Social skills are the methods people use to communicate with others. The process of using social skills is called socialization. Social skills are also known as interpersonal communication skills. In the workplace people communicate with each other everyday. Strong interpersonal communication skills enable them to talk with all types of people including managers, coworkers, and customers. Interpersonal communication skills also help people to develop relationships with each other. These relationships are the key to workplace success. Let’s take a closer look at five interpersonal skills that are essential for the workplace.

Managing Relationships

People spend a lot of time at their place of work. A full-time employee can expect to spend 40 or more hours each week with their coworkers. This is why it is so important to have good relationships between coworkers and managers. Good relationships help people to get along with each other and help you to do your job better. Good workplace relationships are built on the following five characteristics:

1. Trust
2. Open-mindedness
3. Respect
4. Communication
5. Social Interaction

Understanding the Feelings of Others

The ability to understand and relate to the feelings of others is called empathy. Empathy helps develop strong relationships between people. Developing empathy in your students now will go a long way to helping them in their future. Empathy enables people to put themselves in others’ shoes. It encourages them to think about how they would want to be treated if they were in the other person’s’ situation. This can go a long way to developing positive and effective workplace relationships.

Cooperating with Others

Cooperating, or working well with others, is an important part of interacting with people in the workplace. Even though each employee might have their own individual tasks and goals, the entire staff or team has the same goal. That goal is to help the organization be successful. This common goal is why cooperation is so important in the workplace. Cooperation involves the sharing of ideas and the ability to listen to, respect, and respond appropriately to other people. Having your students work in groups with each other on projects is one way to develop cooperation.

Showing Respect

Respect is key for any successful workplace and any successful employee. People show respect for others by being polite and using their manners. They listen to one another and respect each other’s opinions, even when they disagree. Having respect for one another allows employees to work well together. Helping your students develop respect for each other is simple. If you treat them with respect they will learn it directly from you.

Appropriate Contact

Interpersonal communication skills are not just about the way people communicate they also involve people’s actions. The way people act towards each other influences the environment of the workplace. A good rule of thumb is to respect people’s personal space. Paying attention to people’s non-verbal cues is a good way to avoid awkward situations. Some people don’t like to be touched. Besides a simple pat on the back or handshake, it’s best not to touch people in the workplace.

Fostering Interpersonal Communication Skills

So how do you foster these skills in your students? Interpersonal communication skills do not begin in the workplace, they begin in the home and at school. Interactions between students and teachers or administrators are similar to the interactions between a boss and their employees. Interactions between students are like the interactions seen between employees. Your program must keep in mind that they way students form relationship in an academic environment will carry over to the workplace. This is why you must keep the above aspects to interpersonal communication in mind when teaching your students.