What is Interpersonal Communication and How to Develop these Skills

Interpersonal communication

Good communication skills are not the same as people’s skills. Sometimes, these two types of skills don’t go hand in hand.

An employee might be able to express their ideas and opinions clearly and properly but still fail to form connections with colleagues.

No matter how brilliant this employee might be, the lack of interpersonal communication skills can stunt their growth.

Worse, failure to communicate within the workplace can also impact business growth and may cause imposter syndrome among employees.

Hence, you need to focus on how to improve interpersonal communication to prevent that from happening.

What is interpersonal communication?

Interpersonal communication is the process of exchanging information, ideas, and opinions between people. It is a soft skill that encompasses a person’s ability to communicate with others.

This can either be through verbal or non-verbal methods. Likewise, it can be through face-to-face interactions or virtual ones.

It is important to note, however, that interpersonal communication skills in the workplace should work in two ways. Speaking is just one aspect of interpersonal communication. Listening is equally important to avoid miscommunication and improve collaboration within the company.

Difference between interpersonal and intrapersonal communication

The difference between interpersonal and intrapersonal communication is that interpersonal communication is exchanging information and ideas with other people; while intrapersonal communication is communication with oneself.

People with good interpersonal communication skills tend to forge deeper bonds with others.

This is because people with this skill aren’t just good at communication, they can also empathize and negotiate with others.

Interpersonal communication examples

There are many cases of using interpersonal communication within an organization. Your employees use them in day-to-day communications, during meetings with clients, interactions with customers, and project discussions.

Team members also use it daily for communication with their colleagues.

This goes to show why 81% of recruiters consider interpersonal communication as an essential skill when selecting the best candidate for the job.

How to improve interpersonal communication in the workplace

Interpersonal communication is more than just the ability to express yourself. It is also the ability to foster better relationships with your peers. While some might innately have this type of skill, it can also be learned. There are many ways to develop interpersonal communication. This includes:

  • Holding interactive activities where employees can bond with their colleagues
  • Setting policies that will regulate employees’ conduct toward their peers
  • Providing courses for developing interpersonal communication
  • Conducting seminars for your employees on how they can work on their interpersonal communication skills
  • Encouraging the use of the transactional model of communication in the organization

And for those who are wondering, what can I do with a communications degree? Having such a degree can also come in handy when it comes to polishing up your interpersonal communication.

How to develop interpersonal communication skills

Avoid miscommunication

Miscommunication within the workplace can sometimes be inevitable. As a particular message passes from one person to another, it can run into interference that might change its real meaning along the way. As a result, the original message transforms into something else once it reaches its recipient.

There are many factors for miscommunication. For one, language in itself can be the source of it. Some words might mean differently from one person to another. It can also be that the method of sending the message itself is the problem.

Whatever it is, it’s important to identify communication barriers and overcome them.

This is where interpersonal communication skills come in. By developing this skill among your employees, they are better equipped to deal with miscommunication.

As mentioned earlier, this skill hones not only a person’s ability to express themselves but also their ability to listen and understand non-verbal cues. This allows your employees to understand one another better.

Improve collaboration

An essential element of effective collaboration is communication. By reducing miscommunication within your organization, you can also improve collaboration among your employees.

However, effective teamwork takes more than just better communication. It also requires team members to trust and rely on each other. The only way to do that is to encourage your employees to connect and engage with their teammates.

Prevent burnouts

According to Deloitte, 50% of employees experienced fatigue or burnout. Their top reason is that they feel isolated from the rest of the organization. This is especially true when it comes to remote work. The lack of face-to-face interactions can make your employees feel cut off from the rest of the organization.

This goes to show how interpersonal communication is more relevant than ever. By promoting the development of such skills, you also encourage your employees to become more open and engaging with their colleagues.

Fortunately, there are various activities to improve interpersonal communication skills that you can do online. A great example would be simple team-building exercises that will also allow your teams to bond with their members.

This includes setting a particular day of the week for virtual hangouts. Likewise, teams can set aside a few minutes of the day for a daily checkup with the other members. Or they can also create a separate workplace chat that they can use for casual conversations.

Effective problem solving

Interpersonal communication skills are also necessary when it comes to problem-solving. Someone with good interpersonal communication can exchange ideas, opinions, and suggestions with other people. But more than that, they can engage with other views, resulting in a more nuanced approach to problem-solving.

Through interpersonal communication, your employees can clearly and freely discuss problems with one another and use this exchange to come up with better and more creative solutions to the problem. Hearing different angles and sides to the issue allows them to weigh the pros and the cons of alternatives before reaching a final decision.

Improving communication and collaboration among your employees also means that their objectives remain aligned. So when they try to solve a problem, they all have the same goals in mind, making it easier to agree on what steps to take to achieve their goals.

Harmonious workplace

Everyone has their own beliefs, opinions, and ideas—whether this be work-related, political, or religious. Some of these views might even conflict with each other. If you aren’t too careful, this can create unnecessary friction within the workplace that can affect your employees’ productivity.

This is yet another importance of interpersonal communication in the workplace. Through this skill, your employees can learn how to be more patient and empathetic towards their peers, especially those with whom they have conflicting views.

So rather than let their differences stand between them, they become more willing to listen and learn from one another. This skill can also teach your employees to de-escalate disputes between other members of the team.

Through interpersonal communication skills, you can ensure that your workplace remains a safe and harmonious place for everyone. It can also promote a more diverse workplace. Likewise, it helps establish professional work ethics within the organization.

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Building better interpersonal communication in the workplace

The workplace plays a crucial role in ensuring that employees remain satisfied and motivated at work. Hence, you need to make sure that your employees can feel safe, valued, and welcomed within the organization.

However, this responsibility must be shared with everyone else. You must encourage your employees to develop interpersonal communication skills and always good to have a communication plan.

To help you with that endeavor, you would need the right tool for the job. What you need is team communication tools that will allow your employees to freely engage and interact with their team members.

A great example is Chanty, a solution designed to help small businesses simplify team communication and management. So feel free to check it out.

Chanty team

Chanty is a team collaboration hub with unlimited searchable message history. Chanty offers team communication, audio calling, video conferencing and task management with the help of the Kanban board.

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