Fraud Blocker Improve Interpersonal Skills Using These 3 Communication Hacks

Interpersonal skills are essentially about communicating trust & safety

For those looking to improve interpersonal skills in the workplace and social circles: the core of this improvement comes down to the communication of trust and safety. This is an act of emotional mastery, which I have written about. You see, whenever you interact with someone, whether it’s your boss, your spouse, or a complete stranger, you’re engaging in a form of ‘work’.

trust & safety are pillars of effective interpersonal communication

To get this ‘work’ done, you need two crucial elements: an exchange of information and trust. The former is obvious, but the latter, trust, is where the magic happens. Even if an agreement is documented in a contract, trust is fundamentally an emotion. It is facilitated by the sense of safety, which is also emotional in nature. That’s why we say, “Is it safe to trust her?”

You might think trust takes ages to build, but the building blocks can be laid out from the very first interaction. How? Through the way we communicate. So let’s delve into 3 impactful communication hacks to improve interpersonal skills.

⚠️ Signs you need to improve your interpersonal skills

I’ve heard the pain points of clients from various levels of organizational hierachy. Common pain points driving them to improve interpersonal skills include:

① “People get offended / seem offended by how I communicate.”

② “I get overly emotional when I communicate.”

③ “I’m not sure if I should speak, or what to say.”

“I have to repeat myself a few times before I get the outcome I want.”

“The way I communicate drags down my confidence.”

Improve interpersonal skills with these 3 communication hacks

1st hack: Ask for permission

The first hack to improve interpersonal skills involves something very simple but often overlooked — asking for permission. Start your sentences with phrases like, “May I”, “Could I invite all of us to,” or just a plain “May I have your permission to”. It might sound formal or even excessively polite, but that’s not the intention here.

asking for permission sets a tone of mutual respect and safety

Why asking for permission can improve interpersonal skills

The reason for asking for permission is straightforward: establishing safety through consent. Surprisingly, doing this creates an atmosphere of trust, even for actions that you wouldn’t think require consent.

Examples of asking for permission:

  • “Could I invite everyone to leave their mobile devices in their bags for the duration of this presentation?”
  • “Would it be useful if I checked in with you tomorrow, just to make sure you’re on track?”
  • “May I have your permission to interrupt you during our discussion?”

By seeking consent, you make it clear that you are offering choice to the other party. This sets a foundation of safety and trust. Some people might also say this conveys mutual-respect. At the very least, doing this can make you classier than the average speaker!

you can intentionally create trust & safety through the way you communicate

The power of offering choice as part of your interpersonal skills

When you ask for someone’s consent, like permission to interrupt during a discussion, you’re essentially offering a safe space for both parties to communicate more freely without risking offense. Asking permission to check in tomorrow shows the other person that you respect their autonomy and don’t want to feel like you’re monitoring them. All this boils down to building trust, which is the foundation to improve interpersonal skills.

2nd hack: Ask to clarify

The second hack to improve interpersonal skills is about seeking clarification or, in other words, engaging in feedback.

interpersonal communication is more of an interpretive art than a science

The pitfall of presumption

One common mistake in communication is taking for granted that what you heard is what the other person intended. Let’s nip that in the bud. After someone speaks, clarify your understanding by paraphrasing what you’ve heard in your own words.

Especially in professional settings, people often resort to jargon or complex terminology, maybe in an attempt to sound more sophisticated or credible. Don’t play that game. Instead, improve interpersonal skills by asking for specifics in straightforward language.

For instance, if someone says, “We need to optimize operational efficiencies,” you could clarify, “Do you mean we should find ways to speed up the process?” When you read back your understanding, you’re essentially giving the speaker a chance to identify any gap between their intended message and your comprehension.

inviting clarification & giving feedback are interpersonal communication skills that can be learnt

The positive emotional effects of clarification

More often than not, ambiguity and vagueness are breeding grounds for doubt. Clear, direct language enhances trust, making it another crucial step to improve interpersonal skills. Even someone who is afraid of being too direct will recognise the value of being transparent and specific – which are what we strive to be through clarification. And maybe I’ll elaborate this in another article, but there is a difference between being clear and being blunt – I’ve helped clients to communicate in more direct manner that doesn’t offend others.

