals who display remarkable interpersonal skills have a high PQ. PQ is a measure of how well a person interacts with others. A generic term for PQ is 'people smarts.' A person with a high PQ has a good grasp of the behaviours and traits necessary for powerful communication and captivating relations with others. As a result, they are exceptional employers in the office.

An exciting property of interpersonal skills is the assortment of different types of interpersonal skills. These skills cover communication and relationship success. Improving interpersonal skills in the workplace leads to fewer conflicts, seamless coordination of roles, and a healthy work environment.

Many people believe that charisma, assertiveness, and charm are innate personalities. This statement is false. Anyone can learn how to develop interpersonal skills and apply them in their careers and personal lives.

Furthermore, effective interpersonal skills require an aspect of authenticity. People should integrate their personality and reactions to certain social situations to accentuate their people skills.

Importance of Interpersonal Skills

People who have effective interpersonal skills can speak confidently and interpret non-verbal gestures and facial expressions. In addition, they are very charismatic and captivate others with their positive personality. These traits are significant in job interviews. CNBC reported that personality accounted for 70% of employers' reasons for hiring someone.

Furthermore, once individuals learn various ways to improve interpersonal skills, they become more assertive. These people can set healthy boundaries at work. Therefore, they can exclusively focus on their work. Assertive individuals also exhibit effective negotiation skills when asking for a raise or promotion.

Types of Interpersonal Skills

Before detailing interpersonal skills, people should know the difference between soft and hard skills. Hard skills encompass the technical abilities learned and enhanced through education and practice, such as accounting, software knowledge, and bilingualism. However, soft skills entail the traits required in everyday interactions and communication, including teamwork and self-discipline.

Below are the various types of interpersonal skills.

types of interpersonal skills

1. Verbal communication

One of the basic ways of improving interpersonal skills is improving verbal communication. Oral communication is an intrinsic component of a work environment. Verbal communication is crucial in fostering lasting relationships with customers and other businesses.

Moreover, effective communication facilitates the exchange of ideas and thoughts among colleagues. This skill also ensures increased productivity, reduced errors, and smoother operation.

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A 2020 report by Project revealed that employees are engaged in face-to-face communications 23% of the time.

2. Non-verbal communication

This form of communication comprises physical cues such as eye contact, handshakes, gestures, and facial expressions. Many people overlook their non-verbal communication. However, they are crucial in conveying interest, trust, reliability, and involvement. Strong eye contact, appropriate facial expressions, and confident posture are crucial in business.

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Professor Mehrabian uncovered that 7% of effective communication is verbal while a dominant 93% is non-verbal.

3. Assertiveness

The best employees are not the silent ones who take on any project and do not complain. Instead, the employees who relay their concerns, thoughts, and ideas are preferable. Assertive individuals respectfully explain themselves and defend their opinion. They also set boundaries, such as refusing to do more work than they are capable of. Emotional intelligence is crucial to maintaining respect while being assertive.

4. Negotiation skills

The value of negotiation in workplace interactions is undeniable. 60% of people consider negotiation an opportunity to reach an agreement. Negotiation involves the analysis of a problem, prior preparation, clear communication, and emotional control.

Furthermore, the importance of interpersonal skills is stressed in negotiation. It is paramount to maintain a positive relationship with others while negotiating. The best outcome of a negotiation is a win-win situation. In such a situation, the final agreement considers the interests of both parties.

5. Listening skills

Active listening transforms interpersonal relationships and individual performance. Various ways of demonstrating good listening skills include facing the speaker, not interrupting, and repeating the speaker's words for clarification. Employees feel valued when they are carefully listened to.

6. Collaboration

Improving interpersonal skills in the workplace transforms collaboration and coordination. The rise of remote work during the pandemic amplified the relevance of this trait. As people embraced working from home, they also had to work together to create a streamlined routine. These routines involved scheduling meetings, maintaining punctuality, and increasing communication.

7. Respectfulness

Respect is a core factor in relationship management. There are numerous ways to show respect in the workplace. One of the most overlooked examples includes being on time. It is important to respect other people's time and work. Therefore, one can ask their colleague what would be the best time to have a discussion or presentation with them instead of informing them without confirmation. Colleagues should also respect others' spaces and items.

8. Conflict resolution

Learning how to improve interpersonal skills requires an in-depth look into relationship management. Conflict resolution lies at the core of successful relationships. Conflicts are inevitable and manageable. In fact, 85% of employees experience some form of conflict.

Colleagues should have solutions to deal with any misunderstandings or unnecessary conflicts quickly. Managers and HR team members should determine how to develop interpersonal skills to maintain a positive, cooperative environment for all employees.

9. Empathy

Greater emphasis has been placed on emotional intelligence in recent years. People who demonstrate the ability to decode others' needs and respond with genuineness are highly appreciated in office settings. These people can read people's non-verbal communication and identify their emotions. They are also more likeable because their empathetic nature creates authentic relationships.

