What is Interpersonal Communication?
Interpersonal communication is a process by which people exchange information, feelings and ideas.
It occurs between people in face-to-face settings , as well as through a variety of other media such as emails and texting (sexting).
Professionals with strong interpersonal skills build these capabilities through daily practice and repetition. However, professionals with less developed interpersonal skills often struggle to learn and incorporate them into their daily lives.
Interpersonal communication takes place in a wide array of settings, such as the workplace, school and home. Within these settings, professionals may engage in several forms of interpersonal communications skills including:
– Giving Advice
– Being Persuasive
– Solving Problems/Disputes
Why is Interpersonal Communication important?
- It helps you connect with people on a more personal level:
Interpersonal Communication skills allows you to communicate in a way that makes people feel included and valued. It helps improve our public speaking skills as we practice these skills often, so that we can present ourselves confidently when having to give an impromptu speech or talk at work.
- Interpersonal communication is key for networking and making new friends:
Learning Interpersonal Communication skills is a great way to meet new people and build relationships.
- It’s an essential part of your image:
Interpersonal communication helps improve our self-confidence and also how we perceive ourselves in the eyes of others. We need to be proficient at interpersonal communication in order to present ourselves well, whether it be in a professional or social situation.
Interpersonal communication courses focus on developing proper non-verbal communication skills as well as verbal communication skills like speaking clearly, effectively and confidently when conversing with others. We learn to communicate in an open and clear manner so that the other person is able to understand our message easily and we don’t confuse them by being unclear with our words.
Interpersonal communication is an important skill in every day life and we must make sure to practice these skills frequently.
How do I develop good Interpersonal Communication skills?
To develop good interpersonal communication skills, it’s important to be able to express yourself.
Make sure you are listening carefully during conversations and don’t focus so much on what you’re going to say next. It’s all about taking an interest in the other person, because if they haven’t noticed how well you’ve been listening – they’ll notice it when you start talking!
To improve your interpersonal communication skills, try to:
- Be positive – The mood you are in will come across and the positivity you exude will motivate others. So go on, smile – let others feel your happiness!
- Listen well – Make sure you listen carefully when others are speaking. Even if you can’t fully understand what they’re saying at first, you can ask questions to clarify what they mean. The key is to understand so you can relate!
- Promote others – People appreciate being praised; so go ahead and use your interpersonal skills of encouragement to build up those around you!
- Give compliments – Giving someone a compliment will make them feel good about themselves and it’ll also improve your interpersonal skills.
- Say thanks – Nothing is as important as saying ‘thank you’. It shows that you are grateful for what someone has done or helped you with, and it’s a respectful gesture.
- Show interest – For anyone to feel special, they must feel like they’re one in a million. Take an interest in what others have to say and you’ll be one step closer to making them feel unique.
- Be honest – Honesty is a virtue! So go ahead and admit it when you’ve done something wrong, because most likely you’ll build up trust with the people around you.
- Don’t gossip – Gossiping about others just makes a person look bad and it makes the person that is spreading gossip seem shallow. If you see someone being rude to another, step up and say something!
- Don’t be competitive – There’s no need to compete with others; we should be helping each other instead of trying to outdo one another.
- Don’t criticise – Being critical makes people feel bad about themselves. Instead, use your interpersonal skills to build up those around you and help them improve their ability to do something.
- Don’t be manipulative – People can detect little lies that we tell and being manipulative will make you look like a two-faced backstabber. Just tell the truth instead!
What are some of the positive and negative aspects about Interpersonal Communication?
- Face to face communication is more effective. You can see what people are like rather than listening to stories about them. It’s easier because you can ask questions when needed and you can physically show interest in what the person is saying by making eye contact, nodding your head and so on.
- You can get help from others, because it’s easier to find someone and ask them questions rather than trying to work something out yourself.
