We’ve all seen (and maybe written) ads “seeking employees with strong interpersonal skills”. Basically all that means is that we like to deal with people who can work effectively with a team and are able to communicate effectively with those they come in contact with. That doesn’t seem like much to ask.
In reality, strong interpersonal skills are harder to come by than you may think but they are worth the effort to master. Research shows us that people who have worked to develop strong interpersonal skills are usually more successful in both their professional and personal lives and more productive in general. Plus, they tend to be viewed as positive, optimistic, calm, confident and charismatic problem-solvers. These are the folks that everyone wants to work with and be around. If this is NOT you – here’s help… and a few funny quotes from Wiio’s Laws to keep it all in perspective…
What you need to know about interpersonal communication:
- It’s inescapable.You can’t not communicate. Even if you TRY NOT to communicate – that communicates something. If you aren’t talking – your body language is still communicating.
- People judge you by your behavior – NOT your intentions.
- Be sure your words & body language are saying what you mean.
“There is always somebody who knows better than you what you meant by your message.” Osmo Wiio
- It’s contextual. Keep communication appropriate to the context you’re in.
- You should not communicate the exact same way in the office, your home and a bar.
- Think about where you are and who you are with before you walk in the door.
“If communication can fail, it will.” Osmo Wiio
- It’s complicated. Theorists write that there are at least 6 people are involved in every communication interaction:
- Who you think you are
- Who you think ‘they’ are
- Who you think they think you are
- Who they think they are
- Who they think you are
- Who they think you think they are
Told you it was complicated. There’s a whole lot going on behind the scenes during communication.
- If you can tell that your messages aren’t getting across the way you intend them, stop and try a different tactic.
“The more communication there is, the more difficult it is for communication to succeed.” Osmo Wiio
- It’s irreversible. Once it’s said, you can never really take it back.
- You already know this… but it bears repeating:Think Before You Speak.
“If a message can be understood in different ways, it will be understood in just that way which does the most harm.” Osmo Wiio
If your customers aren’t “getting” the messages you’re trying to communicate, give us a call. We’re always here to help.
Marie Mallory, PR/Communications Specialist, Irons Media Group