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Future Fit Traning

What is interpersonal communication? Everything you need to know

Interpersonal communication is information which is exchanged, this can be thoughts, ideas and feelings between two or more people for both verbal and nonverbal communication.

Interpersonal communication is information which is exchanged, this can be thoughts, ideas and feelings between two or more people for both verbal and nonverbal communication. Interpersonal communication can be an underestimated soft skill, which helps navigate challenges in life.

Interpersonal communication factors in facial expressions, tone of voice, body language and gestures. Interpersonal skills are measured as a method of communication through the effectiveness of transferring messages to others.

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Interpersonal communication is used throughout several different organisation types, including daily internal employee communication, client meetings, employee performance reviews and project discussions. This also includes online communication within a workplace, many people work from home nowadays, and it’s important for organisations to recognise interpersonal skills in online spaces.

On the other hand, interpersonal skills are also present continuously when looking at relationships, careers or general negotiations. In this article we discuss everything you need to know about interpersonal communication, looking at the principles, types, importance and barriers of this soft skill.

Different types of interpersonal communication

Interpersonal communication can fall into four different types, below we discuss each type of communication in further detail.


Verbal communication is any communication which uses words to share information with others, this includes the type of language you choose to use. This may be, persuasive or words of affirmation which is being used to achieve a particular goal with who you are communicating.

Written communication

Written communication is any form of message which is written between two or more people, typically when individuals communicate through written methods it takes on a more formal approach. Often written communication is less efficient than oral communication, as it involves having good written communication including clarity, tone, grammar and punctuation.

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Non-verbal communication

Non-verbal communication looks at any form of communication which is not being said face-to-face. This would incorporate body language, gestures, facial expressions and tone of voice. This is an effective soft skill which can impact the way communication is received between two or more people. This type of communication contributes to the overall message an individual may be trying to get across.


Listening is an important interpersonal soft skill which is needed to effectively communicate between two or more people. This could be listening which your ears or demonstrating attentive behaviour in other ways such as clarification and reflection. Active listening will let the person you’re communicating with know that you’re paying attention and that you understand what they’re saying. This can help build trust and understanding between you.

Importance of interpersonal communication

It is clear that interpersonal communication is an essential skill which is important in making a difference in many aspects of life. This skill type is used day-to-day and contributes to effective workplaces, relationship building and general communication between people. 

Organisations often see value in educating their leaders and employees in adopting good interpersonal skills. Having great communication skills go hand-in-hand with great teamwork and leadership abilities which becomes more attractive for employees. 

Interpersonal communication can help you improve your life in many ways, both personal and professional. It can help you understand how to express your thoughts and intentions more clearly.

interpersonal communication

Barriers to interpersonal communication


If you’re talking to someone who isn’t an expert on the topic, using technical jargon can be a barrier to communication. Using too much technical jargon can make your message more confusing and can sometimes get lost in translation. This can be applied to both verbal and nonverbal communication. To avoid this in the communication you should keep your point clear and concise by taking into account who you’re speaking to.


The level of interpersonal communication between two or more people will be affected by the relationship between them. If there is a lack of trust between people, issues can arise. This is because communication or messages can be incorrectly perceived for several different reasons. It may be that the receiver does not respect or recognise what the speaker may be saying, this naturally impacts the communication between them.

This is more common in workplace environments, where employees have different thoughts or opinions about their colleagues. For example, hierarchical structures could impact the communication in an office as those more junior may feel reluctant or intimidated to present their opinions or thoughts.

External factors

There are several factors that can affect interpersonal communication, including noise, poor internet connection, and technology problems.` External factors are considered uncontrollable, the best advice would be to remain patient and considerate to the others you are communicating with. 

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The cues you give off play a big role in how your message is perceived by the listener. Even if you’re saying one thing with your words, your body language might be communicating something entirely different. This can come across as inconsistent cues because you’re sending two opposing signals, for example, you could be smiling when you are angry, and this is easily misunderstood.


In conclusion, investing time into understanding interpersonal communication will make you feel more confident in both your personal and professional life. Being able to effectively communicate will spark creativity, emotion and intelligence within daily conversations. People communicating is an ongoing thing which will always be happening, feeling confident in this is an important soft skill to know.