Updated: Aug 20, 2020
As a professional, you need 2 sets of skills to succeed:
Hard Skills: Technical knowledge and know-how of your work.
Soft Skills: Technical knowledge and know how of the people part of your work.
“You cannot continuously improve interdependent systems and processes until you progressively perfect interdependent, interpersonal relationships.” - Stephen Covey
In simpler words:
You cannot consistently improve your business and/or professional life, until you improve your people skills.
Harvard and Stanford research reveal that 85% of job success depend on people skills and soft skills. However, most professionals often, focus on hard skills as the main factor needed to be a successful professional.
That's unfortunate because, as important as hard skills are, a professional with all the hard skills, and no or low soft skills will struggle professionally.
As a professional, it is therefore important to consider where you stand with your soft skills, where you need to improve, and create a plan of action to elevate your soft skills.
In this article, you will read about 3 components of communication, and some simple things you can begin to do immediately that'll improve your soft skills (people skills). Let's get cracking.
What the Heaven is soft skills?
Your soft skills (People Skills) is an expression of your personality traits and behavior playing itself out when you interact with people. When you're on top of your soft skills game, you'll communicate and collaborate effectively, and successfully manage conflicts in a professional setting.
With good soft skills, you will be able to navigate through difficult working environments, while producing positive results consistently.
Soft skills are important for leadership positions. As you know, good leadership is more about guiding people, and directing their efforts toward a desired outcome rather than bringing technical skills to the table. I'm however not negating the need for technical skills in leadership.
Your career success in the workplace of today–independent of technical expertise– depends on the quality of your people skills. Max Messmer. Managing Your Career for Dummies
You can understand that, to be able to grow in one’s profession and fulfill one’s professional potential, soft skills are not “good to haves” they are MUST HAVES..
Question: what the heaven is soft skills
Answer: The skills you must have to get to the heaven (top) of your career.
How the Heaven can soft skills help me professionally?
I'm glad you asked :-)
If you are interested in changing (stepping up) positions at work, changing jobs (internal recruitment), or even if you’re in-between jobs (job hunting), soft skills can help you get your foot in the door, and allow you to take your first step into your new professional placement.
Be prepared for your soft skills proficiency to pay you the following dividends:
Most recruitment processes, are designed around assessing the level of soft skills that applicants possess. That's because, your certifications, qualifications and CV have demonstrated your technical capacity required to do the job. Consequently, organisations are focusing more on assessing a candidate’s soft skills during the interview process.
It helps you adapt to changing circumstances at work, which is the “norm” today. The ability to communicate effectively during a time of uncertainty, or collaborate with others in turbulent times, when solutions are no where in sight is extremely important; regardless of your position i.e. if you’re a team member or team leader.
"In an ever more competitive jobs market it is such qualities that will give our young talent a head start and also allow existing employees to progress to higher skilled, better paid roles.”
Neil Carberry, Director for Employment and Skills at CBI In simple Arithmetic
People skills + Technical skills = Better paid roles
Question: How the heaven can soft skills help me professionally? Answer: Soft skills can help you:
Land a new job/position
Collaborate & communicate effectively, in turbulent times
Contribute more, and become more successful professionally
What the Heaven are the components of soft skills?
Soft skills are the intangible, and non-technical abilities that enable you, and other professionals get their job done efficiently; either as a team member or team leader.
Soft skills as a subject is as wide and deep as "Leadership". With such depth and width to cover, where do you start, and where do you stop?
You may have guessed, I love simplicity. I decided to simplify the subject. As this blog is called People Skills Made Easy, we should live up to our name :-)
Soft Skills = Communication + Networking + Presentation & Public Speaking
Soft skills = People Skills
We'll start with communication.
Of all the life skills available to us, communication is perhaps the most empowering. Bret Morrison
You can certainly remember a time or two when you were speaking with a colleague, who completely misinterpreted the information you were passing to them wrongly. Not your fault, not theirs either, let’s blame it on “communication gap”.
Question: How can we close communication gaps? Answer: By understanding what communication is.
In my training and workshops, I tell participants that: communication is the successful transfer of information from one point (sender) to the other (receiver) without distorting the message.
Going beyond what I think or teach, dictionary.com says communication is the imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinions, or information by speech, writing, or signs.
Speaking of signs, here's what you may see as a communication "sign"
Successful communication is a cycle
Communication is not just the ability to speak and transfer information successfully, it also includes the ability to receive, and interpret information successfully.
It goes without saying that communication is one of the most important components of soft skills. However, communication is not a one way road. Sometimes you are the sender, other times, you are the recipient. Which means, you have to develop your capacity to receive. We’ll come to that later.
Most people understand the basic idea behind a traffic light. Red means stop, yellow means pause and/or get ready, green means go. When it comes to communication, similar rules apply.
Where most “communicators” miss it is that they imagine the light is always green. They think, they’re the “communicators” and they must do all the talking. Not so.
How can they fix that problem?
They should look in the mirror, and observe that they have two ears and one mouth. That should give them a clue! Listen at least twice as much as they speak.
When communicating, start from the "receiving end".
Main Idea: Always. Listen. First.
You might ask why?
And I'll say because, good communicators can adjust their tone and style to match their audiences’ need, mood, and level of comprehension. It's only when you listen first that you can detect and/or understand their needs and mood.