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The 11 Kinds Of Soft Skills You Need To Succeed (In Career and Elsewhere in life)

Communication skills | Soft skills



Soft skills are the skills that you will need to be a better professional/employee, and a better person as well. You may know the hard skills (the skills needed for the job - engineering, medical etc), but you need to work well with others (some call it the external soft skills), and manage yourself better (the internal sof skills) if you need to get further in your career.

You will get better at the soft skills with practice. Being good at the soft skills is a hallmark of a 'professional'. Start by calling a colleage by name and smiling at them as you pass by in the hallway.

The first six kinds of soft skills are more important if you plan to be in a leadership position in your career.

1. Communicating skills: Conveying information succintly, simply, repeatedly if needed, and in the most effective medium, getting hold of the audience's limited attention span by being very relevant.

2. People skills: Working and getting along with the right people, and ensuring they know our value - the 'give and take' principle. Making others feel good. Look at things from others' points of view.

3. Self management skills: How we manage ourselves, our attitude, our emotions, our mental and physical health, and our skills with managing our time.

4. Boss management: Making the boss shine and making sure t he boss understands your value.

5. Managing subordinates: Being able to motivate them and smartly matching tasks with people's interests and abilities.

6. Leadership skills: Knowing the correct destination and convincing others to come along, and often using out-of-the-box thinking and actions.

7. Marketing skills: Getting our target customers to notice the usefulness/benefits of our product/services.

8. Productivity/Time management skills:  Get more done, the most important tasks done first, using smartv to-do lists, cheat sheets, checklists, shortcuts, delegation etc.

9. Career management skills: Being relevant and useful in the marketplace, working hard, regularly updating skills (or finding newer areas to be useful in) and finding a work-life balance.

10. Job searching & Job-interview skills: Knowing what we want from our career, finding the right places to work, striking a rapport with interviewers, coming off as enthusiastic, interested, and having the right attitude.

11. Creativity and problem solving skills: Thinking outside the box, looking at a problem from multiple angles, and arriving at decisions after considering multiple options.

Communication skills

1. Use 'You' a lot. Say 'Thank you' often.

2. Being precise and concise. Get key points “across” within the audience ’ s short attention span.

3. Being always ready with elevator pitches/impromptu speeches.

4. Using plain language.

5. Giving relevant and persuasive presentations, speeches and arguments.

6. Being 'light', smiling often, and listenting intently.

7. Talking only you have something important to add.

People skills

Making people feel good.

Using empathy: Put yourself in other people ’ s shoes.

Be interesting by being interested. (corollary: To be listened, listen first)

Understanding the value of 'give and take' and building a useful professional network.

Knowing the difference between confidence and over-confidence.

Building rapport by mirroring the other person - interests , habits etc.

Marketing skills

Building a rapport with target customers/users by knowing what they need.

Promoting the most relevant benefits of the products/service.

Selling benefits, not features.

Above all, selling hope.

Productivity/Time Management Skills

Prioritizing and focusing on what's important first.

Using checklists, cheatsheets and shortcuts to do rote tasks faster and better.

Delegating out the small tasks.

Time boxing: Working intently for 50 minutes and taking a 10 minute break to rejuvenate.

Career management skills

Knowing where to work and/or where the most promising opportunities are.

Making a good lasting impression by making a good first one. 

Building good professional relationships because most job openings aren't advertised.

Making the interviewer like you by building a rapport with them, and showing skills and interest in the work

Leadership skills

Examining the big picture to identify opportunities.

Caring for your people, giving due credit, genuine compliments and encouragements.

Inspiring loyalty by showing your loyalty to yoru people.

Delegating small tasks, and / or empowering the juniors.

Walking the talk.

Being proactive and farsighted - knowing where the company and the industry are going.

Creativity & problem solving skills

Thinking outside the box.

Working on solving problems instaed of whining.

Looking at a problem from multiple points of view.

Coming at a final decision after considering various options.


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