- Interpersonal Communication helps us learn more about other people – their likes/dislikes as well as their moods and personality. This helps you come up with ways to make them feel more comfortable.
- Interpersonal Communication helps us all get along better, because you can help people to resolve problems with each other and when you interact with others frequently, you start to understand one another better. You also become more aware of your own behaviour as well as theirs.
- Face to face communication requires good interpersonal communication skills – otherwise people will notice if you’re not listening or being rude.
- Face to face communication can be stressful, but with good interpersonal communication skills, you can become more comfortable and relaxed in such situations.
- It’s sometimes very hard to say something that will make someone feel better about themselves. You have to think carefully about what to say.
- You must be able to think about what you’re going to say before it’s too late, because if you put yourself at risk of being embarrassed by stuttering, then you should avoid this form of communication. When people see someone stuttering they will wonder why they can’t speak properly and even feel sorry for them. So it’s very important to think before you speak.
- You have to keep any criticism to yourself if you don’t want people thinking that you are a negative person. You can be critical without saying anything bad or negative about someone, so it’s important not to gossip.
- For some people, being in front of an audience with lots of people staring at them can be very uncomfortable. We all have different personalities and different ways of dealing with things, so some people may not actually mind being in such situations. For the most part though, most people feel nervous if they know that a lot of eyes are on them.
- Interpersonal Communication requires good communication skills – otherwise you’ll end up looking like a two-faced backstabber who is only out to please themselves.
How to Understand the Impact of Interpersonal Communication in Different Situations?
- This lesson discusses the importance of interpersonal communication in different situations.
- Interpersonal Communication is extremely important in any situation where you are dealing with another person; at home, at work or on holidays for example.
- Each and every day you will be using your interpersonal skills – either to build up someone else’s confidence or to reprimand them for something they did wrong.
- Interpersonal Communication can be used to discuss anything from personal issues such as family problems or relationship problems, to work related issues such as asking for a pay rise or time off sick etc.
- You will also use interpersonal communication when you are meeting friends for the first time after a long period of not seeing them (at a party or reunion for example).
- When this happens, you are not only meeting them again, but you will notice that there is a lot of talking and laughing before the main event begins. This is where people use their interpersonal communication skills to get things going. They talk about old times and how well they’ve been doing since there last saw each other.
- It’s very important to have good communication skills in this type of situation, because if you are not as talkative or friendly as everyone else, then people will notice and they’ll think that there is something wrong with you. You can’t just sit back and be quiet for 2 hours – even though it may be a social event where you are supposed to meet up with friends and have lots of fun.
- People will start to ask personal questions, which is why it’s also important to be able to answer these questions in an honest and confident manner. This way they will feel more comfortable talking to you again as well as gaining the trust of knowing that they can talk to you on different subjects.
- This is a very good example of how interpersonal communication skills are needed in all situations – whether it be with friends, family members or work colleagues. These people will look towards you for guidance and they’ll also want to know that they can rely on you if anything’s wrong. You have to understand that if you don’t know how to control the situation, then it may end up in the worst case scenario. So communication is very important when dealing with people.
The following points will illustrate the importance of interpersonal communication skills in different situations.
Interpersonal Communication Skills at Work
- To be successful within an organisation you need to be able to demonstrate interpersonal skills.
- You will be asked to attend meetings, which are organised by your boss and other colleagues, where you all sit around a table or in a circle for example. Some people can find this very uncomfortable if they feel that there is an audience watching them intently at the same time as they have to talk about certain issues. Think of a situation where you have to speak in front of the class or in public for example. This is very similar to having a meeting and being watched by lots of people at once.
- It’s important that you are able to control your nerves and use your interpersonal skills when you are working for an organisation or attending meetings etc.
- If you are confident with what you have to say, then you will not only look good in front of your boss and other colleagues, but they will also notice that you’re a very strong person who can handle difficult situations. This will make them more at ease when talking to you whilst there is an audience around as well.
