2.5: Interpersonal Communication Skills (2023)

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    Learning Outcomes
    • Understand the skills associated with effective interpersonal skills.
    • Explain how to improve interpersonal skills.
    • Describe the principles of ethical communication.

    In this chapter, we have learned about different aspects of interpersonal communication. Overall, some skills can make you a better interpersonal communicator. We will discuss each one in more detail below.

    Listening Skills

    The most important part of communication is not the actual talking, but the listening part. If you are not a good listener, then you will not be a good communicator. One must engage in mindful listening. Mindful listening is when you give careful and thoughtful attention to the messages that you receive. People will often listen mindfully to important messages or to people that matter most. Think about how happy you get when you are talking to someone you really love or maybe how you pay more attention to what a professor says if they tell you it will be on the exam. In each of these scenarios, you are giving the speaker your undivided attention. Most of our listening isn’t mindful, but there will be times where it will be important to listen to what others are telling us so that we can fulfill our personal and/or professional goals. We’ll discuss listening in more detail in Chapter 7.

    People Skills

    People skills are a set of characteristics that will help you interact well with others. 32 These skills are most important in group situations and where cooperation is needed. These skills can also relate to how you handle social situations. They can make a positive impact on career advancement but also in relationship development.33 One of the most essential people skills to have is the ability to understand people. Being able to feel empathy or sympathy to another person’s situation can go a long way. By putting yourself in other people’s shoes and understanding their hardships or differences, you can put things into perspective. It can help you build a stronger and better interpersonal relationship.

    (Video) Module 2 Session 1 Activity 5 | Choosing A Form of Communication

    Emotional Intelligence

    Emotional intelligence (EQ) is the ability to recognize your own emotions and the emotions of others.34 Emotionally intelligent people can label their feelings appropriately and use this information to guide their behavior. EQ is highly associated with the ability to empathize with others. Furthermore, EQ can help people connect interpersonally. Research has demonstrated that people with higher levels of EQ are more likely to succeed in the workplace and have better mental health. They are often better leaders and effective managers of conflict. We’ll discuss the idea of EQ in more detail in Chapter 3.

    Appropriate Skill

    Selection The best interpersonal communicators are the ones who can use the appropriate skill in certain contexts. For instance, if it is a somber event, then they might not laugh. Or if it is a joyful occasion, they might not cry hysterically, unless they are tears of joy. The best politicians can sense the audience and determine what skills would be appropriate for which occasion. We know that humor can be beneficial in certain situations. However, humor can also be inappropriate for certain people. It is essential to know what skill is appropriate to use and when it is necessary to use it.

    Communicating Ethically

    The last interpersonal skill involves communication ethics. We have seen several people in the business world that have gotten in trouble for not communicating ethically. It is important to be mindful of what you say to others. You do not want people to think you are deceptive or that you are lying to them. Trust is a hard thing to build. Yet, trust can be taken away from you very quickly. It is essential that every time you communicate, you should consider the ethics behind your words. As we will see throughout this book, words matter! So, what does it mean to communicate ethically interpersonally? Thankfully, the National Communication Association has created a general credo for ethical communication.35 The subheadings below represent the nine statements created by the National Communication Association to help guide conversations related to communication ethics.

    We advocate truthfulness, accuracy, honesty, and reason as essential to the integrity of communication.

    The first statement in the credo for ethical communication is one that has taken on a lot more purpose in the past few years, being truthful. We live in a world where the blurring of fact and fiction, real-life and fantasy, truth and lies, real news and fake news, etc. has become increasingly blurry. The NCA credo argues that ethical communication should always strive towards truth and integrity. As such, it’s important to consider our interpersonal communication and ensure that we are not spreading lies.


    We endorse freedom of expression, diversity of perspective, and tolerance of dissent to achieve the informed and responsible decision making fundamental to a civil society.

    You don’t have to agree with everyone. In fact, it’s perfectly appropriate to disagree with people and do so in a civilized manner. So much of our interpersonal communication in the 21st Century seems to have become about shouting, “I’m right, you’re wrong.” As such, it’s important to remember that it’s possible for many different vantage points to have equal value. From an ethical perspective, it’s very important to listen to others and not immediately start thinking about our comebacks or counter-arguments. When we’re only focused on our comebacks and counter-arguments, then we’re not listening effectively. Now, we are not arguing that people should have the right to their own set of facts. As we discussed in the previous statement, we believe in facts and think the idea of “alternative facts” is horrific. But often, people’s experiences in life lead them to different positions that can be equally valid.

    We strive to understand and respect other communicators before evaluating and responding to their messages.

