Interpersonal Skills

In this post, you will learn specific skills to improve your ability to interact with other people. Following are the interpersonal skills specifically listed in the CMQ/OE Body of Knowledge.

  • Empathy
  • Tactfulness
  • Friendliness
  • Objectivity
  • Open-mindedness
  • Nonjudgmental
  • Clear writing skills
  • Active listening
  • Questioning and dialogue techniques

Empathy

The ability to understand another person’s feelings and thoughts. This includes being able to recognize and identify one's own feelings and those of others. It is an understanding of what someone else means when they say or do something.

  • Understanding other persons' perspectives or points of view.
  • It is different from “sympathy” or the feeling of concern for others.
  • Empathy means putting yourself in another person’s shoes.

Tactfulness

Being polite and courteous; showing consideration for others' feelings, opinions, and needs. Being considerate of others' time, space, and interests. Not interrupting, arguing, or contradicting others.

  • Dictionary meaning: “the ability to deal with others in touchy situations without offending them”.
  • Some tips:
    • Avoid negative comments
    • Choose right words
    • Consider other person’s point of view as well

Friendliness

Having a friendly attitude toward others. Showing interest in others. Having good manners.

  • Open and honest communication
  • Build long term relations and trust
  • Reduces stress
  • Be ready to listen

 

Objectivity

Not taking sides or making judgments about people or things. Being fair and unbiased. Not expressing personal preferences or prejudices.

  • Dictionary definition: “having no bias or prejudice”.
  • This is the opposite of “subjectivity”, which is the expression of opinion, gut feeling, intuition or emotional response to a situation.

Open-mindedness

An open mind is receptive to new ideas and willing to change old views. An open mind is not closed off to new experiences or information.

  • Ability to accept ideas and suggestions from others.
  • Ability to understand your own cultural values, and to understand that other people might have different cultural values.

 

Non-judgmental

A non-judgmental person does not make judgments based on race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, etc. A non-judgmental individual is free from judging others.

  • Judgemental communication – pointing fingers at others, criticizing or accusing them.
  • Avoid jumping to conclusions and listen to the other person’s point of view before making any conclusion.

 

Clear Writing Skills

Writing clearly is important. The written word can be misunderstood easily. Be sure you are using correct grammar and spelling. Write concisely. Avoid unnecessary details.

  • Be direct and concise
  • Avoid jargon and focus on clarity

 

Active Listening

Listening actively involves paying attention to what is said by the speaker. It also requires that we take into account the context in which the message was delivered.

Active listening means:

  • Attending to what is being said.
  • Take note of the speaker’s tone and body language.
  • Give full attention to what is being said.
  • Ask clarifying questions
  • Limit distractions
  • Withhold judgment
  • Don't Interrupt

 

Questioning and dialogue techniques

Questions help us clarify our thoughts and gain more knowledge. Questions can lead to deeper understanding. They can help us learn something new.

Questions could fall in one of these three categories: Open-ended, Closed-ended and Clarifying questions.


  • Open-ended questions start with ... What? Why? Where? Who? When? How?.
    • Advantage: Yield informative answer
    • Limitation: May lead to conversation getting side-tracked!
  • Closed-end questions results in the answer in Yes/No form.
    • Advantage: Intended to yield very specific information
    • Disadvantages: Do not bring much information and if used too often may creates the impression of cross -examination
  • Clarifying Questions are intended to clarify,
    • Advantage: These are used to retrieve full information and prevent misunderstanding.
    • Disadvantages: If used too often may create impression that you were not listening. These are time consuming. If you are not prepared to listen in full don’t ask them.