10 Tips to Improve Your Interpersonal Skills

people having dinner and talking togetherInterpersonal skills have an impact on all the interactions and conversations you have in your life, ranging from the workplace to your personal life. People develop their individual interpersonal skills during their young developmental years by interacting and watching adults and parental figures model these behaviors and skills.

These learned behaviors have an impact on your communication and relationships throughout your life. It can have both a positive and negative impact depending on whether you learned a positive and assertive way of communicating or if you learned to be passive, passive-aggressive, or aggressive.

These interpersonal communication skills dictate how you are able to handle conflicts and arguments, your ability to get what you want, what your relationships may look like, and how you treat the people around you.

Interpersonal skills can be learned and improved through any stage of your life and can greatly benefit you in nearly every walk of life by improving your professional and personal relationships, and your social life, helping you manage conflict well, and helping you get what you want successfully.

Here are some tips to improve your interpersonal skills:

1. Develop Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence or Emotional Awareness is a set of emotional skills that gives one the ability to understand, express, and regulate their emotions as well as understanding the emotions of those around them. The Emotional Intelligence skills encompass empathy, communication, self-regulation, and charisma.

People with a higher emotional awareness tend to have better interpersonal communication skills and higher satisfaction from social relationships. Learning to read the room is the key to developing and strengthening social skills and this can be achieved through developing empathy and self-awareness, taking responsibility for your own actions and emotions, and learning to understand, respect, validate, and empathize with the feelings, thoughts, and actions of other people.

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2. Be Assertive

Being more assertive in your behavior and language can allow you to express your feelings and thoughts in a respectful manner and get what you want without sounding aggressive or stepping on other’s toes. Use ‘I’ statements rather than ‘You’ statements to sound more assertive and improve your interpersonal skills. For example, instead of saying, “You’re always ignoring me.,” try saying, “I feel like I’m being ignored.”

3. Learn Conflict Resolution

Conflicts are an inevitable and unavoidable part of life, therefore, learning to communicate well and navigate through them in a healthy manner is key for improved relationships and mental health. It is important to develop constructive conflict styles and resolve conflicts as an essential part of improving your interpersonal skills, as it can lead to improved relationships and a reduction in conflicts in the first place due to better communication.

4. Ask for Feedback

Asking and welcoming feedback can be a constructive way of hearing what the other party is saying and accepting their advice. This can help you improve your interpersonal skills, relationships, and performance in the workplace. When seeking feedback, ask questions with clarity that will help get concrete answers, such as, “What is something I could have done differently?”

5. Self-Reflection

Self-reflection can be pivotal to the improvement of interpersonal skills. This can be incredibly beneficial if the focus is on how one interacts with others as it can help you in analyzing your actions, behaviors, and thoughts and course correct when needed. A way to self-reflect honestly and modify behaviors accordingly is to track your day-to-day actions, thoughts, and choices in a journal and notice the patterns that may need some correcting.

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6. Using Positive Language

Using positive language can act as a powerful tool to influence people’s feelings and increase performance, motivation, and job satisfaction in the workplace. Try to use positive phrases like, “Let’s try harder next time.,” instead of being overly critical or aggressive like, “You never do anything right!”

7. Learn to Regulate Your Emotions

Learning to regulate your emotions can allow you to recognize, manage, and control your emotions. Some people may struggle with emotional regulation skills, particularly if they have experienced some sort of trauma in their childhood or have not seen emotional regulation skills modeled for them.

Emotional regulation is linked to emotional awareness and requires one to be self-aware in the present moment while experiencing troublesome emotions and accepting all feelings as they are without any judgment. You can learn emotional regulation skills through mindfulness, meditation, stress and anger management, and therapy.

8. Practice Active Listening

A key part of improving interpersonal skills is to listen actively when the other person is talking. This means listening intently to understand the other party better with patience, empathy, and compassion. It means respecting and validating their opinions by giving them your undivided attention before responding, maintaining healthy eye contact, and restating their comments back to them for a better understanding.

This can greatly improve interpersonal skills as it allows you to fully understand what the party is saying and makes the other person feel heard, validated, and respected, thereby, improving relationships.

9. Work as a Team

Working in teams can help you improve your interpersonal skills as it requires a certain level of cooperation and understanding among different team members. Developing skills to be a good teammate requires an understanding of other people’s emotions and learning to communicate effectively for better results and work performance. Working effectively in a team requires solid interpersonal communication skills, understanding, cooperation, and emotional intelligence.

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10. Look for Positivity

You won’t like every person you meet in life but that does not mean you resort to disrespectful behavior. You can choose to look for the positive in every person even if your personalities may clash. This can help you have a more positive mindset as using positive language can greatly influence your behavior by decreasing your irritability towards them and making you more receptive and welcoming.

You may notice that in time, your annoyance towards them may decrease and you might have a better time interacting and communicating with them.

Final Thoughts

Communication and interpersonal skills can be learned at any stage of life. If you grew up learning passive or aggressive styles of communication, you could still choose to be more assertive in time with the right amount of practice and techniques.

Even the most seasoned professionals have had to learn some form of interpersonal skills for effective communication. Learn to be clear, concise, and assertive in your communication by being mindful of your verbal language and your non-verbal cues.

It takes time to develop interpersonal communication skills, so practice and identify which skills you may need to improve on. By improving your interpersonal skills, you may notice that others perceive you in a positive and different manner and you are able to get what you want fast.

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