3 Principles to Improve your Interpersonal Skills

Social Connection is Key
Interpersonal skills are crucial to making friends, being a spectacular team player and bossing up with empathy if you run a small business or work in a leadership role. But communicating with confidence can be hard to master across different environments so if you find yourself struggling to build a relationship at work or make small talk in the office, watch this video.

I’m going to show you 3 interpersonal communication principles that can change your rapport building skills for the better.

If you want to increase your speaking confidence, level up your interpersonal skills

About the Author

Sara Geiger is a Keynote Speaker, Executive Speaking Coach, and Opera Singer who likes to play with words, sounds, and your impact. 

Her academic background is in Music Performance, Communication Science and Speech & Language Pathology. She’s currently completing a PhD in Opera Performance.

Connect with Sara on LinkedIn.

interpersonal skills
Your ability to apply emotional intelligence in your dealings will MAKE YOU.

Don’t let your talking worries get you down. Why not switch your focus and find strategies that build your interpersonal abilities?

“Excellence is not a skill, it’s an attitude” (Ralph Marston) so with the right attitude you can get really good at speaking to anyone, no matter how confronting it feels.

These things count- a listening ear, words of support, genuine praise and gratitude, a helping hand, a thoughtful expression of encouragement.
Watch This First
If you’re deeply concerned about building rapport and social connection then I’m going to talk about this more in this short tutorial that gives you 3 Big Interpersonal Communication goals that will change your speaking life.

Remember, confident speakers are people who identify stressful speaking settings and apply concrete goals to increase their success. 

Sometimes the simplest reminders are the most powerful tools to develop your interpersonal skills. A sincere smile for example, goes a long way.
interpersonal skills

1. The Principle of Liking

We communicate more comfortably when we like the person we’re speaking to. But if you’re struggling to like or feel liked, try to apply this principle.

People are more likely to like you, if you like them.

How to apply this now?

  • Look for things that you share with that person – values, attitudes, interests, tasks, the same city. Dig deep! Taking this approach will help you generate more creative conversation topics and ensure that you make relevant comments to your conversation partner.
  • Affirm the person sincerely
  • Engage in informal conversations in the workplace so you can learn more about your contact’ interests and endeavour to actively build connections and bonds via thoughtful conversation topics and questions.

Sometimes you might have to dig deep to find likeability but this is worthwhile if you’re stuck with that office colleague, boss or tricky client or even flatmate. 

interpersonal skills

2. The Principle of Reciprocity

People will give to you, if you give to them, so give what you want yourself. For example, if you smile at someone, they will usually smile back.

How to apply this now

  • In the workplace, find ways to give to your team members your time, your listening ear, your words of support, praise. And don’t forget your boss either, bosses also need words of sincere support and encouragement
  • If you run a business, share your knowledge and give value. Don’t cold call and ask if you’ve not offered something first. Be careful with giving out freebies though, as this can reduce your value but if your clients have chosen you, it’s important to shower them with the most value you can offer. This will build your relationship with the stakeholder more successfully.
  • Building your relationship with your stakeholders and clients results from successful interpersonal communication supported by incredible products and well thought out services. 
interpersonal skills

3.The Principle of Consistency

If you’re committed, people will support you better.

How to apply this now

  • Communicate with commitment and consistency.
  • Accountability determines how solid your interpersonal skills stack up. Give specific time frames that people can expect to receive information from you if they are waiting on something and make sure you meet it. 
  • Don’t “ghost” prospects, contacts, friends. Instead, be specific and predictable in your follow up. Waiting in limbo for information creates anxiety for most people, especially if they are a new prospect or client so ensure you’ve got a detailed communication strategy in place to protect rapport and trust.
  • It’s also helpful to write your commitment down or speak it aloud if you promise something. You  might like to create a process where you follow up with an email, a written note or include following up conversations with a summary email outlining what your contact can expect. When you meet it, your employees, friends, or prospects will feel valued, and you will build rapport.

Your precision will not go unnoticed; consistency is a solid way to build robust trust with your important contacts.

Social Skills are Social Intelligence

There’s a massive array of acceptably diverse communication in the corporate sector. 

We know that homogenous workplaces tend to lack innovation and engagement. 

Just because someone interacts differently from you does not mean they have weak interpersonal skills. It just means you’ll need to work harder to create mutuality and authentic conversation. This is the true test of your social intelligence and you’ll learn a lot if you have the courage to challenge yourself to integrate with people who do it differently from you.

Different is not wrong.

Well, there we are! I hope you enjoyed this blog and hopefully, it’s helped you to see any gaps you can fix in your work, social or career orientated communication. 

We’ve now laid the foundations to think about areas of your interpersonal communication you can pay more attention to. 

Rapport building skills and social intelligence is vital to career and personal success . Therefore, emotionally intelligent communication strategies are a core aspect of my modern Elocution program.

Public speaking
Want to learn more communication skills to amplify your success? The C-Suite is coming soon; join the waitlist here.


Sara Geiger

communication consultant

Did you enjoy this post? Make sure to subscribe to the Sara Geiger YouTube channel to get more content to increase your communication skills!


Cialdini, R. (2001). Harnessing the Science of Persuasion, Harvard Business Review


Persuasion and Influence or Genuine Connection and Rapport – Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats. Crestresearch.ac.uk. (2020). Retrieved 12 May 2020, from https://crestresearch.ac.uk/comment/persuasion-and-influence-or-genuine-connection-and-rapport/ 


Sugawara SK, Tanaka S, Okazaki S, Watanabe K, Sadato N (2012) Social Rewards Enhance Offline Improvements in Motor Skill. PLoS ONE 7(11): e48174. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0048174 Retrieved from https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0048174 


The Language of Persuasion. Harvard Business Review. (2020). Retrieved 13 May 2020, from https://hbr.org/2008/02/the-language-of-persuasion.html