10. Openness to feedback

The dreaded aspect of working in teams is feedback. Of course, everyone likes praise and acknowledgement when they've done something right. However, some people take negative feedback personally or do not change their behaviours after getting such criticism. On the other hand, a person with a high PQ understands that feedback facilitates improvement.

11. Positive attitude

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Dr Lyubomirsky found that positive people were more confident, friendly, optimistic, and energetic. People also considered them more likeable. 

Showing positivity does not necessarily improve one's performance. Nevertheless, it is an incredible example of effective interpersonal skills. People with a positive outlook radiate energy and alertness. They also have less stress and better focus on their work.

12. Self-confidence

Confident people are more likely to take more risks in the workplace. For example, despite their fear of public speaking, they may register themselves to give a presentation or speech. Therefore, people who work on improving their interpersonal skills develop self-confidence, enhance their technical skills and assess their weaknesses.

13. Reliability

In an office, each team member has a role. The members are expected to fulfil their roles to the best of their ability. Employers and colleagues trust reliable employees to perform their work correctly with minimal or no supervision. Furthermore, reliable people are proactive with solutions.

14. Sense of humour

A common trait in charismatic people is humour. As people uncover how to develop interpersonal skills, they realise the importance of building genuine rapport during communication. The fastest way to initiate an interpersonal bond is through humour.

15. Leadership skills

Anyone who decodes the multiple ways of improving interpersonal skills can be a leader. They become charismatic, empathetic, reliable, and good communicators. These personality traits are essential in leadership and management. In addition, a good leader has a good relationship with their colleagues and motivates them to carry out their roles.

How to develop and improve interpersonal skills

Interpersonal skills are most important to communicate properly in an organization. Here are five effective ways to improve interpersonal skills:

1. Promote a positive work culture

Effective interpersonal skills are the cornerstone of a positive work environment. Creating a culture of honest communication, reliability, and mutual respect uplifts the team's spirits. Moreover, a positive culture allows employees to focus on improving interpersonal skills in the workplace and improve their collaboration.

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Forbes explains that employees who believe that they are in a positive work environment are 21% more dedicated to the company’s growth than those who have an opposing view.

2. Foster healthy work relationships

Collaboration among colleagues requires mutual trust and friendly interactions. The staff should learn how to improve interpersonal skills to develop healthy work relationships. Skills such as conflict resolution, respectfulness, and assertiveness play a major role in building these relationships.

In addition, healthy relationships boost employee happiness. A study by Apollo Technical found that productivity increases by 31% when the general mood among employees is happiness.

3. Encourage active listening at work

Listening is a skill people should train. According to HBR, multiple reports showed that people who listened to a talk could only recall 25% of the content after two months. Besides learning interpersonal skills, employees should use these skills in their daily interactions.

Active listening ensures that people clearly hear the instructions and do the work accordingly. This skill also fosters better relationships and improves the employees' morale.

4. Recognise good behaviour

Employees who demonstrate effective interpersonal skills should be rewarded 🎁. These rewards may feature promotions, raises, or bonuses. Good behaviour includes respectful communication, active listening, conflict resolution, and reliability. Furthermore, managers can publicly acknowledge good deeds and quality work. For example, when a quiet employee offers to conduct a presentation.

A recent study detailed that recognition and rewards were 69% responsible for their satisfaction with their employer.

5. Offer training on interpersonal skills

Individuals with exceptional people skills thrive in the corporate sector. In a 2016 Wonderlic study, 93% of recruiters considered soft skills essential. Therefore, small businesses and large organisations should offer training courses on improving interpersonal skills. In these courses, employees gain the skills to create empowering relationships with team members, colleagues, and consumers.

Conclusion

Why do people skills matter? Many occupations involve collaboration with others in various capacities. These career skills are beneficial in establishing meaningful relationships and facilitating respectful communication. Furthermore, interpersonal skills are much more than verbal communication.

In the workplace, there may be minor conflicts and misunderstandings. These challenges affect an organisation's progression as the employees develop low morale and may choose to leave the company. Developing interpersonal skills allows administrative staff to hone their listening skills, enhance conflict resolution, and sharpen their leadership skills.

Other staff also understand the importance of interpersonal skills such as respectfulness and reliability in creating a positive work environment. An in-depth look into improving interpersonal skills reveals how everyone can enhance their PQ.

Additionally, employees also have a role in the development of soft skills. For example, they can provide training courses on developing interpersonal skills and creating a healthy work environment where these essential skills thrive.

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Mary Madhavi Reddy

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Mary is a content marketer with 20 years of experience. Her career spans GE Money, Google, and some growth-stage startups. At Empuls, she handles product messaging and positioning.