This is the third installment in our 25 week series exploring the 25 competencies, or soft skills, that our assessments measure. Each week we’ll give you the definition of that competency, explain its value, and give you tips on how to develop it. This week: Interpersonal Skills.
Most people have a general idea of what Interpersonal Skills are, but to be specific, the definition we’re using is the ability to effectively communicate, build rapport and relate well to all kinds of people. It means that you’re able to get along with anyone and everyone you meet.
Interpersonal Skills are critical in today’s ever connected, ever more globalized world. People are no longer working just with people from their own communities. A person truly adept in Interpersonal Skills is able to connect with and relate to people from many different backgrounds. They are able to easily maintain conversations with those they’ve never met by finding common ground. They know that we have more in common with others than not.
Results in business come only from interacting and developing relationships with others. People only want to work with, buy from, and/or support those that they can trust. If you cannot build rapport and, consequentially, trust, success will be more difficult. That’s why it’s so important to develop your Interpersonal Skills.
An easy way to start doing that is just to listen more. For those of us that are extroverts (read: talkative) this can be easier said than done. We may appear to be listening, but we’re really just holding on to a story that we want to tell as soon as you stop talking. If this describes you, a good mantra to use is: Two ears, one mouth. You should be listening twice as much as you are talking. When you slow down and really listen you’ll be amazed at what you hear. You’ll better understand people’s points of view and you’ll be better able to truly connect with them. Listening is at the core of any good relationship, so start practicing now!