Interpersonal Skills are considered "soft" skills, something that comes naturally to you; skills you were blessed with at birth. However, just because it may not come as naturally for you as it does for others doesn’t mean you can’t acquire or improve upon these "soft" skills.
WHEN YOU’RE SPEAKING…
The best way to engage your audience is to speak with enthusiasm! Smile! Make eye contact with people. Use gestures and add a dash of personality. Even the most closed listeners aren’t immune to the contagion of enthusiasm. The most reserved people cannot resist the great energy given off by a smile. Eye contact communicates credibility; especially when you are speaking clearly, with perfect pauses and sustained confidence. Using hand gestures, facial expressions and even vocal variety holds attention. It’s the perfect opportunity to add some of your personality to the conversation. After all, it makes the dialogue more interesting and you become more relatable.
WHEN YOU’RE LISTENING…
When someone is speaking to you, the best way to display your interpersonal skills is to be quiet. That’s right! No verbal communication until they are done. However, non-verbal communication is essential! Eye contact and facial expressions matching the mood of the conversation shows you are actually listening to the speaker and not just day dreaming while staring them right in the eyes! Think about it…if the speaker were enthusiastic and holding your attention with the examples expressed above, it would be hard to day dream and not be fully engaged. However, for those who haven’t quite mastered the art of speaking; listen without interrupting, use your body language and facial expressions to show that you are paying attention. And when it’s time for you to speak, be proactive. How do you do that? Ask questions and provide helpful feedback when asked or when it’s needed. It may be an empathetic or a celebratory response. Offering suggestions for solving a problem, words of encouragement, or excitement are always appreciated. When someone is speaking to me, while I am listening I am fashioning a positive response to what they’re truly saying that will motivate, inspire or help them.
People love to have conversations with me! And these are the reasons why. Either they find me entertaining and engaging when I’m speaking to them, or they feel heard when they’re speaking to me, by a great listener who is nonjudgmental and always hoping to be of service in any way that I can.
It is a win-win approach to shoring up those "soft" skills and enjoying great conversation.
Let’s “talk” soon!
Kelly is also an Editorial Board member of SCCE's Compliance and Ethics Blog. Click button below to be directed to that site.