couple2The ability, or difficulty, to communicate and relate with others in an effective manner greatly impacts individuals’ thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Individuals with strong interpersonal skills tend to be confident, have healthy and close relationships, and engage in class, work, networking, and team building opportunities.

Some common areas that adversely impact one’s interpersonal skills include the following:

–   Limited or no eye contact
–   Poor listening skills
–   Speaking too much or too little
–   Difficulty asking questions to maintain a conversation
–   Trouble sharing information about oneself

The positive news is that while it may appear that some people are born highly proficient communicators, strong interpersonal skills are actually learned and developed through practice. The initial phase is to obtain a solid understanding of the core components of competent communication. While there are underlying principles that transcend all types of interpersonal interactions, distinct differences regarding effective communication depending on the specific situation exist. After understanding these foundational concepts the next stage consists of repeated practice, with ongoing feedback, to facilitate the transition of the practiced techniques into automatic skills.