Good interpersonal communication skills
Interpersonal Communication skills are vital tools that you as a human being have under you repertoire. These skills are essential for your functioning as a human being whether at the work place or social set up or even in your personal circles. It is highly essential to sharpen your skills and use them effectively for success in any environment. Interpersonal Communication is always between two or more people, which requires a person to look beyond himself/herself to reach out to the others. Interpersonal communication can take many forms, both direct and indirect, but here we shall concern ourselves with the direct form of verbal interpersonal communication.
Sharpen your communication skills and make them effective
Observation skills To possess good interpersonal communication skills you need to be a good observer. Your power of observation or the openness to take in your environment serves as your conversation starter. It also provides direction for your conversation. When you observe your environment, you take in the body language of the person/s that you are communicating with, the situation around them, changes in moods, subtlety and variation in the atmosphere. All of these enable you to refine and define the way you communicate and reach out to the other person.
Listening skills. One of the put-offs of any conversation is when you find that the person you are speaking to is distracted or not listening or only wants to speak and not listen. Communication being a two-way process, it entails giving expression to your point of view, listening and giving the other person an opportunity to express himself/herself. A good listener is often sought after by people.
Another very important inter-personal communication skill is asking questions. Good listening often leads to asking meaningful questions. Asking questions not only calls for clarification of ideas, but it also reveals to the person who communicates the amount of interest that you have in the discussion. The speaker is often motivated by the questions that are asked. Asking questions sometimes brings a slight twist to the conversation and makes it more interesting. It brings another dimension of discussion and healthy interaction to the table.
Acknowledging is a way of appreciating and accepting the other person’s point of view. Acknowledgement is an encouraging sign for the speaker. Acknowledgement shows that the other person understands your point of view. It would also signal a certain amount of commitment or acceptance of the idea that the person is trying to get across.
Contribution is another essential interpersonal communication skill. It would be awfully monotonous to listen to one person all the time. Small contributions in the form of providing additional pieces of information enriches the conversation, bringing about the element of interest and participation into it.
Other elements like effective use of body language like maintaining eye contact, smiling and gesturing all keep the interest alive in the conversation. They add a sense of animation and vibrancy to the conversation.
Silence or pause adds the dimension of effect to the conversation. A pause could often be used to underline humour or some emotion to the audience.
Variation in tone grabs attention and keeps your audience with you. A monotonous or a droning voice often puts people to sleep, even if you have something very valuable to convey to your audience. This could be true whether it is public speaking or a team meeting.
Investing time in your audience You need to invest your time in understanding your audience their interests, their background, their age and what keeps them ticking. Younger audiences could be easily attracted by stories or anecdotes while with an older audience, you could get their attention by crisply getting into the meat of the matter. But whatever may be the nature of the group that you are communicating with, if you can feel the pulse, you can spice up your communication with anecdotes and illustrations from those things that interest them and bring them alive.
Summarise No communication is complete without summarising. A concise summary of all the important points drives home the message. It leaves the person thinking and recapitulates the message that they have been listening to for some time. It is a kind of refresher and repetitions always have a better chance of remaining fresh in the memory of the audience. A summary also deals with the most important points without going into detail, wherein the listener is left with the crucial part of the message to ponder over.
Good Interpersonal communication being one of the most important skills to get across to another person, it would always be sensible to adapt yourself to the situation. There are no set or uniformly successful patterns of interpersonal communication. It depends on your ability to convince your audience and take them along with you.