Hello lovely souls! How are you all doing? You all may have noticed that we were away for a week! Umair and I got our first dose of the Covid-19 Vaccine, and were feeling really low on energy for the first few days. Two Souls One Chai believes in creating quality content that comes from the heart, so we decided to push our theme a week forward.
Funnily, we didn’t realise it, but we actually really needed the break, to re-energise and come back with more creative ideas. So don’t forget to take a break from work whenever you need it! Even if it is something you are passionate about, we all need a breather sometimes.
Okay enough rambling, let's get to the theme of this week, haha. The theme of this week, as mentioned in our newsletter, is, ‘Developing Interpersonal Skills.’ For Chai Time Wednesdays today, we will be going through the foundations of interpersonal communication and we will give our tips and advice. In our Youtube video and podcast we will give examples of real life scenarios where you can apply these skills.
Let’s be honest, interpersonal skills matter because none of us live in a bubble. Even if many of us would like the idea of just being in our safe bubble, we still need to interact with those around us. Simply put, interpersonal skills are skills you need to communicate and interact with those around you effectively. There are 3 main dimensions of interpersonal skills, which are:
1. Communication Skills - verbal, non-verbal and listening.
2. Emotional Intelligence - the ability to manage your emotions and those of others.
3. Team work - being able to work in groups, in both formal and informal settings.
Below are some of our insights based on our experience and research, that can help you build your foundation and raise your understanding of the matter at hand.
Tip #1: Identify Your Gaps
Is there room for improvement? The first step is to be aware of your strengths and weaknesses. One of the best ways to do this is to have a mentor or a friend you can gain feedback from.
I always say this haha, that Umair is not just my husband but is my mentor too. And I know that I can always go to him for honest feedback on things I should improve on to be better at interacting and communicating with others and him!
Tip #2: Get down to the Basics
You don’t have to be the most talkative person in the room to have good conversations. It's quite the opposite actually!
You may not realise this, but listening is way more important than just talking. I love to talk! But one of the most valuable feedback I have gotten from Umair is to also allow the other person to talk while you listen. Not hear, but actually listen, ask questions and reflect. It makes the other person feel valued and important. Remember, it doesn’t always have to be about you.
The next thing is your body language. Again, it says a lot more than your words. It’s a combination of your facial expressions, gestures and movements. All of which should match the message you are trying to put across. For example, if you are trying to motivate someone, you can’t possibly be fidgeting with a poker face. Instead you gotta stand up-right with confidence and SMILE. More on that in our podcast this Sunday, Inshallah! Do keep a lookout for that.
Now, when you actually do the talking, make sure you are clear and firm with your words. Be as unambiguous as possible. To avoid misunderstandings, make sure you follow up by clarifying to ensure that the other party understands your point.
Tip #3: It Is Time To Level Up!
Now that you have nailed your basics, it is time to build your advanced skills. We wanna move from just speaking to effective communication and also we want to learn how to unblock our barriers.
To ensure you speak effectively, make sure that you simplify your language. Basically, avoid jargon or terms that will intimidate your audience or who you are interacting with.
On top of that, the best case scenario would be if you are communicating face-to-face as this reduces misinterpretation to a large extent. In this digital era, we often forget the value of human interaction.
Talking about human interaction, make sure that you are fully present whenever you are with someone. No one likes to talk to someone who is lost in their own thoughts or is preoccupied with other activities like using their phone. Keep that phone aside, get out of your head, and be there in the moment! You are not gonna get that moment back.
Unblock your barriers:
This has a lot to do with raising your self-awareness. Umair and I talked quite a bit about that in the 2nd Episode of our podcast. Do check that out to learn more.
There are some questions you can ask yourself for starters. Are there any preconceived notions that are preventing you from communicating with someone more openly and truthfully?
Are you in tune with your emotional state? Whether it is stress, anger, jealousy, or social anxiety, these states affect how your message is sent, received and perceived.
This is why Emotional Intelligence is key as it allows you to learn how to manage your emotions so that it does not affect the way you interact with others. This brings me to the last tip..
Tip #4: Look Inwards
Look within and try to understand yourself better. It is only when you are self-aware, are able to regulate your own emotions and are able to motivate yourself that you will be able to empathise with others. Only then you can understand others and where they are coming from.
That is when you will master the art of interpersonal communication.
In the end, it all boils down to practicing and there will be plenty of opportunities to do that. Afterall, we are social animals, living in a community.
Till then, take care!
Rabail and Umair Khan