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We all have someone in our life we look up to. Whose face flashed by when you read this? What is it about them that captivates you? Do they always have a solution for everything? Are the difficult conversations easy with them? Do they empathies with people? Do they make others feel seen and heard? Do they know how to deal with pressure? Do they take actions as and when needed? Do they hold it together when the world is falling apart, and make it seem effortless? If you nodded yes to most if not all of the questions, you can apparently tell that it’s not their educational degree or financial background that made them your favorite. It all comes down to how they make you feel and the positive vibes they spread.
These skills cannot be learnt from a textbook or a diploma, they are developed over time through consistent and deliberate practice. They are called soft skills or interpersonal skills or people skills. Simply put, it is a skill that involves another person and is displayed and improved via social interaction.
The skills acquired through vigorous training and work experience are called hard skills, which can be measured and tracked via tools. On the other hand, soft skills cannot be taught or tracked. Soft skills come in handy in personal and professional circumstances. Let’s have a look at the most common soft skills:
We all need to work in a team, be it an office deadline, a college project or a game of basketball. Apart from that, it would also come in handy when you throw a house party with your roommates, which often happens in student hostels of University of Leeds or University of Oxford. Being a team player helps you to own up to your actions, to support each other and to ask for help without hesitation.
When it comes to any type of relationship—social, professional, personal—communication is the key to make it fruitful and healthy. This includes listening, speaking and writing skills, including both verbal and non-verbal signals. Everyone appreciates the person who listens actively and conveys ideas in the most presentable way. Every career demands proficiency in presentations, negotiations and networking.
Charles Darwin said it the best: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is most adaptable to change”. No matter how concrete our plans are, they are always subject to change. How we handle it in unprecedented situations define how efficient we are. This appears in the most mundane tasks. For instance, in student accommodations in the major UK cities, you may have a housemate and it is very important how you find a middle ground about things.
As cliché as it sounds, you must make lemonade when life throws you lemons. You should be persistent and pragmatic in drawing conclusions when it comes to unexpected problems; be it personal or professional. You can develop skill by analysing situations critically and coming up with innovative ideas. Observe the people and the things around, and brainstorm ideas to keep your problem-solving wizard intact.
What you make out of the time at hand determines your personal and professional success. Looking at the tasks at hand as blocks of time help you be more conscious of where you spend your time. Make it a habit to plan, organize and strategize your game plans regularly. Managing your time in a smart way let you work well with deadlines, and stay focused on the tasks at hand.
World Economic Forum reports cognitive flexibility, people management and emotional intelligence to be among the top skills that future recruiters look for in a candidate. Students should be intentional about developing such skills which not only help them in their career but be a person of respect among a crowd. Here are some reasons why you should consider working on yourself.
1. Offers new perspectives
Interactions and sharing of ideas on a daily basis brush up your leadership and communication skills. It also gives you fresh perspectives and pushes your comfort zone to deliver better results. It facilitates understanding and empathy while developing your own outlook. It offers a multi-dimensional approach to a problem or a situation that you encounter.
2. Demand of interpersonal workplace
The future workplace is not just reports and appraisals, it will include collaborations and discussions. The demand for interpersonal skills like delegating tasks, negotiating deals and listening actively will top the graph. Both customers and companies alike prefer people who can talk their way in and out of things.
3. Never goes out of trend
No matter how advanced we grow in artificial intelligence and robotics, nothing can replace the warmth and originality of a human connection. Though most of the hard skills that can be developed via technical training will be taken over by machines, soft skills can never go into full automation. This makes it desirable for every phase of life.
4. Fosters healthy relationships
Your expertise in soft skills show in the way you behave and interact in a social setup. Better social skills make you more desirable as you will have your ideologies and moralities upgraded. As you grow more empathetic, you understand boundaries better and cater to other’s needs accordingly. There will be happy managers as well as happy employees.
5. Moulds into a better human being
Daily practice of self-discipline and productivity makes you stand out in a group. You will have a sense of content with your lifestyle. Hard skills are required to study well, but soft skills are required to live and learn well. You will be a better communicator, an efficient facilitator and the go-to person among your group.