What are Interpersonal Skills & How to Improve Them

The human individual evolved from having around and interacting with, on average, 150 people – his/hers tribe (village), to interact and having around thousands of individuals.

2 tribe 1

For this reason, the expression “survival of the fittest” has now a new meaning.

The fittest is not any longer the person with the greatest physical strength or the best gatherer, nor is the person fortunate enough to be born into wealth and privilege.

Today, the fittest is that person who knows how to:3 collaboration 1

  • collaborate,
  • negotiate,
  • listen,
  • make themselves liked,
  • influence,
  • be assertive,
  • communicate clearly and concisely,
  • build a positive image of themselves in the eyes of those around,
  • gather around themselves people that are appreciating them, accept them as they are, challenge them in a positive
    way to aspire and accomplished great things, people that are treating them with respect and dignity.

The list could continue with other tens of characteristics of the fittest, yet we stop here for now because most of the fittest characteristics and traits are linked to each other and these characteristics that I’ve mentioned are the most important ones, and they are generating automatically many others.

The good news is that all these characteristics and traits are things that you can learn no matter your background, age, social status today and even level of intelligence or physical appearance.

And an even better news is the fact that your success in life is in your hands and is based more on your interpersonal skills and less on the way you look, how wealthy you are or any other thing that can change in an instance.

What are interpersonal skills?

4 core interpersonal skills 1

By a simple definition, interpersonal skills are a cluster of abilities that help you to interact in a positive way with other people and to work effectively with others.

Interpersonal skills are based on behaviors, manners, attitude, courtesy, habits, beliefs and personal projected image.

Every area of your life is directly connected and influenced by your interpersonal skills; therefore, understanding, improving and mastering the interpersonal skills will have a positive effect on your overall level of happiness, plus:

The benefits of improving your interpersonal skills:

  • It is increasing your ability to build long-lasting and meaningful relationships.
  • Makes your communication effective; you get the results you want because you know where you are going and how to get there.
  • Gives you confidence and drive to advance your career.
  • Helps you to understand yourself and others better.
  • Provides the tools you need to manage and live your emotions with positive effects.
  • Creates the perfect ground for you to use and expand your potential and talents.
  • Allows you to feel connected to other people.
  • Gives you the opportunity to search and find the place where you feel you belong and where you are useful, liked, loved and wanted.

You are living now through the age of technology and, as technology evolves more and more, you are faced with a dilemma: 

How much of yourself are you sharing and putting into the world?

How much of yourself are you revealing to those around you because, what technology does the most, it is helping you to stay hidden?

The danger of immersing yourself in building relationships through, and only through technology is that you lose the ability to be alone sometimes, to be vulnerable, to show people who you are.

As a consequence, you could end up spending valuable time and energy with:

  • Relationships that are going nowhere,
  • Maintaining a personal image that is not YOU,
  • Trying, without success, to achieve high levels of standards that you don’t have but you pretended to have.

If the interpersonal skills would have rules…

The first rule should be to allow people to know you as you are.

because who you are is easy to maintain, easy to be honest about it and has the potential to make your life happy and fulfilled.

Don’t be like the Chihuahua.

Because some celebrities wear them in their purse, everybody wants one, and now, Chihuahua is one of the most abandoned dog breeds in America.

Own being yourself, and who you are and you will not feel the desire to abandon yourself, most probably, never.

Build your life on your strengths, abilities, and talents.

When you take out the fear of being who you are, you develop the ability to see and accept the rest of people as they are as well, which is a must have interpersonal skill.

Make yourself seen and known, no need to be perfect because when you’re seen and known, you become the beautiful perfectly imperfect human next to another perfectly imperfect human.

People don’t care too much if you are perfect or how successful you are, people care, though, very much about what can you do for them, how are you useful to them, what are your skills and knowledge that can enrich their lives, how important they see themselves in your eyes.

You have tremendous power to make people feel good, or less good.

Beyond being something that you learn to do, Interpersonal skills are something you learn to be:

  • How are you related to others?
  • What are you bringing into their lives?
  • It takes such little effort and costs to make people feel good about themselves, is it not? Just consider the fact that it takes the same amount of energy to be a positive influence in people’s lives as it takes to be a negative one.

You can change the world not only, by what you know how to do, but also by how you are in the world and how you’re allowing others to be in your world. Life is not about one winner; in life, you have the power to make winners almost all the people around you.

The second rule for interpersonal skills could be to See people as people.

Corporate CEO’s and politicians that are taking decisions against others can allow themselves to do it because they took out from their minds the people and they see only the numbers. If these CEO’s and politicians will get to know the people affected by their decisions, they will most certainly take much better decisions because once you know a person personally, it is very hard to do harm intentionally.

See people as people, understand that they are coming into your life with a history and different life experiences than yours.

Start from the premise that people are good by nature. They will do the best they know how to do.

The third rule for interpersonal skills could be to allow yourself to be wrong sometimes.

With being wrong comes progress. How?

Being wrong sometimes, allows you to get creative, to search outside the box. Creates a need and there is no better teacher or motivator other than a need.

Plus, being wrong can give you more confidence because you can fully appreciate the many times you are right.

If you are never wrong, you’re setting a very high bar for yourself, a bar that you cannot keep for too long.

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