Interpersonal vs Communication Skills: Differences & Examples

Interpersonal vs Communication Skills Differences & Examples


In our daily interactions and professional environments, the blend of interpersonal and communication skills forms the cornerstone of successful relationships and business success. These skills not only facilitate personal growth but also play a vital role in navigating difficult situations. Understanding the differences in interpersonal vs communication skills, and other types of communication is key to leveraging these abilities for professional growth, emotional well-being, and the achievement of business goals.

What is Interpersonal vs Communication Skills?

Interpersonal and communication skills, while often used synonymously, entail distinct aspects of human interaction. These skills are essential for effective interpersonal interaction, an interactive process that plays a foundational role in building interpersonal relationships on a daily basis.

Defining the Skills

Interpersonal Skills

Interpersonal skills, encompassing a wide range of soft skills, enable individuals to interact effectively with others, whether in one-on-one situations or groups. These skills include the emotional, social, and psychological aspects of interaction, emphasizing the importance of empathy, active listening, and understanding within a cultural context. They are critical for maintaining emotional well-being and navigating challenging situations, underscoring their importance as people skills in personal and professional realms.

Communication Skills

Communication skills involve the ability to convey or exchange information clearly and effectively through verbal, non-verbal, and written forms of communication. Intriguingly, research indicates that 7% of communication is verbal, 55% occurs through body language, and 38% is conveyed via tone and inflection. This highlights the significant role non-verbal cues play in effective communication.

Effective communication skills are thus crucial for ensuring clarity and preventing misunderstandings, encompassing everything from the art of conversation to the precision of formal communication. These skills are foundational for business owners and leaders, facilitating employee growth and aligning efforts with business objectives.

Differences Between Interpersonal and Communication Skills

Differences Between Interpersonal and Communication Skills

If you are wondering about the answer to the question: “Are interpersonal and communication skills the same?”, let’s take a look at a quick differentiation between the two. Interpersonal and communication skills differ in their core objectives and application:

  • Application: While interpersonal skills are critical for building and sustaining relationships, communication skills are essential for the clear exchange of information and ideas. The ability to navigate the physical space and use body language cues effectively is a hallmark of adept communicators.
  • Scope: Interpersonal skills include a broader range of soft skills vital for personal and professional relationships, whereas communication skills are more focused on the delivery and reception of messages.
  • Technical Skills vs. Soft Skills: Communication skills can be seen as more technical, involving specific techniques and the understanding of communication theory, while interpersonal skills are categorized as soft skills, emphasizing emotional intelligence and the ability to handle interpersonal relationships.

Why Both Skills are Important?

Even with an obvious difference between communication and interpersonal skills, both sets of skills are indispensable for business success, professional growth, and the fostering of meaningful interpersonal relationships. A notable finding by Rahman (2000) reveals that 80 percent of individuals fail in their careers due to their inability to communicate and connect with others effectively. This underscores the essential nature of both communication and interpersonal skills.

Effective communication skills ensure that information is conveyed and received as intended, playing a critical role in the prevention of poor communication. Meanwhile, interpersonal skills are crucial for understanding differences in communication styles and fostering a positive environment conducive to personal growth and the achievement of business goals.

Examples of Interpersonal Skills

Empathy, active listening, teamwork, and conflict resolution are just a few examples of interpersonal skills that can significantly impact interpersonal relationships and professional environments. These skills enable individuals to engage in two-way communication effectively, a cornerstone of interpersonal communication.

  • Empathy: In the healthcare industry, empathy is crucial. Doctors and nurses who demonstrate a genuine understanding and concern for their patients’ feelings not only provide superior care but also significantly enhance patient satisfaction and trust.
  • Active Listening: A customer service scenario showcases the value of active listening. A representative who fully engages with and understands a customer’s complaint can resolve the issue more effectively, ensuring the customer feels valued and heard.
  • Teamwork: The success of a project team in a tech company underscores the importance of teamwork. By leveraging diverse skills and backgrounds, the team collaborates to innovate and execute a groundbreaking new app, highlighting the synergy of collaboration and mutual respect.
  • Conflict Resolution: A mediator facilitating a dispute between co-workers exemplifies effective conflict resolution. By employing negotiation and problem-solving skills, they arrive at a mutually satisfactory agreement, maintaining peace and productivity within the workplace.

Examples of Communication Skills

Clarity in speaking and writing, effective listening, non-verbal communication, and persuasion are key communication skills. These skills are vital for business leaders to articulate business goals, facilitate formal communication, and ensure the smooth flow of information within an organization.

  • Clarity in Speaking and Writing: In a marketing campaign, a brand manager’s ability to articulate the value of a new product leads to a successful launch and strong market reception.
  • Effective Listening: A counselor demonstrates effective listening by truly hearing and understanding their clients’ concerns, offering tailored advice and support that fosters trust and positive outcomes.
  • Non-verbal Communication Cues: During a job interview, an applicant’s use of confident posture and eye contact, in addition to verbal responses, significantly boosts their chances of being selected.
  • Persuasion and Negotiation: A sales professional adeptly uses persuasion and negotiation skills to secure a contract with a new client, ensuring the deal is beneficial for both sides by balancing assertiveness with empathy.

Tips on how to develop both interpersonal and communication skills

Development of these skills involves active practice and engagement in real-world situations. From understanding the cultural context of interpersonal interactions to mastering the nuances of nonverbal communication and context clues, individuals can improve their interpersonal communication skills and communication competence through continuous learning and application.

Improve your Interpersonal vs Communication Skills with Coach Lee Futcher

Improve your Interpersonal vs Communication Skills with Coach Lee Futcher

Seeking guidance from seasoned professionals such as Lee Futcher, a renowned 1 on 1 coaching expert and public speaking coach, can offer invaluable insights into effectively developing your skills while clearly understanding the distinctions between interpersonal skills vs communication skills. Tailored coaching can help individuals navigate the complexities of interpersonal and communication skills, enhancing their capacity to deal with challenging situations and fostering both personal and professional growth.


The intricate relationship between interpersonal and communication skills underscores their importance in achieving professional success and personal fulfillment. By recognizing and developing these skills, individuals can enhance their ability to communicate effectively and build strong interpersonal relationships, laying the foundation for a successful and rewarding life.

How do you communicate with others without using any words?

Non-verbal communication, including body language cues and physical space management, is a powerful means of conveying messages without words, highlighting the importance of nonverbal cues in effective communication.

Which of these are basic principles for effective communication?

Clarity, empathy, active listening, and two-way communication are among the basic principles that foster effective exchange of ideas and information, crucial for both interpersonal relationships and professional success.

How would I describe my communication style?

Describing your communication style involves understanding your preferences and tendencies in sharing and receiving information, influenced by personal experiences, cultural background, and individual personality traits. This self-awareness is essential for interpersonal communication competence and the effective management of differences in communication styles.

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