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Everything You Need to Know About Interpersonal Communication

Prathamesh is a Professional Career Coach, Motivational Speaker, and Platform Skills Trainer who has trained over 2.5k students till date

Learn the basics of interpersonal communication, including effective listening skills and elements of nonverbal communication

Learn the basics of interpersonal communication, including effective listening skills and elements of nonverbal communication

What Is Interpersonal Communication?

The interaction between two or more people is known as interpersonal communication. Interpersonal communication involves both receiving and delivering a message, whereas written communication and public speaking are primarily one-way communication. Listening, nonverbal communication, and speaking are all examples of this type of communication. Communication skills—with vendors, board members, customers, and community members—are probably used more than any other skill as a marketing manager.

Communication happens everywhere–learn how to practice it efficiently.

Communication happens everywhere–learn how to practice it efficiently.

Learning about interpersonal communication will allow you to:

• Recognize the importance of listening, nonverbal cues, and speaking.

• Assess your own abilities and areas for improvement.

• Understand how to improve your listening, nonverbal communication, and speaking skills by using strategies and techniques.

Effective Listening Skills

The ability to understand and respond effectively to oral communication is referred to as listening. People spend more time listening than writing, reading, and speaking combined each day. We are constantly hearing things, whether we are aware of it or not. But we aren't listening unless we concentrate and try to comprehend what we're hearing; unlike hearing, listening is a process that requires active participation. We must evaluate what we hear and make an effort to comprehend the message being conveyed.

A crucial communication skill is the ability to listen effectively. Approximately 45 percent of our working hours are spent listening. Furthermore, unless you've trained yourself to be a better listener, you're probably only listening at about a quarter of your potential. With practice, you can improve your listening skills.

How to Improve Your Listening Skills

Learn how to become a better listener with a few simple steps.

Recognize That Listening Requires Effort

Listening necessitates focus. To understand what the person is saying, you must be able to set aside the other things on your mind and at your desk.

Prepare to Pay Attention

Stop talking. This is the first step in the listening process. This is something that many people overlook. If you keep talking, you won't be able to hear anything. If you have something else to say, wait until the other person has finished speaking before continuing.

Maintain an Open Mind

While listening, it's critical to keep preconceptions out of the way. You will not be open to the message they are trying to convey if you believe you already know everything the other person is going to say or if you dislike them because they hold different political views than you.

Allowing Your Emotions to Get In the Way Is Not a Good Idea

We often stop listening when someone says something controversial or emotionally charged because we become emotional. However, it is critical to focus and attempt to neutralize the emotional trigger before it prevents the message from being received.

Empathizing Rather than Directing

People want to know that you understand their viewpoints when they bring you ideas or problems. More open communication is facilitated by an empathetic response, such as a knowing smile or an encouraging nod.

However, do not put so much of yourself into the situation that the speaker is accidentally turned off. Coming to you with a problem does not always mean that you want to solve it; it could simply mean that the person wants to be heard and understood.

Be prepared to give your honest opinion if someone asks for it. You must assess the degree to which the person is interested in hearing your opinion. It is preferable to communicate that you have fully comprehended what was said rather than attempting to change the person's mind.

Make an Effort Not to Get Sidetracked

We get sidetracked and start brainstorming in our heads about a particularly interesting aspect of the topic when we are listening to someone else's ideas. Avoid going off on a tangent or thinking about your response until the speaker has finished speaking. You can always leave a meeting or conversation and come back later to write down your thoughts. If you do not keep your attention on the person speaking to you, you will miss a lot of what is being said.

Maintain a Posture of Attentiveness

While listening, the physical position of your body is crucial. When you let your eyes wander or slouch in your chair while someone is speaking to you, this can be misinterpreted as a lack of interest, and the person will likely say less. By staring out the window, you will not be able to turn off your speaker. Maintain eye contact and rise to your feet. The significance of body language will be discussed in greater depth later in this chapter.

Stay attentive and engaged, like this girl!

Stay attentive and engaged, like this girl!

