Improving Interpersonal Communication Skills

Published Date: 3/28/2023

Updated Date: 5/31/2023

Interpersonal communication skills in trucking 

Interpersonal communication skills, also known as soft skills, are incredibly important within the career of trucking. Though truck driving professionals spend much of their time alone on the road, they regularly communicate with internal and external contacts throughout their careers to successfully complete their core responsibilities

Anything from traffic changes and weather patterns to pick-up updates and drop-off delays are some examples of key job duties that require effective communication skills.  

Importance of communication skills in the workplace 

Good interpersonal communication skills in the trucking industry not only keep truck driving professionals safer on the road, but they can also help drivers feel more connected. It can even improve their interpersonal relationships with both colleagues and customers.  

This is especially important when it comes to a driver’s relationships with their driver support team, as they have the ability to make a positive impact on a truck driver’s career advancement opportunities and support the development of their routes. Making it imperative to deepen their professional relationships with dispatchers driver support team and stay in lockstep with them by creating a clear, consistent line of communication. 

Professional truck drivers represent their respective trucking company each time they interface with a customer. It is imperative that truck drivers are provided with the resources they need to improve their interpersonal communication skills.  

Group of Swift Transportation truck drivers laughing and sharing conversation

What are the types of interpersonal communication skills? 

Soft skills for truck drivers, such as interpersonal skills in the form of verbal communication and nonverbal communication, can come in a variety of types. From body language to written messages, it is important to work towards understanding them all in order to excel as a professional truck driver.     

Verbal communication 

Verbal communication can include both what you are saying and how you’re saying it. Consider tone of voice, volume, and rate of breath when determining the message you'd like to convey. 

Improving your verbal communication skills can include maintaining eye contact, speaking clearly and concisely, refraining from using jargon terms, and focusing on your tone of voice to ensure your message stays professional and productive. Simply thinking about what you are going to say before you speak can be a helpful way to improve your communication skills as a truck driver. 

Nonverbal communication 

Nonverbal communication in the form of body language can include gestures, movements, and facial expressions. This is one of the most important types of communication to consider when interacting with internal and external contacts, in person or remotely. Know that you could be misunderstood if you are not intentional with your body language. 

It has been found that a majority of all communication is nonverbal communication, where only a small portion of meaning in communication comes from words themselves. This means in some cases, it may be more critical to consider your nonverbal cues over what you’re choosing to say. 

Improving your body language starts with being self-aware of how you’re communicating with others without speaking. Things like crossing your arms, not facing the person you’re speaking with, or fidgeting can give off an unprofessional or unwelcoming impression that you may not be aware of. 


Practicing active listening involves ensuring that those you are communicating with know that you are engaged in the conversation, without interrupting or becoming distracted. 

A simple way to improve active listening skills is to put your phone away when communicating with others, asking follow up questions to show that you understand, and keeping an open mind surrounding what they are saying to you to create productive dialogue.  

Written communication 

Written communication is related to the content and context of any handwritten or typed messages shared with others. These can include emails, text messages, posts on social media, and more.   

In the age of the internet and smart phones, it's important to consider how our written word can be perceived. To prevent misunderstandings, opt for straightforward language and avoid vague messages that require additional context. 

To improve written communication skills and increase professionalism, always ask yourself if you have used proper punctuation, have communicated clearly, professionally, and as productively as possible before hitting send.  

If you’re interested in mastering your interpersonal communication skills, try this free online course from UC San Diego.

Want to start a career as a truck driver? 

If you’re interested in kickstarting an ultra-rewarding and respected career as a truck driving professional, today may be the day for you to become a Swift Driver.  

Whether you’re seasoned with CDL Experience or are new to driving: We have a place for you!  

The Author

Swift Marketing

Swift Transportation is the Nation's #1 full truckload carrier. Swift offers Driving careers in our Linehaul, Refrigerated, Flatbed, Intermodal, Teams, and Dedicated divisions.