How to assess your own interpersonal communication skills

How to assess your own interpersonal communication skills

Good interpersonal skills are a fundamental part of any successful relationship, whether at home, your workplace, or school. If you want to be a good communicator, you must be skilled in all the aspects of interpersonal communication. Even though soft skills like communication can be hard to measure, understanding these skills will help you identify areas in which you might improve.

How to assess your interpersonal communication skill

To assess your interpersonal communication skills, you can ask yourself the following questions:

  1. How well can I anticipate and predict possible causes for confusion and miscommunication, and how good am I at dealing with them upfront?
  2. How often do recipients fully understand my messages, emails, or other documents? Do I give enough information and detail?
  3. Do I ask questions when I don’t understand something, or do I keep it to myself?
  4. Do people often misunderstand my messages? Am I often surprised that they don’t understand what I am saying?
  5. Is it easy for me to understand someone else’s point of view during a conversation?
  6. Do I think about how my responses will be perceived by others, or do I speak without thinking? 
  7. Can I use communication platforms such as email to quickly and efficiently communicate complex issues?
  8. Do I find it difficult to see and read people’s body language?
  9. Do I struggle to find the right words to convey my message?

If you find it difficult to answer any of these questions, it might be something to think about. You might want to write down the areas in which you are struggling and reconsider your approach to communication and receiving information. That being said, even someone who has answered these questions with the utmost confidence might still have room for improvement. Even if you think you are the world’s mos skilled communicator, there is no downside to learning new skills and improving on the ones you have.

Why Improve Interpersonal Skills?

Communication is essential if you want to advance your career. This skill will help you to get customers, maintain relationships, negotiate, and conflict resolution. Here are some interpersonal skills that are particularly important to look at:

  • Verbal communication skills

This includes your ability to speak clearly and concisely, and appropriately. You should be able to choose the correct tone of voice and vocabulary for the given situation. For example, you might speak differently when giving a eulogy at a funeral than you would presenting a new idea to your manager.

  • Active listening

How good are you at giving someone your undivided attention during a conversation? It is important that you genuinely listen to what others are saying and show engagement with verbal and non-verbal responses ( such as nodding, eye contact, facial expressions, and posture). You must also pay attention to the other person’s non-verbal cues and body language.

Non-verbal communication, like your body language, can say just as much as your words, if not more. Examples of open body language include nodding, eye contact, smiling, and a relaxed posture. Crossed arms, restless behavior, and shifting eyes are examples of closed body language.

Here are some steps to help you get started:

  1. Figure out what you need to improve.
  2. Observe others.
  3. Learn control over your emotions.
  4. Think back on previous social interactions.
  5. Practice your skills.
  6. Get constructive feedback from others.

Assessing and improving your interpersonal communication skills can have a wealth of benefits for you. It can help you to build strong relationships, have efficient teamwork, build good morale, etc.

Interpersonal communication skills in the workplace

Interpersonal communication skills in the workplace

How well do you communicate with others? Developing your interpersonal people skills can be vital for your career success. There is a continuous flow of communication in any business setting, both non-verbally and verbally, in person and online. When employees can not effectively navigate this flow of communication, it will be detrimental to the productivity of business processes.

Interpersonal Communication and Remote Work

With the emergence of the pandemic, we have all witnessed a change in the way that peers communicate. Businesses have learned to rely more on digital platforms to facilitate communication between employees to reach business goals. Companies must try to retain effective communication and drive conversations even when employees work from different places. In this way, businesses will grow resilient to change as their processes won’t be interrupted due to remote working.

The Components of Interpersonal Communication

To fully develop good communication skills in the workplace, you must understand the different components of communication.

  1. Communicators: Both the sender and the receiver of a message are seen as communicators, and each interaction must have at least two communicators.
  2. Message: The message can be conveyed in many different ways depending on the situation. You can convey a message through speech, body language, tone of voice, gestures, eye contact, facial expressions, etc. Verbal messages can go hand-in-hand with non-verbal communication that adds more context, shows deception, interest, and confidence (or lack thereof).
  3. Noise: This refers to barriers that can impede or distort the message that the sender is trying to convey. This includes things like Jargon, language barriers, interruptions, literal noise, inattention, etc.
  4. Feedback: This is the response that the receiver gives to the original message. This creates a two-way flow of communication, allowing the sender to know that the receiver understands the message.
  5. Context: There are many different contexts in which communication can occur, such as the environmental, political, cultural, social, and emotional contexts. The context of the conversation dramatically impacts the expected tone and direction of the communication.
  6. Channel: How is this message being communicated? The medium that is used for communication is just as important as the context. This can be in person, in writing, online, etc.

