CPD tips - How to enhance your interpersonal communication skills

CPD tips - How to enhance your interpersonal communication skills

15 Sep 2023

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Interpersonal skills are used by each of us every time we interact with anyone in our lives, whether parents, friends, colleagues or even strangers. Making sure these are consistently honed, improved and evaluated can offer a great deal of value, particularly in the workplace. This CPD article will outline the importance and benefits of effective interpersonal communication skills, and provide some simple tips on how to enhance them.

What is interpersonal communication?

Interpersonal communication typically refers to the exchange of information, thoughts, feelings, and ideas between two or more people. It's the process of sending and receiving messages through verbal and nonverbal cues, such as words, gestures, facial expressions, tone of voice, and body language. Effective interpersonal communication involves active listening, empathy, understanding, and adapting one's communication style to connect with others in meaningful ways.

Why is interpersonal communication important?

Interpersonal communication is extremely important and can serve as the foundation for building and maintaining healthy relationships, both personal and professional. Knowing how to properly apply these skills will offer numerous advantages, including:

  • Effective Relationship Building: People need to express their feelings and emotions to connect with others on a deeper level and create meaningful relationships. Clear and effective communication allows individuals to share their joys, concerns, fostering trust and empathy that can lead to stronger, emotional bonds. This can help to understand others' perspectives and build more compassionate and supportive interactions.
  • Improve Career Prospects: Developing interpersonal communication and related soft skills through Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is valued by employers and can enhance a CV. These skills are often transferable across different roles and industries. Individuals who are able to communicate clearly tend to excel in interviews, presentations and can lead to career advancement.
  • Personal Growth: Engaging in interpersonal communication requires self-awareness, reflection and self-improvement. Refining your own communication style and preferences can improve your interactions with others, enhance your emotional intelligence and lead to personal growth.
  • Stronger Networking: Good communication makes it easier to connect with new people and expand your professional network. Building rapport through communication opens doors to opportunities and collaborations.
  • Diversity and Inclusion: Proper interpersonal communication is vital for connecting with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures, promoting cross-cultural understanding, respectful interactions and inclusion.
  • Positive Personal Impact: Individuals with strong interpersonal skills, in general, are often perceived as approachable, friendly, and trustworthy. A positive impression can lead to more fulfilling social interactions in an individual’s personal and professional life.
Benefits of developing your interpersonal skills

What are the benefits of interpersonal communication skills?

In essence, interpersonal communication is the glue that holds relationships together and drives successful interactions. Developing strong interpersonal communication has far-reaching benefits that can positively impact your personal relationships, professional success, and overall well-being. Benefits of interpersonal communication skills may include:

  • Conflict Resolution - Interpersonal skills can help to resolve any conflicts and misunderstandings that may occur. Clear, accurate dialogue ensures that messages are received and understood as intended. When thoughts, feelings, and concerns are communicated openly, it becomes easier to find common ground, minimize and address issues constructively, essential in diffusing tense situations and maintaining harmonious relationships.
  • Teamwork and Collaboration - In professional settings, strong interpersonal skills are crucial for good teamwork and collaboration. This ensures that individual team members understand their roles and responsibilities, can clearly express new ideas, appreciate others' contributions, and work cohesively towards shared goals.
  • Enhanced Leadership - Sharing Information through communication is the primary means of dispersing ideas and knowledge. Interpersonal skills are essential for conveying instructions, discussing plans, and brainstorming new concepts. Leaders who excel in communication can inspire, motivate, and understand individual needs or concerns, provide direction and guide their teams more efficiently.
  • Negotiation and Persuasion - Negotiation skills rely heavily on effective communication. Influencing and persuasion is a powerful tool in sales, negotiations, or personal discussions. The ability to articulate viewpoints persuasively and listen to others' needs are more likely to result in favourable outcomes.
  • Active Listening: Being a good listener is a key component of interpersonal communication. It demonstrates respect, allows for better understanding, and encourages others to share their thoughts and feelings.
  • Improved Problem-Solving: Direct communication aids in brainstorming, discussing and finding solutions. When team members can openly share their ideas and concerns, problem-solving becomes easier.

