Five Must-Have Interpersonal Skills

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No matter what your job, you will have to communicate and interact with others at some point. Good interpersonal skills can lead to a more positive work environment and can even increase productivity.Here are five interpersonal skills that will help you achieve career success:

Make eye contact
When someone is speaking to you, make eye contact and focus on what he/she is saying.  It shows respect for the speaker and indicates that you are paying attention.

Actively listen
Don’t just listen passively, but offer verbal cues or nod your head to show that you are still engaged. After the speaker is finished, ask questions or give some reply that shows you paid attention.

Eliminate filler words and slang
Filler words (like, um) indicate a lack of confidence and knowledge. Slang should generally be avoided in professional settings because it might offend your listener(s), particularly if you are talking to someone with more seniority.

Say thank you
Even if someone is just doing their job, you should acknowledge when you are helped in any way. Also, say it with a tone that shows you really are grateful. People will be more likely to help you in the future if they know you will appreciate their efforts.

Be careful with criticism
Getting your point across and voicing your opinion with tact is a skill that will allow you to manage and work with others effectively. Always try to preface a criticism with a complement. For example, “Your ideas about (something you liked, even if it’s small) were great, but I would like more information about (something that needs improvement)” gets the message across while offering specific information about what needs to be improved.

Some people will naturally be better at interacting with others while some will need to work harder and monitor their actions more carefully. However, good communication and interpersonal skills are possible for anyone to learn.

For more advice on improving your communication skills,  read Messages: The Communication Skills Book and Talk Like a Winner: 21 Simple Rules for Achieving Everyday Communication Success.

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