A Beginner’s Guide to Interpersonal Skills: Meaning and Effectiveness

In business, office, school, shopping mall or in war we are dealing with a single element that is diverse and amazing. That single element is people. While playing football or credit you want to manage a team, even then you are dealing with people. In a job interview what they are looking is a best possible fit in their own crowd of humans. Yes we are talking about inter-personal skills. After reading this article ‘A Beginner’s Guide to Interpersonal Skills: Meaning and Effectiveness‘, you’ll be able to define interpersonal skills, understand it’s types and understand the role played by interpersonal skills in your life.

On this planet we are dealing with people. Our  personality matters a lot. Its not just what we say, but how we say and at what time also matters. We judge people and we are also being judged, we notice the world and the world notices us.

Knowledge of people and knowledge of self are the rudders for the personality to guide it towards success.

Interpersonal skills/ soft skills/ people skills etc are sometimes referred and many times referred too frequently. But people actually know very less about them. They are really critical for your success and you need to know about them before going to develop them or improve them.

Defining Interpersonal Skills

The equation between other person/s and you, the interactive space and how we build and maintain it is what interpersonal skills are. They are also called soft skills and people skills too. We engage with humans when we are fighting, loving , negotiating, committing a crime, leading people for some cause, planning a birthday party etc. In employment and specially in job interviews, sometimes your interpersonal skills make a key difference.

An important part of human personality, interpersonal skills can be learned and improved. A lot can positively change for you if you invest in improving your interpersonal skills. The outlook of life, its perceptions and even whole life can be enhanced and the experience of life can become more meaningful if you consciously tender your interpersonal skills.

Strong interpersonal skills are one of the key pre-requisites for success and shows something more than confidence. Before going further, let me caution you that, interpersonal skills are more than communication skills.

Types of Interpersonal Skills

In a broad sense, interpersonal skills can divided into Verbal and Non-verbal Skills.

Verbal Interpersonal Skills

Verbal Interpersonal Skills are related to the words coming out of your mouth which includes:

  • Your choice of words
  • Your choice of tone
  • Tempo
  • Energy while speaking
  • The way you speak
  • Your pitch, voice… la la la la
  • The timing you choose say
  • Understanding what to say and what not to say
  • Being sensitive about other persons needs.

Non-verbal Interpersonal Skills

In the Non-verbal Category, Interpersonal Skills are:

  • Body language
  • Leadership skills
  • Teamwork
  • Diplomacy
  • Being dependable and reliable
  • How you conduct yourself
  • How you handle criticism
  • Negotiation skills
  • Conflict management
  • Empathy
  • Emotional Management
  • Writing skills
  • Trust worthy and credible

Importance of Interpersonal Skills

Well there are plenty of reasons to care for and work on your interpersonal skills. To begin with, let me start with a few things:


People with good interpersonal skills are the people who have a natural tendency to be a leader, politician, influencer, team leader . They are generally good at public speaking and are articulate. They can convey things clearly.

Being Successful

Being good at interpersonal skills is a one of the basic elements of a successful man in modern world. Even as a CEO of a big corporate, you need to manage departments, tasks, organisational goals, motivate the employees, participate in seminars, take presentations and much more. If a CEO is shy or severely lacking in interpersonal skills, then surely he is at a great disadvantage.

Team Player

A person with good interpersonal skills is a team player. He knows how to communicate with people and convey even the most uncomfortable things in a much simpler and obvious manner. He knows how to maintain a healthy communication and work-relationship even amidst most stressful circumstances. As a team leader/manager he conveys to his team what he expects, how he want it to be done, how he can help and guide and the time limits. He is clear-cut in his dealings and leaves no scope of confusion.

Soft skills get little respect but they will make or break your career” 

Peggy Klaus

“Treat them all the same by treating them differently.”

Stephen Covey

Confidence and Self -Esteem

A person with good soft skills displays confidence and has high self esteem. Such a person is a friend who is wanted by all. You are given your rightful due in friends, office and family. You are clear header and know what to do and how. You tend to guide people and people look up to you when they are confused.

Body Language

As we have talked about body language, how does is affect our interpersonal skills? Answers is, a lot. More than 90% of our verbal communication is done with body language. How you sit, stand, your posture, hygiene, clothing, eye contact, head movement, use of hand gestures. These thing do more than just covey your message. Much depends on these things, that how will your verbal communication will be taken.

Family Life

Being a better person helps being a better friend, lover, husband/wife, a better child and a better citizen. When you are there to lead people, work with them, understand them, listen actively, being an emotion support you build a happy ecosystem of trustworthy, secure and dependable relationships which are healthy and positive. Life becomes easy and when you have less interruptions and mess at domestic front, then you can be the warrior you wish to be outside.

Employability/ Job Interviews

In job interviews, these are called employability skills. No one wants an employee who cringes, cannot be trusted, not responsible and lacks self-confidence. Such employees cannot contribute anything positive to the organisation and rather are a big drag. A person with good soft skills works and gels better with people around him. Such persons are promoted, awarded and gains recognition.

So we have seen at working and improving your interpersonal skills are a win-win situation for you, your family, your worklife and society as well. After all we all together forms our society. We all have interpersonal skill of every kind, all we have to do is to keep them upgrading and keep us growing. This article, ‘A Beginner’s Guide to Interpersonal Skills: Meaning and Effectiveness‘ is to give a clear understanding of this most important concept for managing people. The clearer you understand, the better you can work at it.

Keep working, keep growing and don’t forget to shine.

Also do share your ideas and comments regarding how you feel about the place of interpersonal skills in your life and when was the last time you felt that you need to work upon it.


6 thoughts on “A Beginner’s Guide to Interpersonal Skills: Meaning and Effectiveness”

  1. I work in sales, so having interpersonal skills is definitely a must. What I have come to find is that companies tend to hire people with great interpersonal skills for the front office while considering others for the back office. When it comes to corporate culture, you definitely need to rank high on the scale to fit in!

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