Photo of group chatting to illustrate interpersonal skills

Interpersonal skills, also known as soft skills, are what allow you to work effectively with other people. Strong interpersonal skills help you understand where others are coming from, communicate well with them, and even inspire them to follow your lead. Here are a few interpersonal skills that can be highly valuable in a work environment.

Communication

Both verbal and written communication skills are vital in nearly any job. If you have strong interpersonal skills, you know how to get a message across in just the right way for any audience. You know when to use jargon versus plain speech. You understand how to break down complex topics into simpler terms. You are confident but not arrogant in your presentation, and you can speak or write clearly and convincingly.

Communication also happens through body language. You know how to present an open posture, how to make eye contact, and how to give subtle cues that you are engaged in the conversation.
Active listening is a key part of communication. It means giving the speaker your full attention and genuinely trying to understand the message. Active listening involves paying attention to nonverbal cues such as body language, nodding or otherwise responding to the speaker, and asking clarifying questions as appropriate.

Empathy

Empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Whether or not you agree with their position, you understand and respect their point of view. You feel compassion and always strive to make others feel heard and validated. Remember that empathy is not the same as sympathy. Empathy doesn’t mean feeling sorry for someone else. Instead, it means that you are making a personal connection with them based on a deeper understanding of where they are coming from.

Conflict Resolution

Conflict resolution interpersonal skills is both an art and a science. Someone with strong conflict resolution skills knows how to resolve disputes. You are able to tap into just the right mix of persuasion and negotiation to help both sides come to an agreement. You listen carefully to everyone’s side and look for solutions that are mutually beneficial.

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