Identify interpersonal skills in need of development. Looking back on your life, there may have been times when a conflict led to a relationship breakup or a miscommunication led to the loss of an opportunity. Identifying these experiences assists in pinpointing interpersonal goals. You may decide to become a better listener, or practice expressing your feelings more clearly and truthfully.
Focus on building harmonious relationships. If your personal relationships are short-lived or work relationships are cold and distant, concentrate on the qualities necessary for healthy relationships.
Practice empathy. Putting yourself in the position of another person allows you to see things from a different perspective. When people feel understood, they tend to be less combative, leading to greater understanding and unity.
Be inclusive. At home, work, community gatherings or social events, practice helping people to feel included. Avoid behaviors that exclude others or make them feel like outsiders.
Practice fairness. If you tend to take more than you give in relationships, try to be more generous. As an example, if a friend or partner is always accompanying you to events that you enjoy, reciprocate by doing the same for them.
Be trustworthy. Relationships are more stable when 2 people trust each another. Keep commitments and confidences to increase trust.
Communicate clearly and carefully. Strong communication skills involve listening closely and expressing yourself clearly in person, over the phone and in written communications.
Listen carefully. Many conflicts arise from misunderstandings. Listening to others helps to clear up miscommunications. As people are talking, focus on their words, tone of voice and body language to glean the true message.
Speak clearly. In some cases, such as a business meeting, it may be necessary to speak concisely and get right to the point. In a conversation with a family member, communicating effectively may involve elaborating on feelings and providing examples. Each situation is different, but the ultimate goal is to use language that is clear, respectful and effective for getting your message across.
Practice good judgment in written communications. Humor doesn't always come across clearly in written communications and can sometimes lead to misunderstandings or hurt feelings. Additionally, without a tone of voice or a greater context, words in written communications can seem cold, particularly in regards to sensitive issues. Consider speaking in person about critical issues.
Examine personal ethics. People tend to trust those who are self-aware and who do not abuse their power. Practice integrity in your relationships by examining the impact of your behaviors and decisions on others.
Be a team player. When working with others, engage in a give and take that involves collaboration and compromise. Examine tendencies to dominate situations or criticize others. Praise others for work well done and be open to receiving praise.
Resolve conflicts. Conflict is a natural and inevitable part of life. Diversity of opinion, perspectives and ideas can be enriching. When opinions clash, try to understand people's viewpoints and avoid black and white thinking. In most cases, resolving conflicts involves an honest and respectful expression of feelings. In some cases, it may be necessary to let go of attachments to unimportant issues.