4 Principles of Great Interpersonal Communication Skills

Interpersonal communication is an important skill across all facets of your career. Whether you’re aware of it or not, interpersonal communication is present when you’re interviewing for a job, talking with your co-workers, or asking for a promotion.

Even when you do well across the ‘hard’ skills, such as data analysis, accounting, programming, you still won’t fare as well if your “soft” business skills aren’t up to snuff.  And a big ‘soft skill’ is your interpersonal communication – the ability to empathize and communicate with others in a personal, positive way will help you work effectively with your co-workers, team members, and your leaders.   Once you have an understanding of how best to articulate yourself both verbally and through non-verbal cues, you’ll be better off professionally (and in your personal life!)

How to improve your interpersonal communication

Interpersonal communication is what it sounds like, a person-to-person exchange of information between two or more people. This information can be expressed verbally based on the type of words you choose to use and via non-verbal cues such as the tone of your voice, a raised eyebrow, a smile, or hand gestures.

Yes, if a simple facial expression can change the entire meaning of what you’re trying to get across, how do you even begin to develop or improve your interpersonal communication skills? The first step is to understand the four basic principles of interpersonal communication.

Interpersonal communication is inescapable, irreversible, complicated and contextual.

  • Unless you’re on a deserted island the rest of your life, that it’s nearly impossible to avoid other humans (inescapable).
  • When words are said, they can’t be taken back no matter how hard we expand on what we meant, or apologize (irreversible).
  • As mentioned, we’re not robots. We emote so it isn’t just about the words that come out of your mouth, but it’s a whole slew of verbal and non-verbal factors that lend to it’s interpretation (complicated).
  • Lastly, interpersonal communication also isn’t always completely under your control as it depends on the who, what, where and why of that conversation — these are pieces of the puzzle that matter to how the message is ultimately received (contextual).

With technology changing how we interact with one another, interpersonal communication skills are becoming more complex and layered. Good in-person communication is becoming even more rare in the face of IMs, Tweets, and Facebook messaging.

Studies show that social media and technology has changed how we communicate, with a new preference for “mediated communication” rather than face-to-face interactions. This gives many a false sense of having a social network, while successful face-to-face interaction can instead build deeper, more-fulfilling relationships.

Improvement in your interpersonal communication skills begins with self-awareness.  Once you are aware of how you are communicating today and it’s potential positive and negative impacts on you and others, you can be empowered to make changes in your communication style where needed.  Learn more about Interpersonal Communication with the following infographic.   You can also embed the infographic into your site’s HTML with the following code

Develop and improve your interpersonal communication and so will your career

Your comments: Do you want to have great interpersonal communication skills? If so, what is your biggest challenging in improving in this area? I look forward to your comments.

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New to BMCC? then start here – Soft Skills – How to Succeed Like an Executive

Best wishes to your career success!


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