Here is a list of 25 skills of interpersonal communication--25 things a competent interpersonal communicator should know how to do--that I used on the inside cover of my Interpersonal Messages book. But, I thought such a list might be useful more generally as a starting point for discussing what students can expect to learn to do or learn to do better than they now do it from a course in interpersonal communication. Needless to say the list is incomplete.
1. Communicate with an awareness of how the interpersonal process really works.
2. Communicate in intracultural and intercultural situations with cultural awareness and sensitivity.
3. Increase self-awareness and self-esteem.
4. Increase your accuracy in forming impressions of others and in managing the impressions you give to others.
5. Regulate your listening between empathic-objective, nonjudgmental-critical, surface-depth, polite-impolite, and active-inactive modes.
6. Use language in its full range—both denotative and connotative, with varied levels of abstraction, and appropriate directness and assertiveness.
7. Communicate without sexism, heterosexism, ageism, or racism and with sensitivity to preferred cultural names.
8. Use verbal messages logically and without common distortions.
9. Use nonverbal communication signals to send and receive a wide variety of messages—through the body, face and eyes, space and territory, artifacts, touch, para-language, silence, time, and smell.
10. Express your own feelings clearly and appropriately.
11. Respond supportively to the emotional expressions of others.
12. Engage in satisfying conversations; open, maintain, and close conversations comfortably and effectively.
13. Self disclose appropriately, facilitate the disclosures of others, and resist unfair pressure to disclose.
14. Engage in small talk comfortably.
15. Use excuses and apologies to lessen the impact of negative messages and behaviors.
16. Compliment others appropriately and receive compliments without discomfort.
17. Give and respond to the advice of others in ways that maximize benefits and minimize dangers.
18. Travel effectively through the relationship stages, communicating in ways appropriate to each stage.
19. Be sensitive to the dark side of interpersonal relationships, guarding against unproductive jealousy and relationship abuse and violence.
20. Establish and maintain productive relationships with friends, romantic partners, family, and workplace colleagues.
21. Increase your own interpersonal attractiveness.
22. Engage in effective and productive conflict management.
23. Argue effectively and persuasively for a position or point of view, without verbal aggressiveness.
24. Communicate with an awareness of the ethical issues involved in all forms of interpersonal interaction.
25. Think critically about all aspects of interpersonal communication; critically evaluate a wide variety of interpersonal messages.