Interpersonal Communication Skills with Family Members
- If you have issues with family members, it’s very important that you’re able to talk to them about these problems. There could be lots of things going on in the world today which are stressful and there is no point keeping them inside if they are spoiling your relationships with others.
- You really need to have appropriate interpersonal communication skills if you want to solve these problems or issues.
- It’s not good enough just sitting back and keeping it all inside. You should be able to talk about your feelings with someone who can help you deal with the problems. Communication is a very important skill because it helps us solve our own issues without having to worry about what others think.
- You need to feel comfortable when talking to your family members because you are sharing things that are very important and personal for example, fear of dying or worrying about the future for a child etc.
Interpersonal Communication Skills with Friends
- People love company but not everyone has lots of friends so it’s important that you know how to communicate with people.
- If you want to make new friends, you should be able to approach them and start a conversation because if you don’t know what to say then you’ll end up just standing there without saying anything. This will not only make it awkward for yourself, but also for the other person or people within the group.
- If you are in a social situation with friends, there is more likely to be an audience watching you and judging every move that you make so it’s very important that you know what to say when approaching someone new.
- You should also keep your interpersonal skills going throughout the conversation because if things don’t quite go to plan, you shouldn’t feel embarrassed or awkward.
- You should be confident with the things that you say and use a friendly voice to keep the conversation going.
Interpersonal Communication Skills in Sales Jobs
- It’s not all about price when trying to sell something. To be successful, you need interpersonal skills as well because if you can’t communicate effectively or listen to what people want, then you will not be successful as a salesperson.
- You need to understand how the buyer thinks and this will influence your attitude towards interpersonal communication skills . For example if someone is looking for something simple but they don’t see it straight away, you have the ability to recognise that.
Why is Effective Communication Important?
- You will have better and more interesting conversations with people.
- People won’t be embarrassed to talk to you because you’re able to communicate effectively with them.
- You’ll also have a better chance of getting your own way, whatever it may be! It’s important that you only say what needs to be said and not overcomplicate it.
- You will become a better listener and someone who people can trust. People are more likely to want to work with you, listen to what you have to say or even buy from you because they know that you understand them and are willing to listen.
- If there are problems, then these issues could be resolved a lot quicker through communication. For example if a family member is upset, you should be able to resolve this by talking about it rather than keeping it inside or getting angry which could make the problem worse.
- If you are working in sales, then effective communication is very important for example if you are selling products to customers, they might not like what they see and hear. If you can listen carefully to what their needs are, it is more likely that they will buy from you because you understand the product or service better than competitors who do not possess this skill.
- Some people love talking about themselves and an effective communicator can make them feel comfortable doing so without being too pushy. This will create a better flow and the other person will be more likely to buy something from you.
- People may feel scared as though they are judged by what they’re talking about or their ability to communicate so it’s very important that you don’t do this because people won’t want to talk to you again! But if you show them that you understand their problems and can empathise with them, they will be more likely to talk to you in the future because they know that you are not judging them.
- Listening is an important part of communication and if you do so, then your relationships with other people will last a lot longer. If this is done effectively, it will make the person feel listened to and understood which will make them feel more comfortable.
- You may know what you mean but if it comes across wrong, then people could take offence so it’s very important that you are aware of your tone of voice. When speaking in a loud or aggressive way, the other person is likely to feel attacked or uncomfortable which won’t allow for effective communication.
- If you can listen to other people, then they will feel that you are interested and care about them which will make the relationship stronger because it’s a two-way street.
- You’ll learn more from the other person as well so this helps with understanding things better and knowing what to say
- As a result of effective communication, you will be more successful in selling what you want to other people or working out how best to satisfy their needs.
- If there is any trust problems between you and another person, then it’s important that you can communicate effectively with each other so the relationship can become stronger.
- It helps to keep the conversation going so you can learn more and become a better communicator.