How to Improve Interpersonal Communication in the Workplace

Employees are becoming more aware of the importance of having good interpersonal skills as the business climate continues to change amid the pandemic.  Although communication skills can be challenging to measure, you can develop them through practice and awareness.

Here are some tips that you can follow to become a good communicator:

  1. Do your research: Gather some facts about good interpersonal communication and prepare for meaningful conversations that you are planning to have. Ensure you know what you want to communicate before going into meetings or planning e-mails and interactions.
  2. Consider who you will be talking to: Consider the personalities and mindsets of the other participants of an interaction. Find the right time and channel for your message and adapt your communication style accordingly. Some communications are best suited for face-to-face meetings, while others can simply take place on email.
  3. Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses: Self-evaluation can be very useful when developing soft skills such as social skills and people skills. You can also ask for constructive feedback from coworkers and managers as a learning opportunity for future interactions.

Developing strong interpersonal skills can have many benefits for you, from helping you streamline your work and solve problems to facilitating conflict management and conveying important information to colleagues and managers.

Five Business Networking Faux-Pas To Avoid For Young Professionals

business-networking-young-professionalsStarting your career in your chosen field is certainly an exciting time in your life. As your career begins to take off and flourish, there are certain activities and behaviours you can engage in to make the transition into work like more successful and fulfilling. One of these activities is often dreaded and feared by most, let alone young professionals who have little to no practice engaging in it: networking.

Despite this inherent fear, many people choose to overcome it and engage in as many networking opportunities as possible. They do so because they’ve realized one simple truth: your network is your net-worth. The more people you know, the more relationships you form, the more you will succeed in your field, whatever field that may be and regardless of the position you hold.

Now that we’ve established the importance of networking, there are some behaviours to stay away from when at a networking event. These behaviours will serve to not only undermine your executive presence, but will also result in a less-than-stellar networking “performance.” Here are four faux-pas to avoid while networking:

  1. Smelling like smoke
    It is understandable that many people smoke these days. However, if you are a smoker, it is really important that you do not go into a networking event right after smoking a cigarette. Non-smokers (and even many smokers) can’t handle the smell of second hand smoke on someone else. Remember, you are going to this event to meet people and engage them, and turning them off with cigarette smoke is not a great way to start.
  2. Trying to talk to everyoneIt is true that in networking and in business networking, the idea is to touch as many people as possible. You definitely do not want to be talking to the same person the whole night, as that defeats the purpose! However, you don’t want to be simply introducing yourself to someone, handing them your card and then moving on. It is important to establish a rapport with someone before you exit the conversation, to ensure they remember you. Handing them your card is simply not enough to do that.
  1. Have professional-looking business cards, no matter what stage you’re at
    Even if you are still a student, it is important to have professional-looking business cards (and enough of them!). Heavy card stock is always good, and a simple, clean look can go a long way. Make sure your information is easy to read and straightforward. If you are a student, your school likely has a business card format that you could use.
  2. Don’t bring a friend
    The idea at networking events is to meet new people, not to catch up with a friend. Often, when friends go to networking events together, they spend most of their time talking to each other. Going alone will force you to engage with and talk to others.
  3. Don’t drink too much
    This may seem like an obvious one, but often in stressful situations where we don’t feel the most comfortable, another glass of wine usually seems like a great idea. Having a few drinks over the course of the evening is acceptable; overdoing it to the point of inebriation will seriously damper your chances of a successful evening of networking. Pace yourself to one drink an hour, alternate with a glass of water or soft drink, with an absolute limit or three.

Networking can sometimes be scary and intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. If you are equipped with the right tools and know what behaviours to avoid, chances are you will have a fun and successful networking experience! Networking doesn’t always have be done at organized networking events, either. Check out our post on unique places you can network!