How to Develop Quality Interpersonal Connections

Developing strong interpersonal connections in your professional and private life can make a substantial difference to your state of mind, energy levels and motivation. High quality connections are those connections/interactions with other people that leave you feeling engaged, open, motivated or revitalized. In short, they are connections that make you feel valued. High quality conversations have benefits for all parties and they build respect and confidence.

Improving your interpersonal relations will benefit you in three areas – improved psychological and physical health, greater engagement with others and increased learning abilities. The ability to develop interpersonal connections does not necessarily come naturally to everyone, but a little practice of some skills will help you to greatly improve the quality of your connections.

There are three keys to developing quality interpersonal connections. The first of these falls under the broad heading of respectful engagement. Giving people your attention is not only courteous; it tells them that you care about what they have to say. When your actions tell people that they matter to you, they are likely to reciprocate. Some easy things to work on include

  • Being fully present in a conversation. Give people your full attention, look them in the eye, put aside whatever you’ve been doing and let your body language tell them that their contribution matters
  • Practicing effective listening. Let people finish their sentences and try to clarify their concerns or statements to show that you are paying them attention
  • Be punctual. Everybody’s time is valuable – respecting other’s commitments by being punctual shows that you understand that they have time concerns.
  • Be yourself. You can’t really be anybody else and – if you try to be – people can tell after a while.
  • Positively affirm people’s actions. Acknowledge their work. Tell them you appreciate their efforts.
  • Work on your communication skills. Wherever possible, try to frame your needs in the form of requests rather than demands. Please and Thank you still have valuable currency in interpersonal relations.

When combined with respectful engagement, actively practising empowering others, through processes known as task enabling, will help them to grow their own abilities and have confidence in you. You can practice this through a number of methods, including:

  • Coaching – actively helping them to develop their skills and abilities
  • Facilitating – ensuring that people are properly connected to the resources and people they need to get their job done
  • Being accommodating – by being flexible in your dealings with others
  • Nurturing – supporting people’s emotional needs through role modelling and encouragement

Perhaps, the most important element in developing interpersonal relationships is trust. Without trust, there is no quality relationship. You can demonstrate trust with colleagues in many ways, including self-disclosure, sharing, appropriate use of language, effective delegation and proactive feedback.

You can improve the quality of your connections by actively practising these skills. Once you begin to model these behaviours, you will notice that others will return the favour.

The CFS Team
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