Nonverbal Communication

Nonverbal cues such as body language, eye contact, expressions, and gestures are crucial in communication. While it may appear that words are the most effective way to communicate, it is the way we hold our bodies and the facial expressions we use that determine how others perceive our messages. Let's say an acquaintance tells you she loves her job, but she doesn't look you in the eyes and keeps her arms crossed in a defensive manner while saying it. Would you believe what you're hearing? Or would you be concerned that what she said did not accurately reflect her feelings?

When you communicate with someone in front of you, the message is delivered and received on both verbal and nonverbal levels at the same time. If the messages sent at these two levels are incompatible, the nonverbal message will most likely override or at the very least give the spoken message a different meaning. As a result, it's critical to be aware of your body language when communicating with others. It will also help you understand the people with whom you communicate if you are aware of these signs.

Sometimes, communication happens without the use of voice.

Sometimes, communication happens without the use of voice.

Aspects of Nonverbal Communication

Nonverbal communication can be identified in several different ways.

Physical Orientation

Nonverbal cues include:

  • The distance you maintain between yourself and another person.
  • The orientation of your body in relation to another person (face to face or side to side).
  • Your physical posture (slouching vs. standing tall; crossed vs. relaxed arms at your sides).
  • The frequency with which you make physical contact (patting someone on the back or shaking hands).

Facial and Physical Gestures

  • Face expressions like smiling or grimacing, as well as a lack of expression, send messages to your audience. During a conversation, your expressions can change frequently and are constantly, and often unconsciously, interpreted by those around you.
  • Eye contact is a powerful nonverbal communication tool. If you don't look someone in the eyes, they might think you're trying to conceal something. If you avoid eye contact on purpose, it indicates a lack of interest in conversing with someone or an attempt to end a long conversation. In American culture, however, constant and direct eye contact is seen as a sign of aggression; listeners and speakers tend to look near rather than directly into each other's eyes.
  • Moving your hands, waving your arms, and clenching your fists are all examples of physical gestures. These cues can be difficult to control because we are often unaware of how frequently we use them.
  • One thing to keep in mind when it comes to nonverbal communication is that everyone communicates in their own way. So, for one person, a furrowed brow can indicate anger or disapproval, while for another, it can indicate concentration and thoughtful consideration. When reading other people's body signals, be cautious. You will, however, learn to read the body language of people with whom you frequently interact over time. It can be a very useful tool for figuring out what something means.

Speaking Your Mind

Interpersonal speech is probably more important than public speaking or even writing, despite the fact that it receives less attention than other aspects of communication. After all, we spend far more time talking with people than writing to them or giving presentations. And the way we communicate with one another can lead to misunderstandings and issues. Many people want to please others, so they're less direct and clear than they should be. Others want their words and directions to be understood and can be abrasive in their desire to be clear.

Strategies for Speaking Clearly and Effectively

Speaking audibly can be difficult, especially if you have something important to communicate. Here are some tips to help you get your message across.


Speaking too loudly or aggressively can be perceived as false or aggressive, whereas speaking too softly can be perceived as passive-aggressive because it forces others to hang on to your every word while also being difficult to challenge. Speaking too softly can also be a sign of insecurity.


Your tone can send a message of impatience, sarcasm, or anger even if your words are respectful. It is usually preferable to use a neutral or positive tone. A neutral, factual tone can defuse or improve an interaction, even if you are angry and conveying negative information.

Interruptions and Clarifications

You may become so engrossed in a topic of conversation that you begin speaking to finish someone else's sentences. Make an effort to reduce this tendency. Try phrases like "could you tell me what you mean by that?" when looking for more information. ” Rather than “I have no idea what you're talking about” or “I have no idea what you're talking about.”


Be specific when giving instructions if you have the authority to do so. “I need this done by 4:00 on Thursday,” for example, is more specific than “it would be great if this got done this week.”

Effective Communication Is Key

Effective management requires excellent communication skills. You will be less able to do your job if you are unable to communicate with those around you. Listening intently to others, speaking clearly to an audience, writing effectively to convey your message on paper, and understanding nonverbal communication are all examples of this. Improving these skills takes time and effort, but it can lead to more open communication and trust between you and your audience, whether they are colleagues, vendors, board members, clients, and/or other market participants.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Prathamesh Sunil Nadkarni