Last modified on June 5, 2024, at 13:33

Interpersonal skills

Team meeting

According to Investopedia, "Interpersonal skills are often referred to as people skills, social skills, or social intelligence. They involve reading the signals that others send and interpreting them accurately in order to form effective responses. Individuals show their interpersonal skills all the time simply by interacting with others."[1]

Social skills and handling social relationships

See also: Social intelligence

The MBA Knowledge Base indicates about handling social relationships:

While the exchange of emotions between people is often subtle and virtually unnoticeable, these emotional signals are essential in interpersonal interactions; people who are poor at receiving these cues are prone to problems in their relationships. Individuals who possess interpersonal intelligence are skilled in organizing groups, negotiating solutions, personal connection, and social analysis. Unlike some people who would do almost anything to gain approval, these individuals are able to please others while staying true to themselves and without compromising their own beliefs or values. Studies of children trying to become part of an established play group have found that popular children take time to passively observe the group dynamic, eventually join the group in a tentative and cautious fashion, and then continue to observe the group’s interactions in an attempt to understand the group dynamic before entering in the group activity or conversation. On the other hand, children who have trouble reading other’s emotions are often frustrated, unpopular, and socially isolated. The ability to initiate and maintain relationships is due, in large part, to skill in managing emotions in others."[2]

Social networking, business networking and connectors in a social network

A fictional social network diagram

See also: Business networking and Social network

A social network "refers to a group of individuals who voluntarily interact on the basis of the interest which they profess for an idea, a problem, a product, etc. A social network may be defined as having three principal elements: consciousness of kind, rituals and traditions of the community and the moral responsibility of the individuals it comprises."[3]

According to Investopedia, "Networking is the exchange of information and ideas among people with a common profession or special interest, usually in an informal social setting."[4] Business networking is networking for business purposes.

In his best-selling book The Tipping Point the author Malcolm Gladwell describes a "connector" as a person who knows an impressive amount of people.[5] According to Gladwell, "There are a small number of people in any group, in any community who knows many more people than the average people knows. They make the phone calls, they are connected to the different worlds and they make a big difference."[6] Connectors, according to Gladwell, are individuals who help to spread information and trends throughout our society.[7]

Amanda Penn writing about Malcolm Gladwell's connectors states: "Connectors are sociable, gregarious, and are naturally skilled at making — and keeping in contact with — friends and acquaintances. The term comes from Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point. We’ll cover the role of Tipping Point‘s connectors in business and why they’re crucial to the spread of ideas, services, and products. The Law of the Few is about the people who spread messages, ideas, or viruses and cause epidemics to tip. These are specific types of people who have the contacts, knowledge, and social skills to effectively spread an idea far and wide."[8]

Social connector, business networking and personal connection skills

Book on social networking

Relationship building skills

Christian friends at Gateway Camp

See also: Empathy and Agreeableness

People build friendships in both leisure and work situations.

Building strong personal relationships

Building strong work relationships

Teamwork skills

According to Herzing University, teamwork skills include: Communication skills, Time management skills, Problem-solving skills, Listening skills, Critical thinking skills, collaboration skills and leadership skills.[9]

See also: Teamwork skills

According to Herzing University, teamwork skills include:[10]

1. Communication skills

2. Time management skills

3. Problem solving skills

4. Listening skills

5. Critical thinking skills

6. Collaboration skills

7. Conflict resolution

8. Leadership skills

Conversational skills

Dale Carnegie authored the best-selling book How to Win Friends and Influence People. The book recommended showing a genuine interest in other people.

See also: Conversational skills

Conversational skills involve keeping a conversation going and it is something of an art - which many people seem to lack.[11]

Key principles of conversational skills

Key principles of conversation skills include:[12]

1. Conversation is a two-way street

2. Be friendly and polite (Build rapport, be nice, avoid contentious conversations on first acquaintance)

3. Respond to what the other person or persons are saying. See: Listening skills

4. Use signaling to help the other person such as open-ended and close-ended questions

5. Create emotional connections (Relationship building, empathy, sharing appropriate information, etc.)

6. Be interested and you will be interesting


See also: Agreeableness and Empathy

Agreeableness is a personality trait that describes a person’s ability to be empathetic and put others needs before their own.[13] Agreeableness is one of the Big Five personality traits.