Types and examples of interpersonal communication

Interpersonal communication encompasses various types, each complimenting each other while serving different purposes in our interactions. The following illustrate the diverse and common examples in which interpersonal communication can take place:

Verbal Communication: Face-to-Face Conversations, Telephone Calls or Participating in Meetings, for example.

Nonverbal Communication: Body Language, Gestures, Posture, Eye Contact and Facial expressions.

Online / Written Communication: Text Messages, Emails, Handwritten Notes, Social Media Posts, Messaging Apps.

Simple tips to improve interpersonal communication skills

Interpersonal skills are essential, regardless of the role you’re in and can contribute to how effectively people interact with one another, fostering productivity, positivity and professional success. Here are some key tips to improve your interpersonal skills:

Empathetic Communication and Feedback:

  • Empathy: Put yourself in the other person's shoes and try to understand their perspective and feelings. This helps create rapport and shows that you genuinely care.
  • Feedback and Validation: Provide feedback that is constructive and supportive. Validate the other person's feelings and experiences before offering your perspective.

Nonverbal Communication and Tone:

  • Nonverbal Communication: Be aware of your body language and facial expressions. Maintain an open posture, make appropriate eye contact, and use gestures to emphasize your points. Show that you're engaged by nodding, using verbal responses, and asking relevant follow-up questions.
  • Mind Your Tone: Be mindful of your tone of voice, as it can convey different emotions and meanings. A warm and respectful tone helps create a positive atmosphere.
Ways to improve your interpersonal communication skills

Clear Expression and Mutual Understanding:

  • Clear Expression: Express your thoughts and ideas clearly and succinctly. Avoid jargon or overly complex language, and check if the other person understands your message.
  • Clarify Misunderstandings: If you sense a misunderstanding, address it directly by asking for clarification or restating your own understanding to ensure you're on the same page.

Engagement and Patience:

  • Use of Open-Ended Questions: Ask questions that encourage deeper discussions and provide more than just a "yes" or "no" answer, which will help foster meaningful conversations.
  • Practice Patience: Avoid rushing, pay close attention, and allow the other person to finish speaking without interrupting or finishing their sentences for them before you respond.

Adaptability and Continuous Improvement:

  • Avoid Assumptions: Don't jump to conclusions or make assumptions about what the other person is thinking. Instead, ask for clarification when needed.
  • Adapt to Your Audience: Tailor your communication style to the preferences and needs of the person you're speaking to. Different people may require alternative approaches.
  • Seek Feedback: Ask trusted friends, mentors, or colleagues for feedback on your communication style. Constructive feedback can help you make necessary changes and improvements.

Remember that improving interpersonal communication skills is an ongoing process. It takes time, effort, and a willingness to learn from your experiences. The more you practice and refine your skills, the better you'll become at connecting with others and building meaningful relationships.

Where to find CPD courses to develop your interpersonal communication skills?

In summary, strong interpersonal skills can help individuals to express themselves, connect with others, and navigate the complexities of human interaction. If you are interested in improving your communication skills, active listening or any other subjects related to effective interpersonal relationships, there are a wide range of CPD courses available which may be beneficial to your career and will help give you confidence to develop further.

Within the CPD Courses Catalogue, there are numerous courses, as well as educational events, eLearning programs, conferences, workshops and seminars. Here you will find a comprehensive range of training hosted on behalf of our members which has all been formally CPD certified. To find out more about a particular CPD course listed on our website, you can complete an enquiry form and the details will be sent directly to the relevant CPD provider.

How to become an accredited CPD Provider

We hope this article was helpful. Established in 1996, The CPD Certification Service is the world’s leading and largest CPD accreditation organisation working across all industry sectors. If you are looking to provide training courses or events that may be suitable for Continuing Professional Development, please contact our team to discuss in more detail.

Alternatively, if you are looking for a free online CPD record tool to help manage, track and log your ongoing learning, as well as store your professional training records and attendance certificates in one simple place, go to the myCPD Portal page.

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