The quality of our relationships determines the quality of our lives.

-Esther Parel

In each moment, we can choose the quality of relationships we have we others.  And a critical component of successful relationships is our ability to communicate effectively.

Interpersonal skills are not typically taught in school.  This is unfortunate because these skills are crucial for creating and maintaining meaningful personal relationships both at work and at home.

Developing strong interpersonal communication skills, specifically, can lead to strong and healthy relationships in any environment.  Interpersonal communication is essentially the exchange of ideas, thoughts, feelings, and information with others.  Exchange can be verbal or non-verbal, such as with facial expressions or body language.  The key to successful interpersonal communications is to have an intended message conveyed and received as intended.

In The Achievement Habit, author Bernard Roth shares invaluable insights of design thinking to help people achieve goals never thought possible.

In the book, Roth lists his top suggestions for good interpersonal communications, which I find extremely valuable in any daily interactions with others.  Here are 5 of his tips:

1.        Speak from your own experience rather than absolutes.  For instance, saying “It seems to me or “It sounds like” instead of “Everyone knows…”

2.        Refrain from unsolicited advice.  People want to know that you heard them.  They don’t necessarily want your advice or to know about similar experiences you’ve had.

3.        Listen fully without interrupting.  It can be tempting to jump in before the other person is fully finished speaking – especially if you think you know what they’re going to say, or you’re excited about your own experience.

4.        Before telling a story, get clear on the point you want to make.  Make sure you understand what is being communicated to you. It’s easy to misinterpret a message based on our own beliefs and experiences.

5.        Limit the use of “why” questions. They tend to elicit a defensive reaction.

Even small changes to your interpersonal communications, incrementally, over time, can lead to more success and satisfaction in your business and personal relationships.

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