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5 Interpersonal Communication Skills to Remember

Last week, my co-worker Lauren and I attended Bruce Hendrick’s Building Trust Through Improved Interpersonal Communication Workshop in Wooster, Ohio. Prior to the class, I was apprehensive and not sure what to expect. Twenty minutes into the first session I was already feeling more comfortable due to Bruce’s calm and down-to-earth demeanor. This two-day workshop allowed me to step back from the day-to-day and take the time to analyze my communication skills while learning how to improve them at the same time. Below are 5 points that stuck with me when I left:

1. The Importance of Investing in Employees

A business won’t succeed without the people that make it up. This is why it’s important to remember that not only do employees need to be trained on the technical/process side of the business, but also in communication and trust building skills. It can be difficult to make the latter a priority, but it’s necessary if you want to have a successful company.

2. Consequences of Unresolved Conflict

Conflict is inevitable in the workplace. It may seem simple, but it’s important to take a step back and think about the consequences of unresolved conflict. Ignoring conflict can cause lower productivity, stress, division within the company, drama and low morale. It’s also necessary to take steps to resolve the conflict as soon as possible. The longer we wait, the more time and energy is ultimately spent to resolve the issue.

3. Trust Bank Accounts

The workshop centered on the concept that all of our relationships have Trust Bank Accounts where three things can occur:

  1. Deposits
  2. Withdrawals
  3. Interest

The relationships we have, both professional and personal, require deposits. An example of a deposit is simply telling someone “thank you,” or going out of your way to help someone. Withdrawals are also bound to happen in any relationship because we’re human. A withdrawal would be not listening or not being sympathetic to another person.

If a relationship has enough deposits, withdrawals are ok once in a while. If they do not have enough deposits to withstand the withdrawals, the relationship will suffer and there will be no trust. Over time, relationships can have so many deposits and the amount in the trust account is so high that it will gain interest, even if deposits don’t occur as frequently. The takeaway is to deposit as much and often as you can to build better, more trusting relationships.

4. Face-to-Face Communication Builds Trust


As a class, we created a list of ways we communicate at work. This consisted of tactics like emailing, leaving a voicemail, instant messaging, leaving a sticky note, texting, and having face-to-face meetings. We also went through each method and determined if it would build trust or not. The group came to the conclusion that the best way to build trust through communication is to have verbal (vs. non-verbal), face-to-face (vs. indirect), personal (vs. electronic), two-way (vs. one-way) dialogue.

It’s easy to pick up the phone to text, leave a voicemail or send a quick email, but next time you find yourself doing this, think about how much trust you could be building if you were having a conversation in-person. 

5. 1-to-1 Communication

Many of us are familiar with “1-on-1” meetings with co-workers, our boss, a client, etc. During the workshop, the importance of a “1-TO-1” meeting was stressed. It is defined as a discussion between two people designed to accomplish a commonly understood purpose. When the word “on” is used instead of “to” it implies a superior-subordinate relationship. One-to-one’s build trust and rapport between co-workers, which fosters a sense of teamwork throughout the organization.

The environment and atmosphere are also important aspects of 1-to-1 conversations. These meetings should take place in an informal setting, and oftentimes in a neutral place so neither party feels threatened. In the case of a superior-subordinate 1-to-1, physical barriers such as desks and other office furniture should not be placed in between the two parties because it can exaggerate status differences.

You can find more information about Building Trust and sign up for the workshop here.

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For another post by Danielle, check out:
Best Practices for Social Media Publishing

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