Relationships between human beings is affected by the skills we posses that influences how we share information among ourselves. For information to be shared in the most comfortable way among the interacting individuals, it is important for either parties to posses certain skills that will promote the same. Absence of these skills will affect negatively the openness and sincerity of sharing information (Cohen, 2005). Additionally, the relationship among the individuals may be too superficial that surpasses normal interactions between two or more individuals. To enhance the way individuals interact, there are certain interpersonal skills, which have to be possessed thereby enhancing interpersonal effectiveness. The skills identified include self-disclosure, development, and maintenance of trust, increasing our communication skills, verbal expression of our feelings, nonverbal expression of our feelings, developing helpful listening, and resolving interpersonal conflicts. Resolving these skills will ensure that the way individuals relate is at the best level that guarantees maximum information sharing and improved relationships among those who are interacting. Individuals with good interpersonal skills have developed ways that enable them to identify and interact with others in different situations (Gupta. 2007).
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Self-disclosure is an important interpersonal skill that influences how individuals interact and the way they share information. This art enables one to reveal information about them that others do not know because it is normally hidden. This skill is always influenced by a variety of factors like culture, gender, the nature of the audience, the topic, and who we are (Arnold & Boggs, 2007). There are instances when one can reveal information about oneself quite easily if the audience is of the same gender with him/her, if the audience is of the same gender, and when the topic of discussion is the one that permits unlimited interaction among the parties. The rewards for self-disclosure are unlimited and they include knowledge, effective communication, it makes information meaningful, and versatility to cope up with a wide range of an audience.
It is however to realize that there are dangers associated with self-disclosure because communication cannot be reversed. This includes personal risks, relational risks, and compromised professionalism. One has to take into consideration the level of motivation, and appropriateness before one discloses information about oneself. The burdens that may arise because of self-disclosure also have to be taken into consideration (Cohen, 2005). This calls for one to listen effectively while supporting and reinforcing the disclosures and ensuring that the audience can remain confidential about the information they are given about oneself. This is aimed at are ensuring that they do not use the information as weapons to haunt us. It is also important to realize that some instances may force us to resist disclosing information about ourselves and call us to be indirect while doing this (Arnold & Boggs, 2007).
The second way in which interpersonal skills can be enhanced is through developing and maintaining trust. One way of maintaining trust includes giving attention to an individual so that they can be able to perform tasks more comfortably. This can be enhanced by offering support and providing feedback in a manner that is expectable to the other partner, we are engaging. Additionally, trust is developed by building loyalty and commitment, setting limits for interaction, and nurturing ideas and interpersonal skills. Trust is the expectations of the other person that is developed and rooted in personality (Dickson & Hargie, 2009). The ability to build trust is seen as the best tool to enhance interpersonal relationships and ultimately the communication process. Additionally, integrity, being fair and reliable is the best way to build trust and thereby enhancing interpersonal skills. It is also important to be caring, promote open communication, and behaving in an ethical and in a style that is socially healthy. There are ways of mending broken trust so that interpersonal skills can be reinstated. This includes acknowledging the violation of a broken trust, determining the nature of violation from the perspective of the grieved party, and admitting the event of a broken trust. This is best achieved if the violation of the broken trust is accepted because denial will make matters worse. In addition, one should offer to make reparations (Hargie, et al 1994).
The third way of improving interpersonal skills is by enhancing our communication. This is possible through various ways including listening without judgment. Good communication entails listening to the other party without being influenced by the opinion of the other person (Cohen, 2005). Additionally, communication is enhanced by taking time to understand and responding to the other person so that the correct information is given. Whenever one is lost in a communication process it is important that the y ask for a clarification and a repetition. It also important that someone does not make himself appear correct at all times. One should also speak with honesty, sincerity, and respect. Good listening skills should be practiced and it may require coaching and learning so that personal relationships are enhanced and maintained (Boulden, 2008).
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Expressing our verbal feelings is another way of improving our interpersonal skills. This made possible when the individuals are aware of the emotions and this call for us to be assertive. The assertive element in us is enhanced by our ability to express our feeling in a manner that is acceptable to whom we are interacting with. Additionally, it calls for us to express openly our beliefs and thoughts by voicing our opinions, taking definitive stands even if it might be emotionally difficult for us to accept. Individuals who are assertive are not shy at all and are positioned at a level that they can be able achieve their goals of engaging in the conversation (Dickson & Hargie, 2009). Being independent is another way of expressing our feelings verbally made possible through our ability to make self-reliant and important decisions. This includes taking risks being self-regarding ourselves to the extent of accurately gauging and appreciating our strengths and weaknesses. Building successful relationships is important in enhancing how we relate and communicate effectively with other people.