When you clarify what you hear, you also demonstrate that you’re engaged. This has the bonus positive effect of making the speaker feel heard and seen. And again, trust increases!

coaching client who learnt anxiety management skills and to speak up publicly

Michelle Trisno | Chief of Staff

El has made me become a more direct communicator... helped me figure out these blind spots. By being aware of them, I was able to make my communication with people around me a lot better.

El has made me become a more direct communicator.

Before I went coaching with El, I found it challenging to communicate my requests and expectations to my colleagues and friends. El has helped me figure out these blind spots. By being aware of them, I was able to make my needs well-known to others – thus making my communication with people around me a lot better. I am able to give better clarity to those around me as well, both in work and personal relationships.

Often not, I assume that other people understand how I’m feeling, or I expect them to do so. Through coaching with El, a new lens has opened up where I understand that others have their own perception and there isn’t anyone that is in charge of my happiness. That opens up a lot of potential and confidence in myself. Because I feel like I can do everything! I’m free, and I’m independent.

I also appreciate how honest El has been with his feedback. It was very direct, concise, and clear. I appreciate the guidance and the steps he has given me because it makes me think for myself rather than give direct solutions that might not feel genuine to me. He enhances my true colors through his coaching methods and prompts me with questions.

If you are in a position where you think everything feels like it doesn’t go your way, or maybe you are facing some challenges in communicating with those around you, I would highly recommend you go to El!

3rd hack: Ask for feedback

The flip side of seeking clarification is asking for feedback, our third hack to improve interpersonal skills. When done skillfully, clarification and feedback can help to unlock effective and smoother communication. They are critical to a leader’s interpersonal skills.

Asking for feedback here can be as direct as inviting your listener to ‘read back’ what they’ve understood about what you said. Encourage them to do so in their own words, and you’ll quickly discover gaps, if any.

learning how to give & receive feedback can improve your interpersonal communication

Don’t expect communication to be perfect

The core idea is that what you say isn’t always what the other person understands. Recognizing this is not just being humble; it’s also a way to show care for the listener.

For highly important discussions, I like to even more thorough. “Does that make sense to you?” or “How do you feel about what I just said?” can open the door to deeper, more meaningful communication. It allows me to discover the invisible emotional resistances that might create issues if left unaddressed. This is especially true when we are trying to initiate change, which will be a common task if you’re in leadership.

expecting to have perfect communication can be detrimental to relationships

The emotional filters we all have

Our understanding of what is being said is often colored by our past experiences, fears, and hopes, which are all emotional filters. Acknowledging these emotional layers can bring a whole new level of depth to the conversation, and more importantly, build trust. When you seek feedback on not just the content but also the emotional reaction to it, you improve interpersonal skills by enhancing mutual understanding and empathy.

senior marketing executive Christopher Loy is Ellery's coaching client

Christopher Loy | Senior Marketing Exec.

After the coaching, I feel more open by seeking others opinion, listening to them instead of just my voice alone. Even though I feel vulnerable, it made me think deeper and increase my confidence.

As a senior marketing exec, I have faced tons of emotional and mental challenges. Throughout the 3 months working with Ellery, it made me discover most of my flaws and wanting to improve them.

Before the coaching, I was quite a stubborn individual who isn’t keen in opening up new ideas. This has greatly affect my work and lifestyle.

After the coaching, I feel more open by seeking others opinion, listening to them instead of just my voice alone. Even though I feel vulnerable, it made me think deeper and increase my confidence. It has also open some doors for new opportunities.

A coach like Ellery is very important, because he will guide you to a destination that you have never seen before, discovering your weakness and turn it into a strength.

After all his guidance, he has taught me to become a direct communicator, transmitting the information straight to the point to prevent miscommunication. As long as anyone is willing to learn and put in the hardwork, Ellery is the one that I will recommend.

Thank you Ellery.