    Along with what was discussed in the previous statement, it’s important to approach our interpersonal interactions from a position of understanding and respect. Part of the mindfulness approach to interpersonal communication that we’ve advocated for in this book involves understanding and respect. Too many people in our world today immediately shut down others with whom they disagree without ever giving the other person a chance. We know that it can be tough to listen to messages that you strongly disagree with, but we can still disagree and, at the end of the day, respect each other.

    We promote access to communication resources and opportunities as necessary to fulfill human potential and contribute to the well‐being of individuals, families, communities, and society.

    As communication scholars, we believe that everyone should have the opportunity to improve their communication. One of the reasons we’ve written this book is because we believe that all students should have access to an interpersonal communication textbook that is free. Furthermore, we believe that everyone should have the opportunity to develop their interpersonal communication skills, listening skills, presentation skills, and social skills. Ultimately, developing communication skills helps people in their interpersonal relationships and makes them better people as a whole. According to Sherwyn Morreale, Joseph Valenzano, and Janessa Bauer:

    Communication can help couples connect on a deeper level and feel more satisfied with their relationships. Additionally, competent communication strengthens bonds among family members and helps them cope with conflict and stressful situations. Communication gives family members the tools they need to express their feelings and address their concerns in a constructive way, which ultimately helps when conflicts and stressful situations arise… Better interpersonal communication can improve the social health of a community by strengthening relationships among various community members.36

    We promote communication climates of caring and mutual understanding that respect the unique needs and characteristics of individual communicators.

    As communicators, we need to take a two-pronged approach to our interpersonal interactions. First, we need to care about the needs of others. We need to understand that our communication can either build people up or tear them down. We should strive to build people up through our interactions with them. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t times when you have to tell people that they’re wrong, but there are ways of doing this that correct people without attacking their self-esteem.

    Second, we need to strive for mutual understanding. As we’ve learned in this chapter, a lot of things can make communication with each other very difficult. However, we should strive to ensure that our messages are interpreted correctly by others and that we’re interpreting others’ messages correctly as well. We should avoid jumping to conclusions and assuming that someone’s messages are always ill-intended.

    (Video) Interpersonal Communication Skills In Hindi - 1| Verbal Nonverbal Formal Informal | Cgacf Cgpsc Upsc

    We condemn communication that degrades individuals and humanity through distortion, intimidation, coercion, and violence, and through the expression of intolerance and hatred.

    We believe that any communication that degrades another person should be seen as reprehensible by everyone. For many of us, it’s easy for us to clearly label obvious hate messages as disgusting (e.g., antiimmigrant signs, burning crosses, racist graffit). However, many people engage in biased language without really realizing that it’s happening. We’ll discuss the issue of biased language and how to avoid it in more detail in Chapter 4.

    We are committed to the courageous expression of personal convictions in pursuit of fairness and justice.

    We live in a world where injustices are still very prevalent. From anti-immigrant rhetoric to laws preventing medical treatment for transgender people, we believe that it’s important for people to pursue fairness and justice in our world today. As such, all of us need to remember this when we are interacting with others. Whether it’s remembering to call someone by their preferred pronouns or supporting individuals seeking equal rights and protection under the law, we should help those individuals.

    We advocate sharing information, opinions, and feelings when facing significant choices while also respecting privacy and confidentiality.

    We live in a world where we faced with innumerable choices about the future. As I’m writing this, I’m currently in self-imposed quarantine during the coronavirus outbreak of Spring 2020. During this period, we’ve all become used to the term “social distancing,” or avoiding large crowds of people and keeping at least six feet from others in public. During this period, there are a lot of strong opinions and feelings on this subject. When it comes to our interpersonal interactions, it’s important for people to share information, opinions, and feelings and not have them immediately dismissed. Again, this is not to say that we believe that people should have the right to their own facts, but people should be allowed to express their own opinions and feelings.


    In addition to sharing information, opinions, and feelings, it’s important to remember to respect people’s privacy and confidentiality. Not everything we hear from another person is meant to be broadcast openly to the world. It’s important to remember not to tell other people’s business.

    We accept responsibility for the short‐and long‐term consequences for our own communication and expect the same of others.

    Lastly, the National Communication Association’s Credo for Ethical Communication advocates that people take responsibility for the consequences of their communication. If you say something that hurts someone else’s feelings, it’s important to recognize that and apologize. If we accidentally spread false information, it’s important to correct the facts when we learn them.

