How To Improve Interpersonal Skills In The Workplace

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Strong interpersonal skills are a must have in the work environment. After all, there are few positions that require little to no interaction with your colleagues.

So if you’re looking to make better relationships in the workplace, you’ve come to the right place. Not only have we compiled some tips for improving your interpersonal skills below.

How To Improve Interpersonal Skills

But we’ll also make you laugh in the midst of it! And what’s a better way to form a positive relationship than through laughter? (Rhetorical question, of course.)

See Related: How Is Collaboration Different From Teamwork?

#1. Break the ice with a corporate entertainer

It’s hard to know where to start when it comes to improving interpersonal communication skills. But luckily, all you have to do is welcome a corporate entertainer to the office to do the work for you.

Give employees a shared experience to bond over

Hiring a comedian to grace your workplace is not only a great way to positively deal with stress. But it will give colleagues a shared experience to bond over.

Let’s say you have a couple of co-workers who are particularly shy. And no matter how you try to interact with them, they simply won’t open up.

A corporate entertainer will know how to tickle their funny bone. And once they start laughing, it will be hard to get them to stop!

Bring a positive attitude into the office with laughter

Sometimes, people need an excuse to laugh. There’s a special kind of magic that comes from laughter too.

And we’re not just talking about our comedy magicians’ magic. We’re talking about the people skills that laughter can open up.

When you have a pro come in and show off their own social skills, it inspires others in the workplace to do the same. After all, barriers are taken down when a group of people share laughter together.

#2. Understand the difference between verbal communication and non-verbal communication

You may think that verbal communication is the only kind of communication at work. But that’s far from the truth.

Verbal communication

Verbal communication is what we immediately think of when we think of communication as a whole. It’s in the words we say, the sentences we write, and the emails we string together.

But what’s at the core of verbal communication are two key aspects that are integral for improving your interpersonal skills at work.

Active listening skills

Good communication doesn’t just come from talking. It comes from listening.

Listen to your colleagues and demonstrate your respect

Listening to your co-workers is not only an ability you need to foster. But one that will benefit you in both your professional and personal life. (We’ll touch on this more later.)

Communicate effectively

When it is time for you to speak up, gather your thoughts in a concise manner. Don’t waste time rambling, trying to get to the point.

Be confident and assertive in your message. And make sure that you deliver effective communication, not long-winded, multi-pronged trains of thought.

Nonverbal communication

Non-verbal communication is just as important as verbal communication. If not, more so.

Body language

Our body language says a great deal to the person talking. If we’re crossing our arms as they speak, they’ll likely think we’re not open to hearing what they have to say.

If we yawn in the middle of their presentation, they’ll likely think we’re uninterested and bored. These types of body language are like putting up physical barriers between you and your co-workers.

Maintain eye contact

Maintaining eye contact is a small yet incredibly effective way of improving your interpersonal skills. It shows your colleagues that you’re invested in what they have to say.

And that what they’re saying is worth listening to. Besides, wouldn’t you like others to maintain eye contact with you while you’re speaking?

#3. Practice active listening

Let’s expand on this point from earlier. Because active listening is one of those strong skill sets that will help you improve your interpersonal skills in every facet of life.

Active listening demonstrates your emotional intelligence

When people talk about soft skills, they’re really talking about emotional intelligence. This kind of intelligence is about knowing how to read a room.

How to bring in a positive attitude to influence others’ perspectives. And how to generally communicate in a more meaningful way in the work environment.

Not to mention that listening to others makes you more aware of their emotions. And this can help you on the job when you need to identify who you can rely on and when you can rely on them.

Listening skills also help you develop empathy for your co-workers

When you practice empathy, you automatically develop your interpersonal skills. Because you’re placing yourself in your colleagues’ shoes.

The ability to do so will not only help you better interact with co-workers on the job. But it will also help you regulate your own emotions and the emotions around you.

If you’re making a business deal and the client has just told you they’re grieving a loved one, you shouldn’t just barrel through the presentation regardless. Practicing empathy teaches you how to handle delicate situations like that.

And can help you make even more of an impact on peoples’ personal lives.

#4. Become well versed in conflict resolution

Conflict is bound to come up in any workplace. But strong interpersonal communication skills teach you how to deal with conflict effectively and without malice.

Challenge yourself to embrace a different viewpoint

When conflict arises, it can be easy to bare down on our own side of the argument and reinforce our own talking points. But remember what we said about practicing empathy?

Identify areas of improvement within your own interpersonal communication skills

This is a great place to start. Good communication comes from both parties trying to reach a consensus.

And you can only do that if you give the opposing side a fair chance. So challenge yourself to embrace new perspectives, even if only as an exercise to start.

Allow it to inspire creative problem-solving

Conflict doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. In fact, it can actually inspire some amazing new problem-solving techniques you would have never thought of before.

