Effective Interpersonal Communication in the Workplace: How to Foster Better Relationships and Improve Productivity
Interpersonal communication in the workplace helps teammates communicate ideas effectively, complete projects smoothly, and build positive relationships with each other. This results in a healthier and more productive work environment.
By nature, humans are social beings. Fostering long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationships with one another is at the very core of our existence.
There are a number of reasons why constructive interpersonal relationships at work are crucial to creating a positive company culture. It not only helps employees on a personal level, enabling them to improve their skills but also benefits the organization as a whole through increased productivity.
Let’s break it down and analyze the importance of fostering efficient workplace communication in a bit more detail.
Table of Contents
What Is Interpersonal Communication?
Interpersonal communication is the act of exchanging information, including thoughts, ideas, and emotions. This can be expressed both verbally and nonverbally through gestures, body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice.
Developing good interpersonal skills, often called “soft skills, “people skills,” or “social skills” can set you apart as a true professional. You are likely to find that this professional evolution also enriches your personal life.
In the workplace, interpersonal communication occurs in a variety of formats. Team meetings, client calls, performance reviews, or regular lunches together – are all examples of situations where you’d be exercising your interpersonal communication.
So, whether you’re working remotely and using a bunch of communication features to stay connected with your coworkers to keep information flowing, or you’re right next to them in the office, interpersonal communication at work is inevitable.
This is exactly why it should be nurtured to grow strong and mutually beneficial relationships.
Importance of Interpersonal Communication Skills in the Workplace
There are positions in the workplace that require a more pressing need for finely tuned interpersonal skills – like the PR or sales departments. However, regardless of the field you work in, developing good communication skills is essential for your success.
More and more organizations have realized that technical skills are easier to learn and that employees with a great capacity for soft skills are harder to find. Therefore developing a hiring strategy focused on values and people skills has proven to be a successful game plan.
Here are the top 3 most important interpersonal skills:
- Empathy: This is an invaluable skill that enables people to holistically understand other people’s emotions, needs, and ideas from their perspective. Empathy is important because it leads to managing conflicts more successfully. Having employees with crucial interpersonal skills like empathy will enable issues and disagreements to be resolved more easily. Therefore creating a more prosperous working environment for everyone.
- Actively listening: Receiving feedback regarding a change or hearing out opposing opinions on certain topics is perfectly normal in a dynamic environment like the workplace. This should be welcomed as this discourse can help a company to improve. However, taking things too personally and not understanding other people’s points of view can create some serious waves of unrest.
- Flexibility: another paramount interpersonal skill that’s highly sought after by companies and HR departments when hunting for new talent. Flexibility improves co-worker collaboration which also allows for faster problem-solving. This is a major source of profitability for companies, in terms of saving time and precious energy. A flexible team tends to innovate better and more creative solutions when discussing problems and obstacles.
How to Improve Interpersonal Communication Skills?
Some people are born with good interpersonal communication skills, and for them forging deeper bonds with their peers comes as naturally as breathing.
However, this doesn’t mean that only naturally gifted communicators could reap the rewards of refining their interpersonal communication in the world at large and particularly in the workplace.
Like any other set of skills, interpersonal skills can be developed and improved through group activities or self-teaching techniques.
Every person responds differently to various stimuli. We know that what works for one person, is not necessarily going to bring success for someone else. So, here is a range of techniques to get you on the path to achieving wellness and personal development.
Take classes and attend personal development webinars
The internet is a vast oasis of knowledge, classes about self-development are only a few clicks away. You can find them at a level and price point that suits you, from any part of the world.
We’ve all heard the saying “You’re never too old to learn something new”.
So, suppose you want to improve your soft skills. In that case, you could take a more in-depth, personal approach toward analyzing your own behavior and exploring how to improve the ways you communicate.
Perhaps taking some psychology classes to understand human behavioral patterns and how to better respond to them would benefit you.
Learn to control your emotions
Did you know that happiness and anger are some of the most powerful emotions?
Expressing positive emotions is usually advantageous, transmitting to those around you some of your good vibes. Negative emotions, however, are often harder to keep in check and are more frequently the catalyst for action.
In general negative emotions can be tricky to conceal. According to this analysis of 70 million tweets, anger appears as the internet’s dominant emotion.
In order to improve personal and professional relationships, people should first process their emotions instead of reacting immediately. Stressful and annoying situations are (unfortunately) a part of life, we can’t change this, but we can change how we react.
For the sake of better communication and fostering stronger relationships, everyone should take some time to cool off before launching into a conversation.