Interpersonal skills are improved through practice

There you have it. Three simple hacks to improve interpersonal skills, based on the emotional management of trust and safety. These hacks are not ‘magic bullets’ that will suddenly transform your interpersonal skills. You need to consciously and consistently practice them to make a sustainable, long-term shift in how you connect with people.

Regular, personalized guidance can help to ensure you’re practicing correctly. After all, it’s kind of impossible to see your own blindspots. This is why practicing alone can take a longer time. If you wish to improve your intepersonal skills with less pain and in less time, I’m here to help.

How 1-on-1 coaching improves interpersonal skills

Jace Chen

I had challenges with communication due to mental barriers. Working with Ellery, I felt these barriers break down, & a new way of being opened up. A truly liberating experience. I’ve even gotten a promotion!

Vannessa Toh

My friend told me I have changed alot – from negative, defensive communication to positive, and are able to look things at different perspectives. This also helps in my work when communicating with clients and colleagues.”

Rachel Wan

“Working with Ellery was highly worth the investment as I gained so many tools I can use for a lifetime & I have been freed in many ways.”

Sherilyn Tan

“Ellery helped me to realize that I can change the tone of communication… I could definitely see the results after a few months of coaching. Now, I am able to regulate myself better as well as handle tough sitations with a clearer mind.

Vivien Tai

“My topic was on authentic communication, and he provided experiments for me to speak from a grounded and authentic space. I knew about the importance of our bodies in shifting our emotional state, but never received such individualised coaching and guidance in how to leverage this.”

Marlene Gonçlaves

“I actually felt a difference in my posture & its positive consequences, either in myself or in the communication with others.”

Meena Kumaree

I discovered how to say ‘No’, in a way that felt powerful yet safe to express. It was quite an emotional breakthrough for me. I understood that I have a voice & I can use it… If you want to greatly improve your communication, relationships and confidence, Ellery is your coach.”

Andy Yeo

I gained more value than I expected. They have manifested in my business, my relationship with my loved ones & in the relationship with myself.”

Daniel Whisby

Ellery is a master of his craft. It is clear that he is able to help people from all walks of life… After, I was able to use my body to control my moods & emotions.”

Simran Kaur Sidhu

“Extremely insightful. By talking through some of my own self doubts, why i felt a certain way and practicing a simple exercise, i was able to gain a better understanding of how i was my own barrier and take away concrete next steps.”

Michelle Trisno

El has made me a more direct communicator. I’m able to make my needs known to others, thus making my communication a lot better. I am able to give better clarity to those around me as well, both in work and personal relationships. That opens up a lot of potential and confidence in myself.”

Vikram Ramankutty

“I’m able to be more assertive in my requests to my colleagues & managers. And I’ve been able to adopt a more relaxed stance to issues at work.”

Felicia Andes

“I can see the improvement in my communication & relationship with my loved ones & I am closer to them again.”

Through 1-on-1 coaching, you can improve your interpersonal skills. This is familiar territory I’ve visited with clients on over the years, as a full-time coach, specializing in interpersonal communication skills and confidence.

Every coaching engagement is unique, because each client has different needs, weaknesses and strengths. However, there are processes that unfold every single time:

  • Through open exploration and in-depth reflection, we will uncover your blindspots.
  • Once you can see the cause or nature of your issue, you might also be able to see how you can do things differently so you get different result.
  • I can also guide you to try new ways of saying or doing things, that are effective and feel authentic for you.
  • Together, we will co-create practices that you can adopt, to assimilate what you learn into your regular way of being.
  • I will provide you with honest feedback which you can use to calibrate and fine-tune your new skills.

What coaching is

Coaching is a form of super-customised learning, focused solely on your needs. It is one of the most dignified forms of professional help, because you choose the topic, direction and depth of what you wish to work on.

In fact, my clients are NOT ‘broken’ in any way. They are capable, creative and self-initiated individuals who want to live out their full potential. Many of them are high-performers at their workplace.

They just want support to help them hit their objectives more quickly and with less pain.

If taking ownership of your growth appeals to you, coaching is might be suitable for you.

WhatsApp me now, to find out how you and I can work together on your communication and confidence.

"A good coach can change the game. A great coach can change a life."

~ John R. Wooden