10 impactful ways to boost interpersonal skills in students
Interpersonal skills are required for every facet of life, including relationships and employment. Check out the many forms of interpersonal skills and crucial ways for developing them in kids.
People are born with certain interpersonal skills, that they use every day when they communicate and interact with other people - both individually and in groups. Interpersonal skills can include communication skills, such as listening and effective speaking, emotional intelligence, teamwork, negotiation, persuasion and influencing skills, problem-solving, and decision-making. They also include the ability to control and manage emotions. Interpersonal skills in students not only help them in their academic life but throughout their careers too. When students develop these skills during school, it becomes a part of their behaviour. Interpersonal skills are required for every aspect of life- relationships or jobs. Hence it is important in order to increase the chances of a successful career and life. (Also read: 6 activities to improve interpersonal intelligence in children )
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Suseela Santhosh, Director, Vishwa Vidyapeeth Group of Schools, shared useful insights on interpersonal skills, their types, importance and ways to boost them in students.
Why are interpersonal skills important?
As human beings, the need for communication is essential for our growth and development. We need to interact with other people daily or hourly, and sometimes more often. Good interpersonal skills make interactions with others pleasant for all those involved. These skills allow us to build longer-lasting relationships in our personal and academic lives. Interpersonal skills at home can help build trust with parents and siblings and can also help resolve small problems. At school, interpersonal skills help students clear their doubts, develop friendly relations with their classmates, develop teamwork and collaborative attitude, improve their presence of mind and enhance their memory. It is considered that students who have good interpersonal skills have successful careers and personal lives too.
What are the different types of interpersonal skills for students?
1. Active listening: Students need to attentively listen to teachers to grasp concepts better. When teachers give notes or points orally, listening attentively will help students raise their concerns and doubts.
2. Verbal communication: Verbal communication is the key to developing a good rapport with teachers and being able to express themselves. Choice of words, the tonality of voice and volume, all impact the verbal communication channel
3. Non-verbal communication: Body language and facial expressions form a crucial form of interpersonal communication. As we often say, “Actions speak louder than words”, these forms of non-verbal communication also explain a lot about the students’ understanding, thoughts and comfort to engage in the classroom.
4. Teamwork: This skill is necessary for students to participate in group activities and assignments. Proper coordination among students is required for them to reach their goals. To be able to work well with people is a gift that goes a long way.
5. Empathy: Students need to understand the feelings of others around them. Empathizing with people and understanding the situations of others, help them build stronger relations with people. In turn, a student can get help or support from someone whenever they face any difficulty.
6. Leadership: Group activities require direction and confidence. Students need to confidently participate and also be able to lead/direct their team members, to achieve their goals. This quality is only for the few, who can lead their teams on the path to success.
7. Patience: Patience is vital for students to keep a track of their achievements. A lack of patience makes students give up on their studies or tasks easily. So, every student needs to learn how to be patient and focused.
8. Public speaking: Public speaking skill boost confidence and help students connect with others. Various activities like group discussions, debates, recitations and spelling competitions can help improve public speaking skills.
10 ways to boost interpersonal skills in students:
1. Enhance their teamwork: Organizing activities that require participation from students helps them get in touch with others of their age group. This gives them a chance to interact and build a connection with them. Teamwork is an important skill that will help them work well with others even in their careers, without feeling out of place.
2. Teach them how to be assertive: In a world full of ideas, kids need to take a stand for what they believe in. Encouraging students to express their opinions as well as acknowledge others’ emotions, wants and feelings will make them more assertive and not be taken for granted.
3. Allow them to make their own decisions: Allowing students to make their own decisions in small matters and giving them a chance to decide what they want to eat or wear, allows them to decisive and be accountable for their choices.
4. Listen to their ideas or thoughts: Children are full of innovative ideas and creative thinking. One must listen to what they have to say. This makes them realize the importance of listening and allows them to be more attentive. Listening also helps them share their suggestions.
5. Give every student a chance to showcase their talents: Every child possesses a unique talent no matter what their academic ability is. One must give them a platform where they can showcase these talents and use skills like communication, teamwork, and leadership to boost their self-esteem and confidence. This will help them participate freely and cultivate their interpersonal skills.
6. Let them think outside the box: Thinking outside the box helps students surround themselves with people and subjects that are outside their area of knowledge. This exposes them to new perspectives and ways of doing things differently. Thinking outside the box also helps them to be curious and discover new ideas.
7. Teach them to be themselves: A child needs to know that whatever qualities or talents they have is unique. Copying somebody else or trying to be like someone else will make them insecure of themselves. When children grow up connected to their ideas and needs, they naturally connect to others.
8. Build a never give up attitude: Life always has its challenges but one of the basic rules to follow is not to give up. Students must learn the importance of determination, hard work and perseverance till they have achieved their goals.
9. Make room for mistakes: Allow children to make honest mistakes. Mistakes help students become better thinkers and problem solvers. Allowing children to make mistakes helps them developing of critical thinking and foresight. Students should also understand that is completely okay to make mistakes while learning something new.
10. Cultivate a positive attitude: A positive attitude helps students learn better. It helps students remember, focus and absorb information. With a positive attitude, students can welcome new opportunities and experiences that can help them grow into well-rounded individuals.