Bringing such a positive outlook to conflict resolution is another great way of communicating your interest in compromise. And with the right interpersonal skill, you may end up making a friend out of a supposed enemy.

Think of every obstacle at work as an opportunity to develop your interpersonal skills further. It’s in these moments of friction where you’ll learn how to test your interpersonal communication skills and reflect how they served you.

#5. Ask for constructive feedback

A key aspect of good interpersonal skills is being able to take in feedback. So why not start the conversation yourself?

Develop self-awareness amongst your colleagues

Let’s say you’ve been having some difficulty honing your own interpersonal skills at work. It only makes sense then to ask your colleagues if they’re willing to offer you feedback.

Developing a sense of awareness at work is crucial for any job. Namely because you don’t want to be the person everyone tries to actively avoid in the workplace.

Instead, be the bigger person and ask others and yourself what interpersonal skills you might be lacking. Is it your body language?

Is it your verbal communication skills? Is it something else? The more aware you are about your own behavior, the better.

Listen carefully to what they have to say

It can be hard to take in what another person has to say about your work style. But if you want to develop interpersonal skills, then you need to listen.

Of course, not everyone will offer something constructive. So at the same time, it’s important to take these notes with a grain of salt.

Ask colleagues on how you can improve your interpersonal skills

But if a person brings up something you never thought about before, consider it. Address those types of behaviors that you start to notice in yourself and work to develop better interpersonal communication for the future.

It may not always be fun. But when you develop interpersonal skills, you invest in your continued relationships with others and with yourself.

Bonus: What Does An Event Planner Do?

#6. Don’t interrupt your colleagues when they are speaking

Of all the interpersonal skills out there, this is perhaps one of the more important ones. Because nobody likes to be interrupted.

These poor interpersonal skills will not help you build trust

Sometimes, interruptions may happen when you’re simply too excited to hold something in. Or maybe you don’t even realize another person is talking.

Either way, we’ve all witnessed someone being interrupted before. And it tends to make us feel more negatively about the interrupter.

So don’t be this person. And if you do interrupt someone, notice it, apologize, and allow them to speak.

This way, you’re demonstrating just how hard you’re working to improve your interpersonal communication skills. And more importantly, you’re demonstrating your respect for your colleagues.

Social etiquette goes a long way

Small things such as not interrupting people can go quite a long way. After all, having good interpersonal skills is also about maintaining them.

You never know when you are going to need some extra support around the office. So laying the right foundation with your colleagues is an absolute must.

You may wonder what makes interpersonal skills important in the workplace. But if you’ve been reading this far, then you know just how much these skill sets have to offer you.

Not just in the workplace. But in your personal life as well.

#7. Keep your emotions in check at the workplace

Emotions tend to run amuck every now and then. But in a professional environment, it’s especially important to know how to navigate your feelings as well as others’.

Don’t complain without offering solutions

Every now and then, you may find yourself complaining about the boss. Or even about how a specific project is being run.

But don’t let this turn into a habit. Otherwise, you’ll soon become known as the office complainer who spends their energy shutting down others.

And that’s not a viable way to build trust with anyone. Instead, if you have something to complain about, turn it into something constructive.

Bring solutions not complaints to the table

Bring up the specific issue with a supervisor. And be sure to follow up with substantial solutions that may help to ease the problem at hand.

This way, you’re not complaining about the situation. But rather, you’re identifying an issue and being proactive as to how to handle it.

This will garner you much more trust and respect down the road than being the office whiner. Besides, having a positive attitude at work can do wonders for your relationships as well as your own mental health.

Maintain a level head when handling difficult relationships

It may not be in your job description to keep yourself from yelling at your co-workers. But wouldn’t you say that’s not a great way to show off your strong interpersonal skills?

Instead, if you feel your emotions bubbling up, take a breath. And take a walk.

Taking time to figure out what the issue is can help you formulate your thoughts in a more coherent manner. And keep you from embarrassing yourself in front of your colleagues.

Tensions and conflicts are bound to arise. But they don’t have to end with screaming fanfare.

Instead, interpersonal skills also teach us how to regulate our own emotions. And how to handle tense situations with ease and grace.

Get by with a little help from your friends

Setting yourself up with the right foundation at work is tantamount for your satisfaction. And for your success.

So start identifying where your interpersonal communication skills currently are. And work on areas that could use some improvement.

Overall, interpersonal communication skills are something that we all must possess in order to work together. And at Clean Comedians, we’re more than happy to help you start that process. 

Keep Reading: Why Are Interpersonal Skills Important In The Workplace?

Adam Christing is a professional comedy magician, virtual MC, and the founder of CleanComedians.com. He is a member of the world-famous Magic Castle in Hollywood and a popular corporate entertainer, magician, and virtual speaker.