Working in harmony with other people can be quite challenging at times. Perhaps you find they rub you up the wrong way on a daily basis, seem argumentative, unwilling to compromise and generally difficult to get along with.
While the problem may lie with the other person or people, more often than not, it can be a good idea to look at ourselves and see if we can make any improvements in our interpersonal skills. Improving the way we interact with the people we work with can boost our career success.
We Always Talk about Interpersonal Skills, But What Exactly Are They?
Getting ahead in our career is important and interpersonal skills can be broken down into different areas and skill sets. By tackling these skill sets individually, you can create a well-rounded approach to dealing with others in order to get ahead. These areas include:
- Communication Skills
- Team Working Skills
- Negotiation and Persuasion Skills
- Conflict Resolution Skills
Communication Skills — Speaking Is Only a Way, Not the Only Way
Active Listening: This can be an overlooked skill when we are too focused on what we want to say and how we want to get it across. But active listening is a good way of securing respect, showing concern, understanding and interest.
Ways in which you can demonstrate active listening1 can be: paraphrasing to show understanding, asking open-ended questions, asking questions in order to clarify, eye contact, nodding while listening and expressing brief expressions such as “I see”, “sure”, or “I know” while the other person is talking.
Word Choice: The words you use2 can be incredibly important and choosing them wisely can allow others to understand you much better and create less confusion.
It can be helpful to practice speaking to others, thinking about how you are conveying your message. Ask for feedback to see if you could have expressed your points more clearly in order to highlight areas in which you could improve.
Non-Verbal Communication: It’s not always about the words we speak. How we come across with our body language3 can have a massive influence on how we are perceived by others. It can give you away if your body language doesn’t match what you are saying.
Smiling, eye contact, posture, tone of voice, observing others’ reactions to your statements and leaning in to indicate interest are all ways in which you can convey positive communication. By being conscious of your non-verbal communication, you can come across more friendly, trustworthy and approachable.
Humour: Injecting a touch of humour can make you much more relatable and make people more comfortable in your presence. Reacting positively with laughter or seeing the lighter side of a conversation can allow the conversation to flow more easily. Make sure that you’re not inappropriate or offensive.
Team Working Skills — Make Yourself Pleasant to Work with
Flexibility: Understanding differences of opinion with others and making appropriate adjustments is a core skill to develop. Seeing different perspectives can expand your thinking and make others feel respected.
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Featured photo credit: Anek Suwannaphoom via flickr.com