According to Science Direct:

Agreeableness reflects the individual's tendency to develop and maintain prosocial relationships. Individuals high in this trait are more trustworthy, straightforward, altruistic, compliant, modest, and tender-minded.

Agreeableness has become the label most frequently used for this personality dimension, but it is only one of many such labels. Some of the other labels used to describe the dimension (or closely related dimensions) are tendermindedness, friendly compliance versus hostile noncompliance, love versus hate, likability, communion, and conformity. It has been argued that none of these labels, including Agreeableness, adequately captures either the breadth or the substantive content of this dimension of personality. As a label, Agreeableness has been criticized specifically for being too narrow and perhaps for overemphasizing acquiescence. Theorists have suggested that it may be more appropriate to refer to the dimension either with numerals (the Roman numeral II has been used in the past) or simply with the letter A (for agreeableness, altruism, and affection).

At a theoretical level, Agreeableness describes an underlying system (latent variable) of individual differences. It is one of five broad personality dimensions that appear in all versions of the five-factor approach to personality (i.e., the Five-Factor Model). The five-factor approach describes personality at perhaps its broadest and most abstract (decontextualized) level. Trait adjectives that are positively associated with Agreeableness include kind, warm, cooperative, unselfish, polite, trustful, generous, flexible, considerate, and agreeable. Trait adjectives that are negatively associated with Agreeableness include cold, unkind, uncooperative, selfish, rude, distrustful, stingy, stubborn, and inconsiderate.[14]

Tracy Brower, PhD indicates: "Overall, agreeableness is a balance. Be concerned for others’ needs, but avoid putting them ahead of your own too much—be intentional about when the needs of the group require compromise for the greater benefit. Choose your battles, but take care of yourself as well. Avoid being aggressive, selfish or arrogant—understanding you don’t have all the answers. Demonstrate humility and judgment—identifying when to stand firm and when to give ground."[15]

The personality traits of a good diplomat are: agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness and extraversion.[16]

Communication skills

According to Genevieve Northup, MBA, SHRM-CP, HCI-SPTD, four main types of communication are: verbal skills, nonverbal skills, written and visual.[17]

See also: Communication skills

According to Genevieve Northup, MBA, SHRM-CP, HCI-SPTD, four main types of communication are:

  • Verbal: Communicating by way of a spoken language
  • Nonverbal: Communicating through body language, facial expressions and tone
  • Written: Communicating with written language, symbols and numbers
  • Visual: Communication by way of photography, art, drawings, sketches, charts and graphs[18]

Key communication skills

In addition, Genevieve Northup lists these top 10 communication skills:[19]

1. Active listening

2. Using the right communication method (pros and cons to using emails, letters, phone calls, in-person meetings or instant messages)

3. Friendliness. See also: Agreeableness

4. Confidence

5. Sharing feedback (For example, feedback such as: sharing specific examples related to the issue; consequences of the issue; asking relevant/insightful questions to formulate solutions to the various issues; and give/accept constructive feedback)

6. Volume and tone

7. Empathy

8. Respect

9. Nonverbal cues

10. Responsiveness (timely responses)

Persuasion skills

See also: Persuasion

Persuasion involves influencing a person's beliefs, attitudes, intentions, motivations, or behaviours.[20]

Negotiation skills

Negotiation is the process of submitting and considering proposals and offers of recommendation until an acceptable resolution of conflict is made and accepted. Compare Mediation and Intercession.

Negotiation principles:

Negotiation skills:

Negotiation styles:


Conflict resolution skills

See also: Conflict resolution

Conflict resolution is an attempt to mitigate or eliminate conflict between two parties, often without regard to the issues that impelled the parties to the conflict.

Conflict resolution strategies

Conflict resolution skills

The Filipino value of pakikisama

The Philippines is a country of many people. And one of the core values of Filipinos is having smooth interpersonal relations.

Pakikisama is a basic tendency for Filipinos, and is expressed in their private lives, their public workplaces, and in their relationship with their neighbors. According to the results of a survey, the Filipino trait most important to Filipinos is pakikisama. Pakikisama refers to an interpersonal relationship where people are friendly with each other. To be with someone and to get along with each other indicates basic human friendliness and affinity.

