Last Updated 18 Apr 2017

Soft Skills

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What is softskills? Soft skill is the ability required and expected from persons for finding a suitable job, its maintenance and promotion. Softskills is an important facet of life. It is essential in all spheres of life. Be it an interview or dealing with the project leader or working out a solution with a team or writing a report, getting across the point effectively is what matters. The success of an endeavour hinges on the ability to communicate effectively in today's fast paced life, everyone is asked to do more with less.

In such a scenario effective communication holds the key. Effectively communication centers round the usage of words, speed of delivery of words, pitch modulation and body language. Using the right tools to communicate the right messages at the right time can salvage a crises and motivate people to work towards success. Truly said, communication works but for those who work at it. In the existing globalization scenario, most of the Information Technology, I.

T Enabled Services, management institutes, public and private sector, multi-national Companies, Union Public Service Commission, and State Public Service Commission are search for a right and suitable fresher for executive posts. Whatever be the recruiting criteria that I. T, ITES, industry giants had in their agenda, once this was clear a first class degree would not serve the purpose, the candidate have to satisfy the skill sets that the companies were looking for. And unanimously, the skills set that they were looking for Softskills.

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The immediate results of developing good communication skills are: 1. Ability to Listen effectively 2. Ability to send Clear Messages 3. To win confidence and respect of peers, employers 4. Impressive non-verbal behaviour Scope of softskills development It is very important to develop softskills because it enables you to: * To handle interpersonal relations * To take appropriate decisions * To communicate effectively * To have good impression and impact to gain professional development Types of Softskills 1. Verbal Communication skills * Softskills form the corner stone of soft skills Every human being has to essentially ; effectively communicate with others * Effective communication is the hallmark of one's education * The ability to speak fluently using the right word in the right order is an good communication * Message using appropriate vocabulary and syntax form effective communication 2. Body language Non verbal language * Face is the index of the mind and it clearly displays the persons  interest * Body language presents to the audience what we feel & think about the particular matter * Body language (e. , arms crossed, standing, sitting, relaxed) * Emotion of the sender & receiver (e. g, speaking clearly, enthusiastic) 3. Written communication Skills * Writing evaluates a person's proficiency indications, spelling grammar etc... * Errors committed while writing circulars, reports ; agenda considerably spoil the image of the writer * Good visual presentation using graphics, color, balanced design layout- adds so much to written communication. * Keep handouts and other written materials for your presentation 4. Presentation Skills Presentation skills include planning, preparation ; delivery of the message.

Making a formal speech is also one form of presentation. Presentation skills can be broadly categorized into physical oral, ; electronics. * Success in life depends on presenting ideas in an appropriate manners * Look at the eyes of audience ; speak in a natural, conversational voice * Appropriate voice will make the presentation effective and interesting * Ask for feed back from your audience about your presentation ; change accordingly * In presentation especially, stop occasionally to ask the audience understand what you have said . Team Work * People of either gender, different age groups, qualification, status ; skills work as a team with a common objective of accomplishing the task * The success of any organization largely depends on in the coordinated efforts of its employees * It mainly refers to the agreeableness ; co-operation among the team members 6. Professional ethics * Professional ethics is the need of the hour in India * When a person is at the work spot, he must think of his work only * He must put his heart ; soul into the work Each employee is a organic part of the organization ; must strive to contribute his mite to the successful functioning of the organization 7. Interpersonal Skills Man is a social animal ; his success in life largely depends on his relationship ; interaction with others We must respect the views ; sentiments of others. When we want to differ their views, we must very politely give hints to them without wondering their feelings 8. Time ; Stress Management Prioritize the work ; schedule your time accordingly * Impotent work should be allotted more time ; taken up first * Listening to classical music ; practicing Yoga will considerably reduce the physical,emotional ; mental stress of an individual 9. Leadership Softskills Leaders, executives ; managers need to be very clear about what they expect from others * Trust your self * Keep smiling * Share ; stay together * Always learn new things * Accept responsibility for your self ; your actions * Look at problems ; challenges * Be grateful always * Love your self

So if you want to improve upon your softskills, this is the best time to go ahead. Start now, Start well Soft skills is a sociological term relating to a person's "EQ" (Emotional Intelligence Quotient), the cluster of personality traits, social graces, communication, language, personal habits, friendliness, and optimism that characterize relationships with other people. [1] Soft skills complement hard skills (part of a person's IQ), which are the occupational requirements of a job and many other activities. Soft skills are personal attributes that enhance an individual's interactions, job performance and career prospects.

Unlike hard skills, which are about a person's skill set and ability to perform a certain type of task or activity, soft skills relate to a person's ability to interact effectively with coworkers and customers and are broadly applicable both in and outside the workplace. A person's soft skill EQ is an important part of their individual contribution to the success of an organization. Particularly those organizations dealing with customers face-to-face are generally more successful, if they train their staff to use these skills.