    Rodrick Hart and Don Burks coined the term “rhetorical sensitivity” to help explain awareness of our own communicative behaviors. According to Hart and Burks,

    The rhetorically sensitive person (a) tries to accept role‐taking as part of the human condition, (b) attempts to avoid stylized verbal behavior, (c) is characteristically willing to undergo the strain of adaptation, (d) seeks to distinguish between all information and that information acceptable for communication, and (e) tries to understand that an idea can be rendered in multi‐form ways.37

    When it comes to the ethicality of our communicative choices, it’s important to be rhetorically sensitive to more fully understand the short- and long-term consequences that arise from our communicative behaviors.

    Key Takeaways
    • Skills associated with effective interpersonal communication are listening skills, people skills, emotional intelligence, appropriate skill selection, and ethical communication.
    • Improving interpersonal communication skills requires practice and deliberate effort. The ability to identify problems and select appropriate communication skills is key to effective interpersonal communication.
    • A set of principles guides ethical communication. These principles teach us that we must respect others, attempt to see the viewpoint of others, take responsibility for our communication, and make an effort to continually improve upon our skills.
    (Video) What are interpersonal skills Definition & Examples?
    • Recall a situation in which you experienced conflict. Now that you know some approaches to effective interpersonal communication evaluate the experience your recalled and write down what you could have done differently.
    • Recall a situation in which your confidence has been broken. In other words, you asked someone to keep a secret and they didn’t. How did this make you feel? In what situations is it acceptable to violate the confidence of another person?
    • We all do something well in relation to communication. What are your best communication skills? In what areas would you like to improve?


    What is interpersonal communication Answers? ›

    Interpersonal communication is an exchange of information between two or more people. It is the process by which people exchange information, feelings, and meaning through verbal and non-verbal messages: it is face-to-face communication.

    How would you describe the applicant's interpersonal skills answer? ›

    Interpersonal skills, also known as “people skills,” are those related to how you interact with others. Most employers consider interpersonal skills to be very important for employees. Someone with solid interpersonal skills can work well with others, is a good team player, and communicates effectively.

    How will you know if you possess the good interpersonal and communication skills? ›

    People with strong interpersonal skills tend to be able to work well with other people, including in teams or groups, formally and informally. They communicate effectively with others, whether family, friends, colleagues, customers or clients. They also have better relationships at home and at work.

    How do you answer interpersonal questions? ›

    Tell us about any conflict at work and how you resolved it. Interviewers can ask this question to know how you approach a conflict and evaluate your thought process when you find yourself in such diverse situations. While answering this question, take your time and answer in a way that reflects your positive attitude.

    What are the 3 examples of interpersonal skills? ›

    Some examples of interpersonal communication skills include active listening, openness, and empathy.

    How do I say I have good communication skills? ›

    Communication Skills
    1. Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
    2. Confident, articulate, and professional speaking abilities (and experience)
    3. Empathic listener and persuasive speaker.
    4. Writing creative or factual.
    5. Speaking in public, to groups, or via electronic media.
    6. Excellent presentation and negotiation skills.

    What is the best example of good interpersonal skills? ›

    Typical examples of interpersonal skills include empathy, active listening, and emotional intelligence. Interpersonal skills permeate all areas of life and are equally important in both personal and professional interactions.

    Can you please give an example of your excellent interpersonal skills? ›

    Some examples of good interpersonal skills include: Being aware of a situation and how you can deal with it, using teamwork and communication skills as well as empathy for the right resolution. Being able to communicate ideas to other employees using great public speaking and excellent leadership skills.

    What are the 4 types of interpersonal skills? ›

    Types of interpersonal communication. There are four types of interpersonal communication — oral, verbal, nonverbal, and listening — and mastering each of these is key to success in the modern workplace.

    Which interpersonal skill is the most important? ›

    1. Communication. Perhaps the most important interpersonal skill in any job is the ability to communicate well. Whether you are hiring for IT, Customer service, Real Estate, or any other industry, your workers must be able to express clearly and effectively with others both verbally and in writing.

    What makes a good interpersonal communicator? ›

    Tailor your speech to the audience by, for example, avoiding technical terminology. Ask questions to show your interest in what is being said. Match what you're saying with your voice and your body language. Reflect on what someone has said by summarising and paraphrasing.

    What is interpersonal example? ›

    /ˌɪn.təˈpɜː.sən. əl/ connected with relationships between people: The successful applicant will have excellent interpersonal skills.

    What are 2 interpersonal skills? ›

    Some examples of interpersonal skills include:
    • Active listening.
    • Teamwork.
    • Responsibility.
    • Dependability.
    • Leadership.
    • Motivation.
    • Flexibility.
    • Patience.

    What interpersonal skills means? ›

    Interpersonal skills are qualities relating to how we interact with others. These skills are essential on a resume because they show how you will fit into a workplace. Make sure to give more context to your interpersonal skills including how you put them into practice.