Progress through Education by the Filipino Carlos V. Francisco.

Atheism and social skills

See also: Atheism and social/interpersonal intelligence and Atheism and loneliness

According to an international study done by William Bainbridge, atheism is common among people whose interpersonal social obligations are weak and is also connected to lower fertility rates in advanced industrial nations (See also: Atheism and fertility rates).[21] See also: Atheism and social/interpersonal intelligence and Atheism and loneliness

According to an international study done by William Bainbridge, atheism is common among people whose interpersonal social obligations are weak and is also connected to lower fertility rates in advanced industrial nations (See also: Atheism and fertility rates).[22]

See also: Atheism and loneliness

Jacques Rousseau wrote in the Daily Maverick: "Elevatorgate..has resulted in three weeks of infighting in the secular community. Some might observe that we indulge in these squabbles fairly frequently."[23]

See also: Atheist factions and Atheism and intolerance

In 2017, the atheist PZ Myers, quoting fellow leftist Alex Nichols, wrote: "...the growing popularity of jibes associating outspoken atheists with fedoras, neckbeards, and virginity, led to an exodus of liberals and leftists from the “atheist” tent. Those who remained for the most part lacked in social skills and self-awareness, and the results were disastrous."[24]


  • Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High, Third Edition by Joseph Grenny, Kerry Patterson, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler and Emily Gregory. ‎McGraw Hill; 3rd edition (October 21, 2021)
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People: Updated For the Next Generation of Leaders by Dale Carnegie, ‎Simon & Schuster; Updated edition (May 17, 2022)
  • How to Know a Person: The Art of Seeing Others Deeply and Being Deeply Seen by David Brooks. Random House (October 24, 2023)
  • Superconnector: Stop Networking and Start Building Business Relationships that Matter by Scott Gerber and Ryan Paugh. Da Capo Lifelong Books (February 27, 2018)

See also

External links

Verbal Communication skills:

Non-verbal communication:

Listening skills:

Negotiation skills:

Dealing with anger:

Conflict resolution:



  1. How to Use Interpersonal Skills to Get and Keep a Job, Investopedia
  2. Domains of Emotional Intelligence, MBA Knowledge Base
  3. Source Title: Handbook of Research on ICTs for Human-Centered Healthcare and Social Care Services. by Miguel Guinalíu (University of Zaragoza, Spain), Javier Marta (Hospital Universitario Miguel Servet, Spain), and José María Subero (Aragón Government, Spain), Chapter 9 (Social Networks as a Tool to Improve the Life Quality of Chronic Patients and Their Relatives), Page 15
  4. Networking: What It Is and How to Do It Successfully, Investopedia
  5. You Know More People Than You Think, ABC News
  6. You Know More People Than You Think, ABC News
  7. You Know More People Than You Think, ABC News
  8. Malcolm Gladwell’s “Connectors”: People Who Spread Ideas by Amanda Penn
  9. 7 Important Teamwork Skills You Need in School and Your Career, Herzing University
  10. 7 Important Teamwork Skills You Need in School and Your Career, Herzing University
  11. Conversational Skills
  12. Conversational Skills
  13. Agreeableness Personality Trait
  14. Agreeableless, Science Direct
  15. The Surprising New Trait For Growing Your Career (And Improving Your Life), Forbes, 2022
  16. Traits of a successful diplomat, The Diplomat website
  17. 10 Communication Skills for Your Life and Career Success
  18. 10 Communication Skills for Your Life and Career Success
  19. [10 Communication Skills for Your Life and Career Success] by Genevieve Northup, MBA, SHRM-CP, HCI-SPTD
  20. Gass, Robert H. Seiter, John S. (2010). Persuasion, social influence, and compliance gaining (4th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon. p. 33. ISBN 978-0-205-69818-9.
  21. Bainbridge, William (2005). "Atheism" (PDF). Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion. 1 (Article 2): 1–26.
  22. Bainbridge, William (2005). "Atheism" (PDF). Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion. 1 (Article 2): 1–26.
  23. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can rip my soul
  24. Poisoning of a movement by PZ Myers