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How to Improve Your Most Important Interpersonal Skills for Professional Success

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In many job settings, communication is key whether managing a team or executing day-to-day work. Whether you’re brainstorming ideas to solve a problem with your supervisor or navigating an issue with a work colleague, it’s important to not only know how to handle these types of social interactions but also to understand your personal strengths and weaknesses in terms of engaging with others.

By practicing and mastering interpersonal skill techniques. you can successfully handle yourself through a variety of complex work situations and make yourself an even more effective and valuable employee.

Below are four (4) critical areas where improving your interpersonal skills can really help you in establishing and successfully building your career – as well as your professional brand. You surely have experience using these interpersonal skills but just the exercise of thinking about them will help you identify areas for improvement. Be sure to set some concrete goals regarding at least one thing you are going to do to improve across each aspect of these interpersonal must-haves:

  • Collaboration
    It might seem like a “no-brainer” but, if you’ve ever had to work on a group project or cross-functionally with people in other departments and/or companies, you know that it can prove difficult to communicate your ideas when thinking on your feet. By actively listening first and then pro-actively sharing your ideas – while also supporting your colleagues’ ideas – you can sharpen your ability to collaborate effectively. Collaboration is one of the key forms of interpersonal communication so seek opportunities to engage with others and you will not only find working with others easier while enhancing your professional reputation.
  • Networking
    Of all the interpersonal skills, knowing how to network is one of the most written-about skill sets and, for many of us, also the most daunting. To become a solid net-worker, you need to know how to navigate social interactions with complete strangers. The keys to productive networking lie in doing your research and in being comfortable with being uncomfortable. By understanding more about an individual’s background before reaching out and showcasing confidence that you’ve done your homework, you’re setting yourself up for success when networking.
  • Problem/Conflict Resolution
    If you’ve ever had an awkward experience with another coworker, you know that it most likely stemmed from a miscommunication between both of you. By enhancing your problem resolution skills, you’re not only taking steps to be a better communicator, you’re also taking initiative to become a leader. Many leaders must develop strong conflict resolution skills in order to rise to the top. Enabling better conflict resolution skills also leads to more cohesiveness among you and your team members. Where’s there’s conflict, there is opportunity to strive for agreement and having this skill can prove very valuable when creating team wins and/or negotiating or advocating for what you want professionally.
  • Self-Reviews and Assessments
    When you’re in the interview process, you should be able to highlight specific examples of the previous skills we reviewed. As you expose yourself to more experiences in interpersonal communication, utilize the above skills, and leverage them to your advantage, remember to always assess outcomes. Whether a given effort or interaction or project is successful or unsuccessful, take time to reflect on the end-product and always look for what could have yielded you an even better result.

To get more strategies and direction for landing the best job for you, think about signing up for the free version of the MentorWorks Talent Accelerator Platform (TAP). The six (6) lesson career-enhancement framework is specifically built with job-seekers of all levels in mind. Whether you are a student right out of college, or a seasoned professional looking to make a career change, the TAP platform was made to jump-start your career development and job search.