How To Develop Interpersonal Skills

When working in a business environment, it is essential to develop interpersonal skills that help to make interactions with others go smoothly and effectively. It is also crucial to having a positive experience in your workplace, as being able to work well with others makes projects get done more efficiently and with reduced conflict.

  1. The first step in developing these kind of skills is to become aware of your behavior in everyday business interactions. Awareness of your own behavior with others helps you to find problem spots that need to be worked on. Ask yourself when you get frustrated the easiest, whom who constantly have problems with, and how you handle situations that could cause conflict. How do you react? These will give you specific areas that need to be worked on.
  2. When you start to focus on your interactions, try to find alternate steps that you can use instead of past habits that were unproductive. If you need some extra help in figuring out what skills work better, ask a trusted co-worker or your supervisor if there are any suggestions that they might have. Your workplace may even offer training in this respect. Also, there are many self-help books, audio books and videos that are available from your public library that are good sources of information as well.
  3. Once you have some basic interventions for yourself, try them out in those situations that you have problems with. Afterwards, sit and reflect on how well you did. Did you continue to have problems even with the new interventions? How did it work? Over time, see how well your interventions work with that particular person. The key here is to remember to be open to other's ideas, be calm, reasonable and to be willing to compromise. It is also important to be able to read other's nonverbal communication - how they act, their body language and facial expressions. These nonverbal signals are cues to the other person's feelings, thoughts and possible future actions.

If you are open to changing your behavior and becoming more empathetic to others, your interactions with them will improve greatly. Being open to other's constructive criticism can give valuable insight to how you can change your interactions, and also how to improve them. With the tips suggested above, and the willingness to become better, your ability to develop interpersonal skills will help you not only in your business life, but your personal one as well.


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