Top Tips for Effective Interpersonal Communication
Interpersonal communication skills are those which you will need every day in your life – be it in your professional or your personal life.
They are some of the most important skills that you need to focus on as a large percentage of your life involves interacting with people; friends, colleagues, relations or your boss.
Interpersonal skills also play a part in your career development and you will find a lot on that topic on job websites, but I also mention here some of the most important dos and don’ts that I think will be of great help to you.
At first it may seem a simple and natural thing to do, but talking to people is a complex process and it becomes more difficult when you do not know how the other person will react. This is where effective communication comes into play.
There is a great difference in the ability to communicate and the ability to communicate effectively. Thus, it requires a person to have good communication skills as it can make or break trust, deals or even change your career.
10 Tips to Help You Be an Effective Interpersonal Communicator:
1. Don't Show Negative Body Language
As the saying goes, ‘the first impression is the last impression’, hence you should always be careful when it comes to body language.
It is said that a typical communication consists of more than 50% non-verbal communication, which includes body language. So if your body language is sending negative signals to the other person, the communication will probably break down in the process.
More on Non-Verbal Communication and Body Language.
Another important point to note here is that you should not bring any physical barriers between you and the other person. Barriers create distractions and can make the communication process uncomfortable.
See Barriers to Communication for more information.
2. Do Not Interrupt the Other Person
It is very rude to interrupt a person while they are speaking. Nobody likes to be interrupted because it hampers the thought process and it is disrespectful.
If you have to make an interruption and it is necessary for you to speak at the exact moment, then you need to make gentle interruptions. Ask the person if you can interrupt him or her and say sorry, and whatever you wanted to say must justify your interruption.
3. Think Before You Speak
Another adage that perfectly describes this point is ‘look before you leap’. You should think how your words are going to affect the person with whom you are communicating before making any comments.
That means you should try to connect with the feelings of the other person in order to show that you genuinely care about the conversation that is going between the two of you.
You may find the page Understanding Others useful.
4. Listen Well
The ability to listen to what a person is saying is itself a skill and you should focus on that while communicating with others.
If you have good listening skills you will be able to understand that person’s words more clearly and react in a positive manner. It will also send a signal to the other person that you care about what he/she has to say.
Skills You Need has lots more information about listening including, Active Listening.
5. Don't be Defensive or Attacking – Be Neutral
Some people tend to get defensive or attacking during conversations.
You do not have to get overexcited when someone points out your mistakes and get defensive or attack them. Be neutral and transparent so that you can understand what is actually being discussed. Always maintain the balance in the conversation so that everyone involved in the discussion has a fair part in it.
See Dealing with Criticism and Constructive Criticism for more.
6. Don't Deviate
Always try to stick to the topic of discussion to maintain the relevancy of the communication process.
There is no need to bring something totally unrelated to the discussion and waste the time of the people involved. If you deviate away from the topic, the whole idea of the conversation becomes less meaningful.
7. Be Confident of Your Ideas
You should always be confident of what you are speaking and should take ownership of your words. This is will increase the trust that the other people have in you and make the conversation flow more freely.
Learn more about assertiveness and developing your self-esteem.
8. Be Open to Receiving Feedback
Sometimes it is good to step back and be receptive to feedback.
Communication is a two-way process and should remain like that. You should be able to open up to feedback from the other person and give honest feedback whenever you feel it is needed.
Learn more about Giving and Receiving Feedback.
9. Use the Right Communication Method
Communication may not necessarily always be verbal and you should understand that different types of situations ask for different methods.
You should know which type of communication method will be more effective. Location is also an important point to remember; different types of communication need different locations.
See What is Communication? and Principles of Interpersonal Communication for more on this.
10. Shake Hands Firmly!
The last but not the least important tip is how you shake hands when you introduce yourself.
Give a firm handshake but do not make it a tight one and also do not squeeze. A weak handshake may indicate lower self-confidence.
Follow these ten tips and boost the effectiveness of your communication.
Further Reading from Skills You Need
Develop your interpersonal skills with our series of eBooks. Learn about and improve your communication skills, tackle conflict resolution, mediate in difficult situations, and develop your emotional intelligence.
About the Author
Hasib is a career coach, blogger and a professional writer working for one of the top job websites in India – naukri.com.
He has contributed a number of articles on skills development and provided career advice to various online platforms. He is an avid reader and passionate about the beautiful game of football. Follow him on Twitter.