Let us first understand what do Interpersonal Skills mean and their importance in the workplace. Interpersonal skills, which are also called people skills, soft skills, or emotional intelligence are the way one communicates or interacts with others. Interpersonal skills are one of the most important criteria used at the time of hiring, to evaluate a candidate. Regardless of the role for which hiring is done, it is pertinent that the employee should be able to interact and get along well with their colleagues, managers, customers, and vendors. It is very important in today’s world to have good interpersonal skills to succeed in one’s workplace.
It is also called employability skills, and that itself shows how much importance is given to this skill for the purpose of employment. Hiring managers are reluctant to hire a candidate who lacks this skill. Many roles require the employees to interact with people, even for Individual contributor-type jobs. They still require collaborating with various departments or outside vendors. Even if one excels in his or her technical or job-related skills, without good interpersonal skills, the possibility of getting hired is very weak, as a person with poor Interpersonal skills would be a disaster at work.
Three are various aspects to good interpersonal skills, out of which effective communication is of utmost importance. We will discuss the skills which together adds up to good interpersonal skills :
As mentioned earlier, this is the most important skill of all, for a person to have good interpersonal skills. Irrespective of the role or industry that one may be employed in, ie. IT, Customer Service, Construction, Media, or any other, one should be able to communicate clearly and effectively with others, orally, in writing, and in body language. Many roles require the skill of effective public speaking as well. As per the GMAC Corporate Recruiters Survey, around 81% of recruiters identify interpersonal skills as the most important skill an employee should possess, more than any other kind of skill. Furthermore, 57% of recruiters say interpersonal skills will grow in demand over the next five years, and 69% list strong and effective communication skills as a reason they are confident in hiring graduates from Business schools.
Various types of communication are:
Nonverbal communication: Written communication is one of the most important aspects of Nonverbal communication. The lucidity of the language used which can be comprehended by the reader is what makes one an effective Nonverbal communicator.
Body language also constitutes one major aspect of Nonverbal communication. The manner in which one walks, sits, gestures, smiles, and above all his or her facial expressions gives away a lot about what the person has to say or his state of mind.
Public Speaking: When someone has to speak in front of a group of 4 or more people, it becomes public speaking where that person becomes the cynosure of all eyes. It can be in an informal huddle, a small team meeting, or on a stage in front of a large crowd. It can be broken down into two aspects viz. his body language and the other is his vocal delivery. The ultimate aim of it is to grab everyone’s attention and to make them understand what one has to say or convince them. So as I said earlier, it’s a combination of body language and voice skills. The manner in which he stands takes a few steps here or there while speaking, gesticulates with his hands, his facial expressions, all go a long way in creating an impact. The second is the way he throws his voice, he intonates it, the language that he uses depends on the type of his audience, his pauses while speaking, all should ultimately end in keeping the audience spellbound.
Verbal Communication: This is the way one speaks with others. It should carry the finer aspects of Public speaking in terms of his body language and the way he speaks but at a more personal level. The way he throws his voice should be just enough for the other person to hear clearly in normal circumstances.
Conflict Management: At whatever level one may work, he or she is bound to come across situations where they have to resolve conflicts at some point. It may be between two staff members, or between oneself and a colleague, or maybe between a client and the company. It requires skill to listen patiently to both sides and find a creative solution to the problem which may be amicable to both sides. It can contain one or more of the following tasks viz. conflict resolution, constructive criticism, counseling, mediating, or problem-solving.
Empathy: To be a good manager, employee, or colleague, one needs to have the ability to understand the other person and show empathy for others. If the other person comes up with a complaint, one needs to listen thoughtfully and express compassion. This is a skill that will help one to get along with others well at the workplace. It generally should include caring, compassion, diplomacy, diversity, inclusivity, helping others, kindness, patience, respect, and sensitivity.
Leadership skills: This is another aspect of interpersonal skills that will take one to great heights of success in an organization. Even if one is not a manager, one can possess this quality of motivating and encouraging others to achieve success for the team and the organization. It generally consists of qualities such as encouraging, inspiring trust, mentoring, motivating, and positive reinforcement.
Listening: This is one interpersonal skill that is of utmost importance. Every person likes to listen. Hence this skill goes hand in hand with effective communication. While one should know to express one’s ideas effectively, it is also necessary that he or she listens to the other person thoughtfully and with empathy. This will help others feel respected and valued, whether he is a client, employer, or colleague. It necessarily includes active listening, curiosity, focus, and inquiry.
Negotiation: This is an important skill for many positions, depending on the role or position the person may be in. There may be contracts to be entered into between the company and the client, or it can also be to help colleagues to solve a problem. One has been a good listener to become a good negotiator. He should have creative problem-solving skills to arrive at an outcome agreeable to everyone. It necessarily involves the following skills viz. negotiating, persuasion, research.
Communication matters. For employees to feel motivated there needs to be positive communication at the workplace. Do not just rely on emails for communication, face-to-face interaction is necessary to connect at a personal level. Employees also want their organization to succeed, for this, they may have excellent ideas that range from money saving to operational improvements. So managers must make an effort to listen to their suggestions. Feeling valued is very important for motivation.
We have discussed the importance of having good interpersonal skills of which the most important is effective communication. The other aspects one needs to possess are conflict management, empathy, leadership, listening, and negotiation. These qualities will help both the individual and the organization to reach greater heights.
Conclusion - The importance of interpersonal skills and effective communication cannot be emphasized more in the present context of the business world. It helps both in personal growth and organizational