Developing Soft Skills
When listing your skills, it’s very easy to focus on “hard skills” (such as MS Office and other technical programs) and to forget about our “soft skills”. You may be wondering what the definition of soft skills even is. Soft skills are interpersonal skills that you use when interacting with your colleagues, supervisors, clients, customers, and any other people you come into contact with. They’re a lot more important than you may think. Lindsay Tigar discusses the importance of soft skills in her article:
These often underrated proficiencies make you a team player, a confident and compassionate leader and a dedicated, loyal professional.
Tigar highlights some soft skills to sharpen up in the coming 2018 year. While all soft skills should be kept in mind and honed, here are some of our favorites:
- Make more eye contact: This is a soft skill that is sadly lacking. Making eye contact makes all the difference! Eye contact establishes trust, and shows that you’re engaged in what the other person is saying. At the very least, it demonstrates good manners.
- Speak in sentences, not paragraphs: Long-windedness doesn’t typically pay off in a professional environment. If you say too much at once, it inhibits the interactive nature of a conversation and can cause your audience to tune out. Tigar recommends speaking in sentences, meaning saying one thought at a time and waiting for a response before continuing. Allow a pause between your thoughts in order to allow your audience to respond. A conversation or meeting shouldn’t be one-sided.
- Prioritize problem-solving skills: Problem solving is one of the most sought after and important skills in the professional realm. Managers look to the individual who acts as the “calm during the storm” when problems arise, and being that individual will only help you in the work place. Folks with this skill tend to be looked at first for promotions or special projects. Additionally, the better these skills are, the calmer you will be when problems arise.