Develop Your Interpersonal Communication Skills for Success at Work and at Home

by Felicia Slattery - Date: 2007-01-27 - Word Count: 727 Share This!

As a college professor of communication, I am often asked by students why the skills I teach are important. A lot of what I present in the classroom relates to interpersonal skills in the lives of the college student: with friends and family. However, many students are taking college coursework to prepare them for a professional career. It's important to realize that communication skills are easily transferable. Just how are the interpersonal skills someone learns useful at both home and work? It's not that big of a stretch, really.

Look at the job postings in the paper or at one of the online career search sites. What is the ONE skill required of almost every job? GOOD INTERPERSONAL COMMUNICATION SKILLS. What is the one skill that will make a marriage great? It's not being a fantastic cook or a fabulous lover. It's GOOD INTERPERSONAL COMMUNICATION SKILLS. It's no accident that it takes the same skill set to be successful in marriage and at work.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying if you are not successful at one you won't be successful at the other. But what I am saying is that with good, solid, interpersonal communication skills, you will be more likely to succeed in both your marriage and in your career.

What are some of these skills? Take a look at any basic interpersonal communication textbook and read the titles of the chapters. You'll see perception, intrapersonal communication, listening, language, emotions, non-verbal communication, self-disclosure, communication climate, conflict resolution, and others. Being excellent at these skills will make you excellent at being a good friend, good spouse, and good employee, boss and co-worker.

How do you become excellent at interpersonal communication skills? By learning them and putting them into practice as often as possible.

One fact about communication skills is that there are no "born communicators." We are almost all born with about the same capacity to speak and understand others. But the skill part-- well, that we have to learn. Some people may have a head start because they lived in an environment where the people closest to them model good interpersonal communication skills regularly. But what if you grew up with people who were not the most effective communicators? You didn't get a chance to see what a model of good interpersonal skills looked like, so why should you be expected to know them, do them, and live them? All you need is a little knowledge and a little practice, and you'll be on your way to success at work and at home.

Here are some suggestions for developing your interpersonal communication skills:

Self-help books: Visit your local library, book store or favorite on-line book seller and search for subjects like: communication, public speaking, relationships, etc.College classes: Community colleges provide excellent resources to foster adult learners and life-long learning at affordable prices and often have no entrance requirements other than living in the district.College textbooks: You don't have to take a course to get the benefit of reading the textbook! Visit an academic bookstore or library (again, your local community college is a great resource for this). Look for titles about interpersonal communication, public speaking, introduction to human communication, etc.Websites: Many professional and academic sites offer helpful tips and information. Plug a key word or phrase into your favorite search engine and surf away.Get your employer to help: Suggest that your employer consider hiring a speaker, trainer or consultant to help everyone on the job gain similar skills. Consultants can provide a needs assessment and create a training program customized to the needs of your group.Get private help: Communication coaches are trained professionals, most with years of experience, in helping people learn the skills you want to gain. Many coaches offer group and individual coaching so you can gain the skills you want very quickly.

Once you have an opportunity to develop your interpersonal communication skills, all you have to do is regularly put into practice what you have learned. One benefit of gaining better interpersonal skills is you'll soon start to notice shifts in the way others interact with you. You will be seen as more powerful, more intelligent, and more approachable all at the same time. If you have never learned communication skills, it is never too late. Start your journey today-you'll be glad you did!

Felicia Slattery, 2007.

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Related Tags: success, home, skills, work, communication, for, your, and, at, develop, interpersonal

Felicia Slattery is a life and relationship coach with more than a decade of experience teaching others how to improve their communication skills and lead happier more successful lives. She offers a free e-course called "5 Strategies for Creating Happily Ever After in Your Marriage" at her

Enjoy your marriage: it's the Journey of a lifetime!

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