What is Interpersonal Communication? Definition, Importance and Must-Have Skills

Interpersonal communication is a key “soft skill” that is highly valued in many job roles. It encompasses the ability to effectively express emotions and ideas, foster empathy and understanding, and strengthen professional and personal relationships.

It is also vital for being a successful team player or group leader. Strong interpersonal communication skills can help reduce misunderstandings and conflicts, leading to a more positive and productive work and personal environment.

What is Interpersonal Communication

Interpersonal communication is the process of exchanging information, ideas, opinions, and feelings that occur between two or more people.

Examples of interpersonal (interpersonal) communication include a conversation between two friends, a family conversation, and a conversation between three people.

Interpersonal communication can occur anywhere when watching movies, studying, and working. Interpersonal communication can be called interpersonal communication. Interpersonal effectiveness is determined by how the message is conveyed.

According to Dean Barnlund, interpersonal communication is a communication process that involves other people. Interpersonal communication occurs when interactions focus on verbal and nonverbal cues and reciprocity.

If there is no verbal and nonverbal exchange process, it is not called an interpersonal communication process.

Characteristics of Interpersonal Communication

1. The language used can be formal or informal.

2. They use certain media such as telephone, cell phone, and e-mail.

3. Two or more people perform them. Be open and communicative.

Types of Interpersonal Communication

There are several different types of interpersonal communication, which refer to the different ways people interact with each other. These include:

1. Verbal communication

This is the use of spoken words to convey a message. It can be further broken down into two categories: oral and written. Oral communication includes face-to-face conversations, phone calls, and video chats, while written communication includes emails, text messages, and written letters.

2. Nonverbal communication

This refers to the ways in which people communicate through body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice, rather than through words. Examples include gestures, posture, and tone of voice.

3. Listening

Listening is often considered the most crucial interpersonal communication skill. This includes being able to pay attention actively, whether in-person or online.

Additionally, it encompasses techniques like reflecting and clarifying what the speaker is saying. The most effective listeners are those who can give their undivided attention to the speaker, making them feel valued and heard.

4. The Written-word

In today’s digital age and times of social isolation such as the pandemic, having strong written communication skills has become increasingly valuable.

This applies to all forms of online communication, whether it’s on social media, in the workplace, or through text messages. It encompasses various elements, including the use of emojis, proper grammar, clear language, tone, and punctuation.

For example, the difference between “Let’s eat, Grandma!” and “Let’s eat Grandma!” is significant.

Each type of communication has its own unique characteristics and can be used in different situations to achieve different goals. Understanding the different types of interpersonal communication can help people communicate more effectively with others.

Characteristics of Interpersonal Communication

After understanding the elements of interpersonal communication, we need to understand the characteristics of interpersonal communication.

Referring to the Interpersonal Communication theory from Joseph A. DeVito states that the effectiveness of interpersonal communication is considered from five elements, namely:

1. Openness

An open attitude has a significant influence on the effectiveness of interpersonal communication.

Openness refers to the willingness of the source to disclose information correctly and the willingness of the recipient to react honestly to the message received.

2. Empathy

Empathy is a person’s ability to understand what another person is experiencing. With this ability, a person can respond to every message received by adjusting to existing conditions.

3. Supportive behaviour

Interpersonal relationships can take place effectively if they have a supportive or supportive attitude. The opposite of being supportive is defensive.

4. positive behaviour

This positive attitude includes the attitude of someone who feels optimistic about himself, which will affect the feelings that arise when communicating. In addition, positive emotions are also essential to be present in communication situations to create compelling interactions.

5. equality

To create effective communication, everyone involved needs to build an equal atmosphere. Equality will emerge with mutual respect and understanding of the differences that exist.

So, you can interpret every piece of information in various ways, influenced by each element of communication and how the communication characteristics are established.

Even so, you don’t need to worry about building interpersonal communication with other people because the ability to communicate can improve.

Tips to Improve Interpersonal Communication Skills

Interpersonal communication is communication that occurs between two or more people. Therefore, you must involve other people to hone these skills. You can apply some of these tips.

1. Don’t be lazy

It’s important! Especially for someone who doesn’t really like interacting with other people. Suppose you want to improve your interpersonal communication skills.

In that case, you have to force yourself to be active in activities so that your social interactions with other people will be intertwined.

2. Take part in activities that you like

Of course, to be active in activities, you don’t need to force yourself to join every organization or forum. Choose according to your hobbies, interests and talents.

3. Invite close friends

Invite your close friends to participate in the activities you participate. Even so, only depend a little on it. It would help if you built relationships with other members.

4. Praise often

A simple way to build communication with others is to give compliments—no need to think too complicated. You can compliment the way he dresses, talks, or the things he wears.

5. Be bold and ask

One way to build other communication is to ask a question to the other person. You can ask about your current situation, hobbies, or organizational activities.

The advantage of asking questions first is that you don’t have to say too much because the other person will explain things related to the question you asked.

Interpersonal Communication Uses

We inevitably employ interpersonal communication in many different situations and contexts, whether at work or home. We use this vital skill to:

  • Impart and gather information
  • Influence the attitudes and behaviors of others
  • Create contacts, make friends, and maintain relationships
  • Make sense of our world and better understand our experiences in it
  • Express our personal needs and understand the needs of others
  • Make decisions and solve problems
  • Set social and professional boundaries
  • Provide and receive needed emotional support
  • Anticipate and predict people’s behavior
  • Regulate the balance of power in a workplace or social circle

Importance Interpersonal Communication

Interpersonal communication is a crucial “soft skill” that is widely sought after in many job roles. Having strong interpersonal communication abilities enables individuals to effectively express their emotions and ideas, and fosters a greater understanding and empathy towards others.

It also plays a vital role in being a successful team player or group leader, which are highly desirable qualities for employers.

Having well-developed interpersonal communication skills can greatly enhance your professional and personal relationships by allowing you to clearly convey your thoughts and intentions.

Many conflicts arise from simple misunderstandings. By having strong interpersonal communication skills, the likelihood of these misunderstandings is reduced, which in turn minimizes the risk of arguments, hurt feelings, grudges, and issues with morale.

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