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How interpersonal skills can help in advancing your career opportunities?

During the placement times back in my college days, often we found many highly talented students were rejected in their last round of interviews. We observed that often the seemingly best candidates did not get placed but the mediocres did.

And we used to wonder in dismay how did it happen. Sometimes we blamed the interviewer and sometimes we blamed the luck. You would have observed this in your surroundings as well. But generally, it is not due to poor luck. It was due to a lack of interpersonal skills.

In this blog, we would learn about interpersonal skills and their role in career development.

What are interpersonal skills?’

Interpersonal skills refer to a set of skills that facilitate all our interpersonal communications. These are social skills that help us interact with different people in different ways during different circumstances.

We demonstrate our interpersonal skills in all our verbal or non-verbal communications. Make no mistake, interpersonal skills don’t mean just effective speaking. They are about effective communication.

And it is no rocket science that effective communication is the key to success in personal and professional life. You would often hear people saying, “He is a people’s person”. Which means the person has excellent interpersonal skills.

Let’s take a look at some of the most sought after interpersonal skills.

List of Interpersonal skills

  1. Active listening
  2. Effective speaking
  3. Empathy
  4. Teamwork
  5. Leadership
  6. Patience
  7. Motivation
  8. Flexibility
  9. Conflict Resolution
  10. Negotiation
  11. Reliability
  12. Optimistic
  13. Body language
  14. Encouraging
  15. Humour
  16. Tolerance

Now that we broadly know what do we mean by Interpersonal skills, it is time for us to understand their role in career development.

Interpersonal Skills and Career Development

One can understand the importance of interpersonal skills in career development by knowing that interpersonal skills are also called employability skills.

Hard skill vs soft skill

Hard skill refers to the technical skills that we require for doing a job. Like for being a graphic designer you need to know graphic designing as a skill. Soft skills refer to interpersonal skills, social skills, and people skills.

When most of us apply for any position, we generally focus on hard skills. But the truth is most companies focus more on interpersonal skills today. In fact, as per a survey conducted by LinkedIn, almost 59% of hiring managers said that interpersonal skills are more important and harder to find.

And that’s why you would see that the seemingly most talented guy in the room doesn’t get the job but the one with average talent and super strong interpersonal skills gets it.

Just imagine if the companies had to check only your technical skills and your IQ then why would they conduct an HR interview after the technical rounds.

I am not saying technical skills are not important but they are not sufficient. In fact, from my own experiences, I can tell you, I have been hired multiples times by a company even though I lacked the skill they needed just because I had the interpersonal skills they were looking for. They trained me in technical skills.

Why do interpersonal skills matter in the workplace?

  1. Positive interpersonal skills help you make relationships with people and connect with them at a deeper level. When people relate to you, they feel more comfortable working with you or under you.
  2. Interpersonal skills enable you to remain calm, motivate others, work and deliver even under immense pressure.
  3. Social skills help you negotiate with clients, service providers, other stakeholders, partners and accomplish a certain task in the least possible time, resources to the best of quality.
  4. Strong interpersonal skills make you a reliable and dependable resource in an organisation that no one would like to lose.

Let’s take a look at the most desired interpersonal skills in a workplace.

Interpersonal skills in a workplace

Following are some of the most desired interpersonal skills in a workplace:

  1. Empathy: Empathy is the art of understanding other people’s emotions, situations and ideas from their perspective. People who are empathetic are conscious of the emotional state of their coworkers, friends and family. Being aware of other peoples emotions enables you to be more compassionate and intuitive in your interactions which leads to a positive work environment and productivity.
  2. Attentive and active listening: Being able to listen to someone attentively be it a client, coworker or customer helps you understand their issues in a much better way. Listening is not just about hearing, it is also about noting down small details in people’s body language, to understand their intent in a more holistic way. It is important to give verbal or non-verbal responses while listening to encourage the speaker to speak more freely.
  3. Teamwork: All great things require group effort. Hence, to be able to succeed in a professional environment or to be able to contribute to some project one needs the ability to communicate with a group of people and work with them effectively towards a common goal. Those who find it hard to work in a team find it hard to succeed in professional life.
  4. Communication: Communication is an integral part of personal and professional life. But the risk of failure becomes very high in professional life in case one lacks effective verbal and non-verbal communication skills. Being able to communicate ideas, problems, situations, solutions, bottlenecks, plans, etc in the most effective way to a client, coworker, the boss is one of the most important interpersonal skills as a professional.
  5. Negotiation: It is the crux of many interpersonal skills. Negotiation is not just about bargaining to get the best price. It is the ability to interact with the other parties in a way to reach a mutually beneficial consensus. While communication is an essential part of the negotiation, patience, critical thinking, empathy, active listening, & flexibility are also instrumental for negotiation.

Scholarbees for interpersonal skill development

Now that you’re convinced that it is important to hone your interpersonal skills for career development let’s find out how you can do that.

Communication

For improving communication Scholarbees organises weekly virtual practice sessions with a competitive atmosphere, best speaker delegations & highly experienced professionals for guiding the students.

The group sessions have minimal participation for effective communication and engagement. Students can enrol for personalised sessions as well with professionals. For other interpersonal skills as well you can book private sessions on scholarbees.

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Poonam Gupta

Poonam Gupta

Freelance Writer, Designer, Social Media Manager, Yoga Lover and Doer, Seeker