Amy is a new graduate in education who has seemed to lose the hope and enthusiasm in her career due to the lack of communication and support from fellow team members of Park Hill Public School. This blog aims to not only provide Amy, but the general teaching community, with the support and advice regarding teaching practices and resources, the theory on learning and the roles and responsibilities expected of the profession.
How to develop interpersonal communication skills in the workplace
In order for a professionally organised and managed
workplace, one must develop effective communication skills. Competent
interpersonal skills consist of knowledge and understanding about communicating
with fellow team members. We must visualise ourselves on an interpersonal
skills continuum where we are constantly self-assessing our social composure
and disclosure to evaluate the effectiveness of our verbal and nonverbal
responses within our workplace; and to improve where necessary.
The following skills are required to communicate
1.Refer to the
person you are talking to by name. People are complimented when they know that
you are making the conversation personal.
It also enables you to store this personal information into your long
term memory. For example, when someone introduces themselves, reply with
“hello, nice to meet you (insert name).” as next time, you shall be able to
refer to them in a much more interpersonal way.
specific and complete. When speaking, include all of the necessary information
the receiver needs to comprehend your message. Repeating your message more than
once and using other skills such as pictures and nonverbal cues will help
transcend your message across.
involve using first person singular pronouns such as: I, my, me. Ownership
means taking responsibility for the ideas and feeling that you express. Be
descriptive. Describe your feelings by saying: “I feel angry when…”, “I feel
4.After you have
disclosed a message, you must continually ask for feedback to become aware how
the receiver is interpreting and processing your message. Listen with an open
mind, accepting that you have plenty to learn. If you ever have any doubts, ask
the receiver questions.
5.Avoid jumping to conclusions about what your team
member is saying. Listen to the whole message or reply before you make a
comment. If you ever have any doubts, ask the receiver
questions or paraphrase their message to clarify the information they have just
given you. Your team member will appreciate that you are listening to what they
6.Try to control your
defensiveness when communicating to team members at all times. Fear of hurting
your feelings or being confronted by defensive behavior makes people hesitant
to socialise and communicate with you.If you do find yourself
becoming defensive, practice stress management techniques such as deep
breathing and exhaling slowly.
7.The reading of a person’s
body language, such as their facial expressions, gestures and posture, is one
of the most significant skills of communication. Nonverbal communication not
only portrays how a person is feeling but also how they are coping with their
emotion. Being able to identify the following clues may ease the process of
finding the right time to confront a fellow team member. For example, a person
may appear angry when: they have frowning eyebrows and mouth, clenched fists,
flailing arms, slamming doors and stamping feet (Bolten 1997).
8.Just because a team member
gives you feedback, doesn’t mean their feedback is right. Check with other
members to receive a different perspective of the matter and to determine the
reliability of the feedback.
9.If you are being bullied or
harassed by a fellow team member, tell the person
face to face how their behaviour is impacting your work and what feelings their
behaviour evokes. If the team member’s actions still persists, document all
confrontations and report privately to the school principal.
10.If you are approached by a
negative person and they ask for help, provide advice or ideas for how the
coworker can address the reason for their negativity. Be sure that you set
limits so the team member’s negativity does not overpower your energy and
positive outlook. Walk away or tell them you would prefer to move onto more
Bolten, R. (1997). People Skills: How to assert yourself, listen to others and resolve
conflicts, Simon and Schuster, Australia
Healthfield, S. M. (2012). 10 Tips for Dealing with Difficult People at
Work: Dealing with difficult coworkers, bosses and friends at work, last
accessed: 28/09/2012, http://humanresources.about.com/od/difficultpeople/tp/dealing_difficult.htm
Robinson, M. (2006). How to Improve Your Interpersonal Communication Skills, last accessed:
28/09/2012, http://voices.yahoo.com/how-improve-interpersonal-communication-skills-55208.html Image:http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-TvPjvzPadK4/UCQhMrihYI/AAAAAAAARAo/OskBdocFYW0/s1600/Communicating.jpg