personal effectiveness

Interpersonal Effectiveness – One of Four Important Topics Not Taught in School

When I first started New Inceptions, I had a ton of ideas of what I could help people with. At the time, I had learned so much during my time in LTD that I thought that it would benefit others that didn’t have the opportunity. One of the biggest things that I started learning about at the time, was how to increase my interpersonal effectiveness. 

All the way up through grad school, I always struggled to convey my ideas and build emotional connections with my peers. Many times, I felt like the odd guy out. Of course, a large part of that was that I grew up an only child. And as any only child can tell you, we learn to amuse ourselves in our own time.

So while I had friends in school who were a lot like me, I felt it hard to connect with people who weren’t. In fact, in high school, I remember getting incredibly anxious as I tried to engage with popular people.

I simply didn’t realize that there were all these self development books out there that could have helped me understand how to connect with others better.

In this post, we’re going to look at some of the things that we can get better at when it comes to Interpersonal Effectiveness.

What is Interpersonal Effectiveness?

There’s a lot of topics that aren’t taught in school these days. Even more so today than when I was going through junior high through high school. For example, I remember taking both home economics and shop classes. Heck, I actually got credit to learn how to drive a car.

Today, those types of classes simply aren’t available to your typical high schooler. Instead, most high schools are focused on teaching for their state’s standards test. And while this might be a metric to measure a students hard skills, their soft skills are left behind.

Interpersonal effectiveness refers to the skills which help us to:

  • Attend to relationships
  • Balance priorities versus demands
  • Balance the ‘wants’ and ‘shoulds’
  • Build a sense of mastery and self-respect

And wow, I have to admit there are a ton of skills that fit this description.

Skills to Help You Be More Effective with Others

So let’s take a look of this grocery list of skills. Here’s a list that comes to mind in no particular order:

  • General Communication and Conversation
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Civic Awareness (Government, Religion, Law, Volunteerism, Philanthropy, etc.)
  • Negotiation
  • Intimate Relationship Building
  • Digital Etiquette (including Social Media Safety)
  • Manners
  • Sales
  • Finding a Job
  • Marriage / Family Dynamics
  • Leadership
  • Networking
  • Entrepreneurship

Wow – just wow. Right? I mean, if you’ve been out of academia for any period of time, you probably realize how important many of these skills are. 

Personally, the two that have made the biggest impact in my life up to this point are emotional intelligence and entrepreneurship. 

As I mentioned, growing up I had no idea that others had different personalities and motivators. I didn’t even really understand what I should do when someone gave me a compliment. I was sooo totally awkward!

As I’ve learned more and more about entrepreneurship, I’ve realized a couple of things. First, and foremost, is that it’s what makes the US amazing. When done right, nothing beats the free market system. Another thing I’ve realized is that most of these skills actually play a role in some way or another. For example, if you’re a better leader, you’re a better business owner. Or, as another example, if you’re good at negotiation, you might be able to get more for less.

Action Steps

Anyway, I just wanted to point out some of these skills out as we continue going down this journey of life.

Personally for me, I feel I need to master sales and negotiation a bit more. Luckily, there’s all kinds of resources out there.

What are some skills you’ve already been developing? What are the ones that make you think “Oh, I should probably work on that a bit more…”? Do a bit of an inventory for yourself and list what you would like to know more about.

However, it doesn’t stop there. Other topics that aren’t discussed in school include Mindset (how you talk to yourself), Financial Literacy, and what I call “Ikigai Maximization”. We’ll be sure to go over some of these topics in the future as well!

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