Good interpersonal communication skills are the most valuable tool in your kit to navigate through every day's events. You need to both say what you mean and be understood correctly to get results. Whether in a job interview or with customers or supervisors after you are hired, being able to convey information efficiently and the ability to effectively communicate is both a collection of common-sense techniques and a learned art. Practice makes perfect but good examples are all around for you to emulate if your eyes are open. Sometimes, some professional training or coaching is recommended but the best advice, as usual, is to be yourself and to treat other people as you would like to be treated. Think before you speak and think before you act. Make sure your tone and body language are appropriate for the situation, whether you are in a formal situation or a casual one.

The advice you'll hear most often is to be yourself. What if you're not comfortable being yourself? If being yourself hasn't worked for you in the past, you might believe that it's not going to work for you in the future. Nobody likes a phoney and they are easy to spot, but you should present yourself as the best person you think you are. Step back from the situation, put yourself in the receiver's place before you start. What do you want to communicate? Most of the people you talk to over the course of a day are strangers who have lives and troubles of their own. Don't share yours. Ask direct, pertinent questions. Provide direct, informative answers to questions posed to you. You don't have to smile if you're not happy but you should be friendly and you should be helpful. You should be courteous and polite. Isn't that what you expect from others?

An old Zen proverb directs that you should always act as if you have a distinguished guest in front of you. If you follow that advice no one will ever think you are being unduly familiar or that you are acting out of turn. You will never leave an encounter feeling you put your foot in your mouth or insulted anyone, and you won't wonder if you did the wrong thing. A little formality goes a long way, especially if you leaven it with a few grains of your personality. It is hard to determine when you've gone overboard, but, like in most things, less is more when it comes to open communication.

Say what you mean and mean what you say. Act appropriately. Be yourself but leaven your presentation with good will and good manners. Good interpersonal communication skills are a matter of both being yourself and sharing the best of you have to offer, clearly and concisely.