Communication and Interpersonal skills are the skills we use every day when we communicate and interact with other people, both individually and in groups. People with strong interpersonal skills are often more successful in both their professional and personal lives. Interpersonal skills include a wide variety of skills, though many are centred around communication, such as listening, questioning and understanding body language. They also include the skills and attributes associated with emotional intelligence or being able to understand and manage your own and others’ emotions.
People with good interpersonal skills tend to be able to work well in a team or group, and with other people more generally. They are able to communicate effectively with others, whether family, friends, colleagues, customers or clients. Interpersonal skills are therefore vital in all areas of life at work, in education and socially.
Through awareness of how you interact with others, and with practice, you can improve your interpersonal skills. This section of Skills You Need is full of information and practical advice that you can use to improve and develop your interpersonal skills.
We've all been developing our interpersonal skills since childhood, usually subconsciously.
Interpersonal skills often become so natural that we may take them for granted, never thinking about how we communicate with other people. If you have developed good habits, this is fine. However, it is of course also possible to develop bad habits, and then fail to understand why our communications or relationships are suffering.
However, with a little time and effort, you can develop both your awareness and these skills. Good interpersonal skills can improve many aspects of your life, both professionally and socially, as they lead to better understanding and better relationships.
Interpersonal skills are also sometimes referred to as social skills, people skills, soft skills, or life skills. Although all these terms can include interpersonal skills, they tend to be broader and may therefore also refer to other types of skills. Many people also use the term communication skills for interpersonal skills, but interpersonal skills cover more, including decision-making and problem-solving, plus working in a group or team and emotional intelligence.