Saturday, April 4, 2015

Interpersonal Skills Overview and How to Improve It

Interpersonal skill is something we must have beside the technical skill. I think interpersonal skill is much more important because we use it far more often than technical skill. More often we meet people, it is more important to increase our interpersonal skill. In my job, I have to face new people a lot because my roles as a sales engineer, business development & PRM. So what is interpersonal skill? I take the definition from skillsyouneed :

Interpersonal skills are the life skills we use every day to communicate and interact with other people, both individually and in groups.  People who have worked on developing strong interpersonal skills are usually more successful in both their professional and personal lives.

A List of Interpersonal Skills Includes:
1. Verbal Communication - What we say and how we say it.
Clarity of speech, remaining calm and focused, being polite and following some basic rules of etiquette will all aid the process of verbal communication.

2. Non-Verbal Communication - What we communicate without words, body language is an example.
Interpersonal communication not only involves the explicit meaning of words, the information or message conveyed, but also refers to implicit messages, whether intentional or not, which are expressed through non-verbal behaviours.

Non-verbal communications include facial expressions, the tone and pitch of the voice, gestures displayed through body language (kinesics) and the physical distance between the communicators (proxemics). These non-verbal signals can give clues and additional information and meaning over and above spoken (verbal) communication.

3. Listening Skills - How we interpret both the verbal and non-verbal messages sent by others.
Listening is the ability to accurately receive and interpret messages in the communication process. 

Listening is key to all effective communication, without the ability to listen effectively messages are easily misunderstood – communication breaks down and the sender of the message can easily become frustrated or irritated.

4. Negotiation - Working with others to find a mutually agreeable outcome.
Negotiation is a method by which people settle differences. It is a process by which compromise or agreement is reached while avoiding argument and dispute.

In any disagreement, individuals understandably aim to achieve the best possible outcome for their position (or perhaps an organisation they represent). However, the principles of fairness, seeking mutual benefit and maintaining a relationship are the keys to a successful outcome.

5. Problem Solving - Working with others to identify, define and solve problems.
Everybody can benefit from having good problem solving skills as we all encounter problems on a daily basis; some of these problems are obviously more severe or complex than others.

It would be wonderful to have the ability to solve all problems efficiently and in a timely fashion without difficulty, unfortunately there is no one way in which all problems can be solved.

6. Decision Making – Exploring and analysing options to make sound decisions.
People often find it hard to make decisions - inevitably we all have to make decisions all the time, some are more important than others. 

Some people put off making decisions by endlessly searching for more information or getting other people to offer their recommendations.  Others resort to decision making by taking a vote, sticking a pin in a list or tossing a coin.

7. Assertiveness – Communicating our values, ideas, beliefs, opinions, needs and wants freely.
Assertiveness is a skill regularly referred to in social and communication skills training. Often wrongly confused with aggression, assertive individuals aim to be neither passive nor aggressive in their interactions with other people. 

Although everyone acts in passive and aggressive ways from time to time, such ways of responding often result from a lack of self-confidence and, therefore, are inappropriate expressions of what such people really need to say.


The verbal and nonverbal communication is happen when I present my solution to customer. When I hear the customer feedback, the listening skill is important in order to get all the requirement and demand. Next, I have to face the negotiation phase, and negotiation skill is very important so I can close the deal and of course I have to ensure that my solution solve their problem. Sometimes I face many option in the opportunity, and absolutely I have to make my best decision. Maybe I cannot make everybody happy, but at least there are priority among them. Last, I have to assertive with my choice and proof that my solution is fit with the customer need and profitable for my company.

The paragraph above maybe a summary for the interpersonal skill and technical skill implemented in my job and company. Next, find out how to improve and develop your interpersonal skills including from skillsyouneed :

  • Learn to Listen
  • Choose Your Words
  • Understand Why Communication Fails
  • Relax
  • Clarify
  • Be Positive
  • Empathise
  • Understand Stress
  • Learn to be Assertive
  • Reflect and Improve
  • Negotiate
  • Working in Groups
I hope this post will be useful for you who read this. Below, I attach an inspiring quote from Malcolm Forbes. Thank you for reading and thank you for skillsyouneed. Good luck.

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