Interpersonal skills are used by each of us every time we interact with anyone in our lives, whether parents, friends, colleagues or even strangers. Making sure these are consistently honed, improved and evaluated can offer a great deal of value, particularly in the workplace. This CPD article will outline the importance and benefits of effective interpersonal communication skills, and provide some simple tips on how to enhance them.
What is interpersonal communication?
Interpersonal communication typically refers to the exchange of information, thoughts, feelings, and ideas between two or more people. It's the process of sending and receiving messages through verbal and nonverbal cues, such as words, gestures, facial expressions, tone of voice, and body language. Effective interpersonal communication involves active listening, empathy, understanding, and adapting one's communication style to connect with others in meaningful ways.
Why is interpersonal communication important?
Interpersonal communication is extremely important and can serve as the foundation for building and maintaining healthy relationships, both personal and professional. Knowing how to properly apply these skills will offer numerous advantages, including:
- Effective Relationship Building: People need to express their feelings and emotions to connect with others on a deeper level and create meaningful relationships. Clear and effective communication allows individuals to share their joys, concerns, fostering trust and empathy that can lead to stronger, emotional bonds. This can help to understand others' perspectives and build more compassionate and supportive interactions.
- Improve Career Prospects: Developing interpersonal communication and related soft skills through Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is valued by employers and can enhance a CV. These skills are often transferable across different roles and industries. Individuals who are able to communicate clearly tend to excel in interviews, presentations and can lead to career advancement.
- Personal Growth: Engaging in interpersonal communication requires self-awareness, reflection and self-improvement. Refining your own communication style and preferences can improve your interactions with others, enhance your emotional intelligence and lead to personal growth.
- Stronger Networking: Good communication makes it easier to connect with new people and expand your professional network. Building rapport through communication opens doors to opportunities and collaborations.
- Diversity and Inclusion: Proper interpersonal communication is vital for connecting with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures, promoting cross-cultural understanding, respectful interactions and inclusion.
- Positive Personal Impact: Individuals with strong interpersonal skills, in general, are often perceived as approachable, friendly, and trustworthy. A positive impression can lead to more fulfilling social interactions in an individual’s personal and professional life.