- Communication is important for your own life in general, so if there are any issues on how you communicate with other people, then it’s only fair to deal with these problems instead of letting them build up as they could be affecting all aspects of your life. These could be anything from speaking in an aggressive tone of voice to not listening so you are aware of what other people have to say.
- Effective communication can also help if you want to learn a foreign language because it will improve your ability to make and understand speech. For example if you really wanted to learn French, then taking classes online would be more beneficial than sitting around waiting and hoping that you’ll suddenly be able to say French words!
- Effective communication can make a business or product more successful. If communication skills are good, then the product will usually do well because people will want to buy it again and again which could mean bigger profits for the company.
- You can build trust with another person by communicating effectively. Taking interest in what others have to say for example will mean that they feel listened to and are far more likely to buy from you or trust you with important information which could be beneficial as well.
Effective communication is vital for success in all sectors of industry and society whether it’s at home, work or school so everyone should take the time to research how to best communicate with other people. Effective communication is defined as the expression of information clearly in a way that can be easily understood and recognised by others .
This means being able to express your feelings, thoughts and opinions while having a meaningful connection with the person you’re talking to. The only way this will happen is if both parties are communicating effectively with each other so it’s important to look at how communication can be best achieved.
Effective communication is very valuable and effective communicators are often highly esteemed by people in society because of the importance that communication plays for all areas of life as well as how much time and effort goes into communicating effectively with others.
- You will understand what it means to be a good communicator or to make the effort to communicate effectively with other people.
- You’ll build up better and more trusting relationships with other people as well which can only be a positive thing.
- You get a chance to improve on any shortcomings in your communication skills so you are able to communicate effectively with others.
Importance of Nonverbal Behavior for Business Professionals
Nonverbal communication skills are essential for business professionals. Nonverbal gestures, body language, and facial expressions are all forms of communication that people use every day to exchange information with each other. While verbal messages provide the content or topic of a conversation, nonverbal messages convey the tone or feelings associated with it.
In fact, over 70% of all messages exchanged between people are nonverbal and only 30% are verbal. Nonverbal behaviors include facial expressions, eye contact, gestures, body language, posture, touch and tone of voice.
Nonverbal Communication – Enhances Understanding
Employees who are well versed in these skills create a better understanding with co-workers and others at work. This understanding can lead to increased confidence, positive self-image and a more harmonious working environment thus resulting in improved communication, teamwork and productivity.
Nonverbal cues are especially important when workers have different cultural backgrounds or language barriers and can ease communication by facilitating the process of problem solving for clients and customers.
Improve Your Attitude and Performance
Nonverbal communication skills are also critical to job performance. Based on research, it has been shown that people who use nonverbal communication effectively enjoy higher rankings in ratings of their staff as well as increased career satisfaction. Studies have found that employees feel more confident about themselves when they improve their ability to read and respond to nonverbal cues.
Such skills also improve the outcome of performance appraisals thereby leading to higher salaries and more promotions.
Boost Your Career Prospects
By developing your nonverbal communication skills you can be better prepared for job interviews, networking events, client meetings and many other business environments. Not only will you feel more confident but you will come across as more professional and competent.
In today’s competitive job market, having a solid foundation in nonverbal communication is an important skill to have. This valuable knowledge can help you to create better relationships with co-workers, clients and customers, enabling you to become a stronger candidate for promotions or career opportunities.
Nonverbal Communication Obstacles
There are some nonverbal communication obstacles that can block or distort messages. As a business professional, it is important to develop skills to overcome these obstacles, in order to be successful at communicating your message. There are three main problems with human communication:
1 Misinterpretations: A person may interpret a message incorrectly. This can happen when a person’s emotion impacts their interpretation.
Communication is an emotional process, and we all react to the words of others based on how we feel. For example: if our boss yells at us in front of our co-workers we are likely to think he/she does not like us personally, rather than just being frustrated with the situation.
