Administrative assistants can’t succeed without impeccable interpersonal skills. Honing your interpersonal skills is necessary, but what type of soft skills should your strive to improve? While the answer may vary from person to person, depending on each individual’s strengths and weaknesses, there are several interpersonal skills that all administrative assistants should master.
When you spend a good amount of your time answering the phone, greeting visitors and talking to employees, excellent verbal communication skills are a must. Improving your verbal communication skills helps you relay accurate information quickly. A few areas to concentrate on improving include speaking with confidence, thinking before you speak, not talking too much, being concise and being friendly and authentic.
For administrative assistants, nonverbal communication skills are just as important as verbal communication skills. In fact, you can’t master verbal communication skills without mastering nonverbal communication skills.
People can communicate information in numerous ways. It’s not only about the words you say, it’s about the way you say them. Your tone of voice, body posture and gestures are all important parts of effective communication. When you’re trying to improve your interpersonal skills, it’s important to pay attention to how you behave when you speak. You should always make eye contact with the person you’re talking to and pay attention to your tone of voice. The goal is to speak with confidence and use your tone of voice to relay your level of excitement, empathy or enthusiasm.
Listening is one of the most important soft skills that an administrative assistant can master. If you aren't actively listening to the people you’re talking to, you could be missing important details.
Improve listening skills by removing distractions so that you can focus. If you’re looking at your computer screen or cellphone while someone is talking to you, chances are you’re missing half of the conversation.
Pick up on the conversation’s key points. It’s hard to focus on what someone is saying if they’ve been talking for a while. So, if your mind starts to wander, concentrate on listening for the key points of the conversation instead of each individual word.
Practice your active listening skills with a friend. To practice active listening, have a friend talk to you for various lengths of time. Then, repeat what you heard your friend say. If you can’t remember a lot of what your friend said, keep practicing.
If you want to be successful as an administrative assistant, it’s important to hone your interpersonal skills. Pay close attention to your verbal and nonverbal communication, as well as your listening. While other interpersonal skills are important, these are the ones you’re more likely to use on a day-to-day basis, so practice them until you have them mastered.
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