Good communication skills are different from people’s skills. Sometimes, these two 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 their colleagues.
No matter how brilliant this employee might be, the lack of interpersonal skills can stunt their growth. Worse, failure to communicate within the workplace can also impact business growth. Hence, you need to focus on how to improve interpersonal communication in the workplace 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 skills in the workplace should work two ways. Speaking is just one aspect of interpersonal communication. Listening is equally as important to avoid miscommunication and improve collaboration within the company.
There are many applications to interpersonal communication within an organization. Your employees can use this during client meetings, customer interactions, and project discussions. They can also use it for their daily communication with other employees in the company. This goes to show why 81% of recruiters consider interpersonal communication as an essential life skill.
Benefits of interpersonal skills in the workplace
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 to 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 with dealing 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.
An essential element to 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.
One of the roles of interpersonal communication is to help individuals form connections with others. People with good interpersonal skills tend to forge deeper bonds with others. This is because people with this skill aren’t just good with communication. They also have the ability to empathize and negotiate with others.
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 skills are 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 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 group chat that they can use for casual conversations.
Effective problem solving
Interpersonal skills are also necessary when it comes to problem-solving. Someone with good interpersonal communication skills 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 skills, 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 with what steps to take to achieve their goals.
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 at 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 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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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. In fact, there are many ways to develop interpersonal communication skills. This includes:
- Conducting seminars for your employees on how they can work on their interpersonal communication skills
- Holding interactive activities where employees can bond with their colleagues
- Setting policies that will regulate employees’ conduct towards their peers
- Providing courses for developing interpersonal communication skills
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 skills.
Building a better 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. It is important that you encourage your employees to develop interpersonal communication skills.
To help you with that endeavor, you would need the right tool for the job. What you need is a team collaboration tool 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.