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You’re the best in your industry.  Your particular skill level is up there with the big guns. And, it shows in your pay check. Well done!

But something that doesn’t show is how terrible you are with other people.  You may be the Rockefeller of your specific niche but you’re also the Trump of relationships.

There is something to be said for those who are able to get on with others and still produce quality and professional work.  Surely that is what one is expected to do, right? But, we are sure you have come across that one person that, while you can see how good they are at what they do, is a total idiot when it comes to liaising with his fellow colleagues and clients.

This skill set, in dealing with people, falls under the Soft Skills banner.  But, soft skills are certainly not only limited to how you work with others.

What are Soft Skills exactly?

Soft skills are not as tangible as hard skills and they are super difficult to measure.  Soft skills cover a myriad of areas, for example, your leadership skills, the way you communicate with others via various media, and the way you are able to work out a problem, that analytical forward-thinking mode.

Enhancing your soft skills is paramount to taking that further step towards a career enhancement, a way to increase your client numbers and certainly will benefit you on a holistic plain too.


So, what are the Soft Skills you should be honing in on?

Some of us are born with great soft skills, others have to work at them. And, that’s fine.  Knowing where your weaknesses lie in terms of your soft skills, is the first step to improving them.

  1. Communication Skills

Hot on the top of the list sits communication.  We do it every day, connecting and engaging with others, but are we doing it well?  From expressing yourself clearly when talking to others, to sending emails out that really connect and encourage the reader to sit up and listen.  In addition, communication doesn’t only encompass talking and writing emails or messages, it is also about how well you listen to others, and further how well you take that information and use it effectively.

How can you improve?

Ask others, whom you trust, to give you tips on your communication skills.  Join networks where you are encouraged to speak often and according to a format.  BNI is, of course, the perfect platform for this.  In addition, the likes of Toastmasters, also an international organisation, is where you will learn how to speak on all levels.


  1. Problem Solving Skills

A problem will always come up.  Many often throw up their hands and declare that it’s impossible.  What the world wants are those who don’t look for the problems but rather the solutions. Thinking out of the box is a term often bantered about.  It requires someone to really look at a situation from all the angles and to believe that there is a solution.

How can you improve?

Many find this easy but generally it requires a few hours of intense forward-thinking behaviour.  Look back at similar examples, speak to colleagues and even clients.  Somewhere, someone had a solution for the type of problem you are facing.


  1. Leadership Skills

You may not think that you require leadership skills in your particular field or job.  But somewhere there will always come a time when you are required to show your expertise and that means you have to act like and literally be a leader.  Developing these skills is an ongoing exercise and you will find you will learn something new every day.

How can you improve?

Read – Read – Read!  There are so many books written on the subject. And, there are many courses you can take in order to develop this soft skill.


  1. Time Management Skills

Aaah, the nemesis for most.  Managing time is, for some, like getting that boiled egg just right.  It’s an elusive skill that we know is important but just slips through our fingers all the time.  Time Management covers your ability to be on time, work according to a schedule, plan projects, keep to a time limit, and generally manage your entire day and life.  Simple, right?  Not so much.

How can you improve?

Take baby steps here.  We are not all cut out to manage time efficiently.  From setting your alarm in the morning to planning your diary, it all requires taking a few steps at a time.  You can take up a time management course, you can read a few books, or better yet, you can ask for help and employ an assistant.  Whichever way you go for, you will greatly improve your ability to manage time better.


  1. Versatility

Back in college, there was an exercise whereby we had to pretend to be someone else in the room. They in turn, had to pretend to be the other person.  The exercise not only highlighted oddities in personality and even bodily movement but made us realise that some people were better impersonators than others.  In life, in work, in play, we need to be versatile and adapt to our surroundings and to the people we are surrounded by.  Dependent on the situation, you may need to come down a few levels or you may need to take a huge step up, in order to relate to the other person or the new environment.

How can you improve?

Constantly putting yourself into situations that are out of your comfort zone is a good habit to get into.  Listen to others, how they speak and what they say.  Work out why they said that and why they do what they do.  Empathy is a great trait to learn and it can be learnt.  Feeling for others without be sympathetic is a way to relate and in relating you will learn how to be versatile.


Practice Makes Perfect

No one expects you to be the perfect all-rounder.  You may look at others and think that they fit that bill pretty closely but more often than not, they have really worked hard to get there.

And, so can you.  Just take each soft skill and work on them little by little.  Growing your hard skills is good for you just as much as improving those soft skills are.


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