The Hard Reality of Soft Skills

Laurie Burton training

Soft Skills are the unsung heroes of the corporate world. Corporations have had their own aha moment regarding these skills. Occupational requirements are one thing but in a number of professions, the hard reality is that soft skills (people skills) may be more important than, or just as important as, occupational skills.

Consider the legal profession. How successful would a lawyer be without soft skills, given the amount of interaction required of them with their clients on a very personal level and the amount of trust they must build from the very start.

The U.S. Department of Labor considers the following six skills as Soft Skills.

Soft Skill #1: Communication
Soft Skill #2: Enthusiasm & Attitude
Soft Skill #3: Teamwork
Soft Skill #4: Networking
Soft Skill #5: Problem Solving & Critical Thinking
Soft Skill #6: Professionalism

The hard reality is that a lack of Soft Skills can kill a business!

Let’s have a look at where and how one might use the above “soft skills” in the corporate world.

• You walk into work and greet your fellow workers.
Soft Skill #1: Communication

• You walk into your office, your phone is ringing and you answer with a greeting and your name.
Soft Skill #1: Communication

• You have an interview with a possible new hire. She walks into your office and you greet her with a handshake and ask her to have a seat.
Soft Skill #1: Communication
Soft Skill #6: Professionalism

• The job seeker enters the office for her interview – she smiles and extends he hand for a handshake and gives her name in an animated and enthusiastic manner.
Soft Skill #2: Enthusiasm & Attitude
Soft Skill #6: Professionalism

• You have a meeting with your team.  You have noticed lately that the team’s spirit has taken a hit and you want to address the issue.
Soft Skill #1: Communication
Soft Skill #3: Teamwork
Soft Skill #5: Problem Solving & Critical Thinking
Soft Skill #6: Professionalism

• You attend a fundraiser for a local charity after work.
Soft Skill #1: Communications
Soft Skill #2: Enthusiasm and Attitude
Soft Skill #4: Networking
Soft Skill #6: Professionalism

• You arrive home to greet your husband and children.
Soft Skill #1: Communication
Soft Skill #2: Enthusiasm & Attitude
Soft Skill #3: Teamwork
Soft Skill #5: Problem Solving & Critical Thinking
Soft Skill #6: Professionalism

Another Soft Skill of my own, which I believe qualifies as Soft Skill #7: Appearance.

Your look and dress need to spell success. No thrown together, mismatched, last-minute dressing will do in the corporate world. Instead, think through your wardrobe. If you are not sure how to pull a look together, try seeking advice from a professional. It is an investment in your future, so get the help and advice from others that you need to ensure that the finished product – YOU – is attractive and appropriate. Your look should be one that presents credibility, confidence and trust.

Whether you call them Soft Skills or Intrapersonal Skills or People Skills, they are about you – how you consistently conduct and present yourself, in a variety of situations. For most of us, the best place to begin is with body language and eye contact. Your body language speaks volumes about you, revealing much when you least expect it!

Ask yourself: Are you at ease and comfortable in your skin? Are you animated and enthusiastic when you communicate with others? Do you listen and engage?

Ask others who know you: Do you find me to be at ease and comfortable in my own skin? Am I animated and enthusiastic when I communicate with others? Do I listen and engage?

While employing soft skills is not hard, the reality is that everyone can benefit from some level of Soft Skills Training. And the unlimited benefits realized from practicing these skills, is what makes them the true unsung heroes of the corporate world.

Do you know that you need help with Soft Skills? Would you like some easy to use tools for improving your soft skills skill-set? I have got something that has helped corporate leaders of Fortune 500 companies such as IBM, Mattel Toys, Digital Equipment, Merrill Lynch, ITT and Twentieth Century Fox with their soft skills and I would love to share it with you – just contact me, today!

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  1. Pingback: Ten Tips to Experience Unlimited Success When Communicating | Laurie Burton Training

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