    How would you describe your communication skills as a strength? ›

    Excellent communication skills refer to the kind of conversation that is meaningful, informational, sensitive, easily understandable, or reliable. And bad communication skills might involve exaggerating topics, not talking to the point, gossip, negative conversations, etc.

    Can you give some examples on how do you be a good communicator? ›

    Communication skills involve listening, speaking, observing and empathizing. It is also helpful to understand the differences in how to communicate through face-to-face interactions, phone conversations and digital communications, like email and social media.

    How do you answer interview questions about communication? ›

    Keep your answers concise and focused. Don't forget to pay attention. Listening is one of the most important communication skills. Be sure to carefully listen to every question before you respond, so your answer is a match for what you've been asked.

    What is the most important interpersonal communication? ›

    One of the most important parts of interpersonal communication is the message. Message can be conveyed in many ways: speech, body language, tone of voice, gestures and other indicators..

    What are the 7 interpersonal skills for communication? ›

    The seven Interpersonal Communication Skills that Drive IT Manager Success are:
    • Empathetic Listening: As an IT manager, one of your most important skills is your ability to listen. ...
    • Purposeful Questions: ...
    • Effective Articulation: ...
    • Difficult Conversations: ...
    • Conflict Resolution: ...
    • Influence: ...
    • Negotiation:
    10 May 2020

    What are the 3 examples of intrapersonal communication? ›

    Intrapersonal communication can be defined as communication with one's self, and that may include self-talk, acts of imagination and visualization, and even recall and memory (McLean, 2005 ).

    Why are interpersonal skills so important? ›

    Interpersonal skills are important for communicating and working with groups and individuals in your personal and professional life. People with strong interpersonal skills tend to build good relationships and can work well with others. They understand family, friends, coworkers and clients well.

    What is the example of interpersonal communication? ›

    Interpersonal communication refers to the exchange of information between people. Examples include one-on-one meetings, conference calls, emails, text messages or handwritten letters (does anyone still send those?).

    What interpersonal communication means? ›

    Essentially, it's the process of people exchanging ideas, information, feelings and intent through messages and signals. Interpersonal communication consists of any exchanges between people – this can be face-to-face but can also exist online or over the phone.

    What is impersonal communication? ›

    So what is impersonal communication? Impersonal communication is whenever you are direct, concise, and short, to the point of brashness. It's when you forget to think about the humanness of the person on the other side of the message.

    What is communication answer short answer? ›

    A constitution is the rule book for a state. It sets out the fundamental principles by which the state is governed. It describes the main institutions of the state, and defines the relationship between these institutions (for example, between the executive, legislature and judiciary).

    What is interpersonal communication and examples? ›

    Interpersonal communication is often defined as communication that takes place between people who are interdependent and have some knowledge of each other: for example, communication between a son and his father, an employer and an employee, two sisters, a teacher and a student, two lovers, two friends, and so on.

    How can I improve my interpersonal communication skills? ›

    10 Tips for Improving Interpersonal Communication Skills
    1. Be open to and ask for feedback. ...
    2. Never talk over people. ...
    3. Don't finish other people's sentences. ...
    4. Paraphrase. ...
    5. Listen actively. ...
    6. Maintain eye contact. ...
    7. Be aware of your body language.
    29 Aug 2019

    Why is interpersonal skills important? ›

    Interpersonal skills are important for communicating and working with groups and individuals in your personal and professional life. People with strong interpersonal skills tend to build good relationships and can work well with others. They understand family, friends, coworkers and clients well.

    What are the functions of interpersonal communication? ›

    Interpersonal communication can be seen as the process of interacting simultaneously with another and mutually influencing each other, usually for the purpose of managing relationships, In other words interpersonal communication includes message sending and message reception between two or more individuals.

    What are aspects of interpersonal communication? ›

    Interpersonal communications are about communicating face to face with someone and exchanging thoughts, ideas, feelings, and meanings through both nonverbal and verbal communication. It's about not just what you say, but how you say it as well as nonverbal expressions.

    What are the five essentials of conversation? ›

    The Five Most Essential Conversation Skills
    • Clarifying What You Heard.
    • Confirming Your Understanding.
    • Clarifying What You Mean.
    • Clarifying a Misunderstanding.
    • Changing the Subject.

    What is communication answer in one sentence? ›

    Communication is a process that involves sending and receiving messages through the verbal and non-verbal methods.

    Which is fastest way of communication answer? ›

    The correct option is D

    State the telecom services as a means of communication.

    What is the best explanation of communication? ›

    Communication is all about getting information from one party to another. According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, communication can be defined as the process or act of exchanging, expressing or conveying information and ideas through writing, speaking and gesturing.


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