In another example: if a person is excited about a project, that emotion will impact how they interpret the words of others. They may erroneously believe someone else is just as excited about it as they are, when in fact that may not be the case. This can lead to miscommunication and even conflict between team members.
Therefore, it is important to be aware of your own feelings and manage them appropriately in order to avoid misinterpreting the message from another person.
2 Filters: People often interpret a communication based on their past experience or cultural and social background. For example, if you are talking with someone who grew up in an Asian setting, you may say “let’s take a step back and think about things more deeply.”
However, your Asian contact might interpret that as “we should withdraw from the current action so we can consider other options,” which is not what you intended. Therefore, it is important to be aware of how our culture and experience impacts the messages we send to others.
3 Noise: The words themselves are not the only elements of communication; there is also “noise” that distracts from or obscures what a person intends to say. This noise could be physical, social or cultural and can impact our ability to get our message across.
How a Lack of Effective Communication Affects Organizations
Some research has shown that organizations can be significantly affected by the lack of effective nonverbal communication. In a study conducted at Ohio University, it was found that managers who failed to provide accurate or appropriate nonverbal messages were viewed as less approachable and less friendly.
A subsequent study of over 100,000 employees concluded that bad manager-employee communication leads to a negative impact on individual performance but also results in reduced organizational productivity.
When communication is not clear, both leaders and employees can become frustrated, leading to higher stress levels that affect the entire organization. This can lead to high turnover rates, lower morale and increased absenteeism which all contribute to poor work performance.
Five Steps to Improving Interpersonal Communication
Awareness: The first step in improving interpersonal communication is to know your weaknesses. In order to do this you need to be self-aware and aware of the people around you.
When communicating with someone, take a moment to reflect on how they are responding emotionally to what you are saying. If their emotions seem out of line with what you are saying, you may need to clarify what you mean. Think about the words you use and how they could be interpreted differently by a different culture or person.
The key is to stay open-minded about other people’s opinions, experiences and backgrounds so you can understand them more fully
Control: In order to achieve effective communication, it is important to control your emotions. You have a responsibility to be aware of how you are impacting the people around you and do what you can to manage those feelings appropriately.
Communication is an emotional process, so it helps if we recognize our own reactions and manage them appropriately. If not, they can easily interfere with effective communication. This means dealing with your own emotions as well as understanding the emotions of others.
Focus: Be clear and concise in your communication. Do not over-communicate, or be indirect or unclear just because you are trying to fill space or time. Focus on the message, not on yourself.
Explaining why you said what you said can make it difficult for a person to understand your point. Instead, focus on saying what you have to say and then be quiet. If a person has not understood you after that, then ask them to clarify.
However, do not ask every person in the room at once if they understand because this will take away from the message as well as make the speaker feel less confident. Instead, it is better to have one or two other people ask clarifying questions of the rest of the room.
Assume: When you are communicating with someone, assume that your message will be heard and understood by them even if they do not say so directly. You may need to connect with the person before you can understand his/her expectations.
For example, if you are talking to a group of people and one person does not seem interested in the topic, it is likely that others share his/her opinion. Therefore, ask what other people think about the issue before changing your perspective.
By assuming others will understand your message, you can focus on how they interpret it rather than how you intended it. This can help you become more effective in your communication because you only have to concern yourself with the people who do not understand.
Respect: As you are communicating with someone, try to see things from their perspective and understand where they are coming from. Try thinking about how they could perceive your message differently than what you intended and adjust accordingly.
Take time to work on improving your interpersonal communication skills. Learn about the importance of nonverbal communication and learn ways to interpret nonverbal messages in positive ways.
Improving your own ability to read the messages other people are sending can improve personal relationships as well as build stronger teams at work.
Interpersonal communication is not just about being a better conversationalist, but it will also help you to build stronger relationships with the people around you. By putting these skills into practice consistently, you can improve your ability to promote positive connections with others and strengthen their interest in what you have to say.