Soft skills or “people skills” are characteristics that influence an individual’s personal and professional relationships, work performance and career prospects. Technical skills are specific skills, tasks or activities that you need to be proficient in to be eligible for a particular job. However, soft skills are those that everybody has to varying degrees. Many soft skills are an inherent part of an individual’s personality, yet many can be acquired or learned. If the lack of a particular soft skill is identified, it can be addressed and one can be trained to acquire that particular skill.
To be successful in any profession or field of work, having good soft skills are as essential as having technical skills. Good communication skills play an important role in building successful relationships, whether personal or professional. Creating a stellar piece of work is of no use if you are unable to showcase it to others. Appreciation, recognition and opportunities are things that you would lose out on for the hard work you have put in.
Working on your soft skills can be extremely helpful in the long run. Here are some ways of achieving them:
- Read Habitually: It’s never too late to start. Even if you are not much of a reader, make it a point to read at least a few pages each day and increase the number of pages each day. Reading is the key to understanding the language better. It teaches you about word play, usage and timing and will also help you write better. The ability to write crisp, concise and clear letters or e-mails can be an invaluable asset.
- Take a Public Speaking Class: If speaking in front of an audience scares you, you can you overcome this fear by performing an exercise that needs you to do just this.
- Develop a Good Sense of Humor: Humor can lighten any situation, whether it’s to break the stress to beat a project deadline or make a newcomer feel welcome.
- Compliment People: Do this as it is an easy way to reach out to people around you, but be genuine and sincere, flattery is obvious. Superficiality is a thin screen that people can see through and won’t last for long.
- Use Illustrations to Communicate: Illustrations can speak the language of the lay person and can simplify tough technical concepts into easy-to-follow concepts.
Globalization, in almost all areas of work, has made it imperative to deal with diverse situations involving people from divergent backgrounds. It further emphasizes the role of soft skills. It is not enough to be able to just do your work properly, but it’s also about being able to proactively make a positive difference to those around you in order to take the organization a step forward to achieve its goals.
Working on one’s soft skills is definitely a worthwhile exercise not just for employees of an organization but also for one’s personal progress in life.
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