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Interpersonal Skill Building: Relationships with Both Leadership and Colleagues

January 23, 2023

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A large group of coworkers are split off into two groups, talking and working together. Image demonstrates importance of interpersonal skills.
Interpersonal skills can make work easier, quicker, better, and even more fun!

Communicating effectively is a major part of the job of an administrative assistant. You will likely encounter many different contexts for communication at work, and navigating them is a crucial skill. This means that you will need to be comfortable in a number of different professional and social situations. 

Interpersonal skills are often a highly undervalued asset to have in professional settings. While it is important to understand the boundaries between personal and professional relationships, interpersonal connections in the workplace can be beneficial.

Strong interpersonal skills help to establish healthy, sustained professional relationships. You can build trust and earn the respect of executives and co-workers by honing your interpersonal communication skills. This is often an important part of an assistant's role, and can also help create a healthy overall work environment.

What is an Interpersonal Skill?

An interpersonal skill is any social skill we use when interacting and trying to build strong relationships with others. When we think of interpersonal skills, we likely think of being comfortable speaking with others one-on-one. But expressing oneself is just one side of the coin when it comes to interpersonal skills. Listening and making others feel heard and understood, is equally as important. Body language is also important when it comes to your interpersonal effectiveness skills. Here are some tips anyone can use to improve their interpersonal skills.

Building Interpersonal Communication Skills

Positivity

Generally speaking, people prefer positive interactions. When focusing on interpersonal communication skills, you should try to maintain positivity as much as possible. This is especially true in the workplace, where you should also make an effort to leave personal problems aside. Focusing on positive outcomes, solutions, and highlights in conversations is a simple trick to building better connections.

Active Listening

Active listening is one of the best interpersonal skills to have if you’re interested in building relationships. Active listening is the term used to describe being fully engaged in conversation, beyond simply hearing a person’s words. There are a lot of ways you can engage in active listening, including:

  • Maintaining eye contact

  • Noticing non-verbal cues/body language

  • Asking engaging, open-ended questions

  • Repeating or reflecting key points to show engagement

  • Focus on understanding, not merely hearing or responding

Once you start practicing active listening skills, it can be easy to adopt them out of habit. Simply being more engaged in a conversation, with the goal of understanding, tends to lead to more active listening naturally. All you need to do is be aware of active listening habits.

Be Personable

One of the trickier aspects of building interpersonal communication skills in the workplace is knowing where to draw the line. You don’t want to overshare or bring your personal life too far into your professional life. But, you also want to be relatable and allow your co-workers and bosses to be comfortable around you. 

Don’t be afraid to get personable. Show interest in them beyond the surface level, and engage in (appropriate) conversations about hobbies, activities, and life outside work. Simply providing a space for friendly chatter can go a long way in building strong working relationships.

Assertive Communication

Don’t mistake “assertive communication” for “aggressive communication.” Assertive communication simply means being clear and direct when you communicate. This can be an underrated interpersonal skill because people appreciate clarity in conversation. It lets them know where you stand, and how you feel about them. When you practice assertive communication, you will come off as more confident and easier to talk to.

Want to learn more about how to improve your professional communication skills? Browse ASAP’s communication resources for more helpful articles, blog posts, and professional development courses.


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