Verbal expressions of our feelings can be enhanced by using nonverbal techniques to enhance our interpersonal skills. This is made possible by use of gestures and facial expressions that are friendly to the ones whom we are interacting. The posture and body orientations mean a lot while we relate with others. Maintaining eye contact for instance ensures that we concentrate and the flow of information is not interrupted. Additionally, it signals that we are interested in what others are saying thereby increasing our credibility to the audience. The facial expressions that we can employ includes those that show friendliness, warmth, and happiness so that the audience may feel some form of attraction the information they are being given. Lots of information in the way we talk walk or even sit thereby showing the importance of using gestures (Dickson & Hargie, 2009).
Communication is also enhanced by the proximity of the interaction distance. The audience or the individual we are interacting with should be in a position to hear whatever we are saying. Failure to understand us is one way of making unsuccessful interpersonal relationship skills. Employing paralinguistic is also important in influencing the way we relate with others. This is depicted by the tone of communication, pitch, loudness, timbre, and rhythm. The use of humor is also important because laughter removes stress from the listener and fosters friendly interaction (Arnold & Boggs, 2007). A good speaker should always avoid monotone because the audience will perceive them as dull and boring. This will negatively affect the interpersonal relationship.
Developing listening skills is an important aspect of building interpersonal skills. It is always important to know that poor listening undermines the ability to communicate with others. A speaker should also take into consideration the fact that people can interpret messages differently and should try as much to use words that are not ambiguous. Four method of effective listening have been identified and they include comprehension, evaluative, emphatic, and appreciative listening (Hayes, 2002). Evaluative listening is the greatest tool that we should employ when we are listening on the arguments of the other person so that the best information is sifted so that it can form a good base for persuasion. Emphatic listening should also be employed in order to understand the perspective of the person we are engaging in a conversation. It entails understanding the feeling s and the thoughts of the speaker and when this is coupled with appreciative listening, the audience will ultimately cooperate thereby enhancing our interpersonal skills and relationship (Hayes, 2002).
Besides learning the listening the skills, it is also important for an individual to devise ways of resolving interpersonal conflicts. These calls for us to have skills that can enable us to manage our anger, stress, and how we feel towards others. Inability to manage stress and anger can make us reply to the audience in a manner that may make the relationship sore. This may call for us to take responsibility of a mistake that we may not have done. This will give room for resolving a problem that may open a way for effective interaction. The use of ââ‚¬ËœIââ‚¬â„¢ statements is also encouraged and when this is coupled with empathy, successful interpersonal interaction flourishes. It also requires us to set the right tone for the conversation. Avoiding attributions and respecting others is essential (Gupta. 2007).
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There are barriers that affect how we can effectively relate with others. The barriers can be physical, mechanical, mental cross-cultural, or socio-psychological. Time and distance between two conversing parties, poor verbal skills, and poor hearing constitutes the physical barriers to effective interpersonal skills (Dickson & Hargie, 2009). Noisy transmission or use of wrong mediums makes up the mechanical barriers of communication that can lead to misunderstandings among the engaging parties. This affects interpersonal relationship. Individuals can relate well if they are of sound mind. The relationship will otherwise be poor if mental barriers exist for example ignorance of the language used, and divided attention. Cross-cultural barriers can constitute poor interpersonal effectiveness especially if those who are interacting have preconceived notions, assumption, power struggles, and distorted perceptions. There are techniques that we can employ in order to uphold good interpersonal relationship. When communication is oral for example, one should be clear and concise to the point. This is enhanced by use of instruments that are fault-free (Boulden, 2008). All communications should have the ultimate aim of persuading those whom we are relating rather than rushing or overwhelming the other party.
Several factors call for us to have good interpersonal skills. One them is the fact that it fosters good human relationships that ensures that human beings live in harmony with each other. Additionally, it ensures that information is passed in the right manner without creating enmity within ourselves (Gupta. 2007). The skills are important to managers of a company because it helps in creating a good working environment that can improve the performance of employees. The skills are also important in defining the boundaries in which individuals relate. This also applies to the teacher-student relationship. Whenever a teacher has good interpersonal skills, this virtue alone may be able to create a good learning environment for the students. This thereby shows that students may be able to post a good performance in their studies (Boulden, 2008).
It is important for every individual who is interested in developing good relationship with others to possess good interpersonal skills. Some of these skills are closely intertwined with those of communication and this will assist us to know ourselves better. When an individual can be able to relate freely and comfortably with others without creating conflict with them then it is a clear sign that one possesses good interpersonal skills (Dickson & Hargie, 2009). This is always essential for any individual who needs to prosper in all aspects of life.