Choose role models
Do you remember the innate communicators we mentioned previously? You may have some of these magical creatures in your everyday life already. If you do, you could consider taking some guidance from them.
You can start by paying close attention to how adept communicators react in different social scenarios. Then you can ask for advice from people you respect about how to respond more effectively, or how to open certain discussions, especially regarding more delicate matters.
Although not as formal as taking a course on interpersonal communication, if you remain curious, the results could be just as helpful.
Practicing your interpersonal skills on someone who is able to give you honest feedback to improve communication is always a good idea, remember that!
How Can Organizations Encourage Interpersonal Communication in the Workplace?
For employees to improve their interpersonal communication skills in the workplace, the company itself has to not only encourage it but invest in it. To help employees develop these skills, companies could organize activities for self-improvement, such as:
- training sessions
- public speaking classes
- emotion management
- team buildings
These activities can teach them how to be better team players, which leads to more trustworthy partnerships. Training opportunities and team-building events are a way of weaving this into the company culture.
Putting people who work together in a relaxed environment and getting acquainted through team building is an excellent way of improving workplace interpersonal skills.
When individuals have the chance to talk about things closer to their hearts – like their passions, people more willingly open up. Getting to know the people behind a job has proven to increase work efficiency in the long term.
How to Foster Strong Interpersonal Relationships in a Remote Work Environment?
Our new social context has brought many challenges in terms of interpersonal communication. However, thanks to a strong desire for connectivity and a sense of belonging, people have found creative ways to keep in touch, even within the circumstances of social distancing.
With modern employee communication apps which companies implemented during the pandemic, like Slack or Teams, there has been a noticeable increase in productivity within remote working.
While interpersonal relationships at work are harder to foster with a work-from-home policy, it is not impossible to still create quality interpersonal connections with co-workers. The key is finding the right tools and features to ensure top-notch collaboration.
Choosing a real-time communication tool, like Brosix’s Video Chat Feature, for example, is an excellent option for client meetings. Better partnerships and work relationships are formed when people can see each other. That’s because non-verbal communication is very important in situations like these.
Remote team buildings
As for internal communication processes between your employees, occasional face-to-face, informal meetings, like short remote versions of classic team-building events, are also a great way to foster interpersonal communication in the workplace.
Despite physical distance, there are various creative and engaging ways to build a sense of camaraderie and connection within a remote team. A few inspiring ideas are virtual lunch breaks for chatting and connecting, online team games like trivia quizzes, and remote team-building workshops on problem-solving or stress management.
Such events help employees feel included in the company culture, improve their personal relationships with each other, and break communication barriers. This inspires them to work effectively together to achieve the company’s goals.
However, not all employees are comfortable being in front of a camera. A feature like Brosix’s voice chat messaging may be more to their liking. It’s an easy and time-efficient way to exchange information whilst getting updates about a co-worker’s wellbeing. Without the worry of whether your morning face looks fresh enough to be on camera.
Improve Communication at Work With Brosix
Now that we’ve established the importance of interpersonal communication, it’s time to offer an effective solution to companies with a desire to develop and strengthen interpersonal relationships among their employees.
Communication departments, responsible for the overall external communication plan, must not neglect internal communication processes.
Any organization’s internal communication strategy should be based on new trends and their employees’ preferences.
Here is where employee engagement and internal communication tools come in handy.
Brosix, for example, offers the chance for your employees to connect and collaborate through multiple features and a user-friendly interface.
Why is effective communication important in the workplace?
Effective communication is crucial for productivity, teamwork, and achieving business goals. It fosters a good workplace environment and improves relationships among team members.
What are the elements of interpersonal communication?
The elements of interpersonal communication include:
- verbal communication
- nonverbal language and gestures
- communication style
How can nonverbal communication affect interpersonal communication at work?
Nonverbal communication, such as body language and gestures, can convey emotions more accurately than words alone. Nonverbal cues can enhance or contradict verbal messages, providing additional context and depth to interpersonal interactions.
What tools can be used for better interpersonal communication within an organization?
Tools such as instant messaging, video conferencing, and collaboration platforms can enhance interpersonal communication and streamline information exchange within teams.
How does a lack of interpersonal communication affect the workplace?
A lack of interpersonal communication can lead to misunderstandings, decreased efficiency, and strained relationships among team members, affecting the overall work environment adversely.
What are the benefits of strong interpersonal communication skills?
Strong interpersonal communication skills can help build trust, resolve conflicts, and create a positive and productive work environment, leading to better collaboration and goal achievement.
What role does internal communication play in interpersonal communication?
Internal communication channels and strategies facilitate effective interpersonal communication within an organization, ensuring that information flows smoothly among teams and departments.