Screening or training for personal habits or traits such as dependability and conscientiousness can yield significant return on investment for an organization. [2] For this reason, soft skills are increasingly sought out by employers in addition to standard qualifications. It has been suggested that in a number of professions soft skills may be more important over the long term than occupational skills. The legal profession is one example where the ability to deal with people effectively and politely, more than their mere occupational skills, can determine the professional success of a lawyer. 3] Soft Skills are behavioral competencies. Also known as Interpersonal Skills, or people skills, they include proficiencies such as communication skills, conflict resolution and negotiation, personal effectiveness, creative problem solving, strategic thinking, team building, influencing skills and selling skills, to name a few Meaning Critical thinking clarifies goals, examines assumptions, discerns hidden values, evaluates evidence, accomplishes actions, and assesses conclusions. "Critical" as used in the expression "critical thinking" connotes involving skillful judgment as to truth, merit, etc. Critical" in this context does not mean "disapproval" or "negative. " There are many positive uses of critical thinking, for example formulating a workable solution to a complex personal problem, deliberating as a group about what course of action to take, or analyzing the assumptions and the quality of the methods used in scientifically arriving at a reasonable level of confidence about a given hypothesis. To add further clarification on what is meant by thinking critically, Richard Paul (1995) articulated critical thinking as either weak or strong.

The weak-sense critical thinker is a highly skilled but selfishly motivated pseudo-intellectual who works to advance one's personal agenda without seriously considering the ethical consequences and implications. Conceived as such, the weak-sense critical thinker is often highly skilled but uses those skills selectively so as to pursue unjust and selfish ends (Paul, 1995). Conversely, the strong-sense critical thinker skillfully enters into the logic of problems and issues to see the problem for what it is without egocentric and/or socio-centric bias.

Thus conceived, the strong-sense mind seeks to actively, systematically, reflectively, and fair-mindedly construct insight with sensitivity to expose and address the many obstacles that compromise high quality thought and learning. Using strong critical thinking we might evaluate an argument, for example, as worthy of acceptance because it is valid and based on true premises. Upon reflection, a speaker may be evaluated as a credible source of knowledge on a given topic.

Critical thinking can occur whenever one judges, decides, or solves a problem; in general, whenever one must figure out what to believe or what to do, and do so in a reasonable and reflective way. Reading, writing, speaking, and listening can all be done critically or uncritically. Critical thinking is crucial to becoming a close reader and a substantive writer. Expressed in most general terms, critical thinking is "a way of taking up the problems of life. "[10] Skills The list of core critical thinking skills includes observation, interpretation, analysis, inference, evaluation, explanation, and meta-cognition.

There is a reasonable level of consensus among experts that an individual or group engaged in strong critical thinking gives due consideration to establish: * Evidence through observation * Context * Relevant criteria for making the judgment well * Applicable methods or techniques for forming the judgment * Applicable theoretical constructs for understanding the problem and the question at hand In addition to possessing strong critical-thinking skills, one must be disposed to engage problems and decisions using those skills.

Critical thinking employs not only logic but broad intellectual criteria such as clarity, credibility, accuracy, precision, relevance, depth, breadth, significance, and fairness. Habits or traits of mind The habits of mind that characterize a person strongly disposed toward critical thinking include a desire to follow reason and evidence wherever they may lead, a systematic approach to problem solving, inquisitiveness, even-handedness, and confidence in reasoning. [16] When individuals possess intellectual skills alone, without the intellectual traits of mind, weak sense critical thinking results.

Fair-minded or strong sense critical thinking requires intellectual humility, empathy, integrity, perseverance, courage, autonomy, confidence in reason, and other intellectual traits. Thus, critical thinking without essential intellectual traits often results in clever, but manipulative and often unethical or subjective thought. The clients have indicated that, after inspecting the progress of the project they have outsourced, they would like to meet the team members working on it. Why? To select one team member for a stint onsite -- something almost every software engineer aspires for.

Ravi has been one of the most active members in the project and has done a wonderful job. He is technically brilliant, but has some concerns: * Will he able to communicate his performance to the client in an impressive manner so that he is chosen? * Why do his team mates not prefer to come to him for solutions and go to less capable people instead? * His project manager doesn't seem to be very warm towards him either, although he does drop in those occasional mails appreciating his work.

Here is a typical scenario in an IT company; or for that matter, any organisation where interpersonal communication is involved. Or, like in Ravi's case, where an employee suffers from a lack of interpersonal skills. Are technical/ job-related skills enough? Technical and job-related skills are a must, but they are NOT sufficient when it comes to progressing up the ladder. With the traditional paternalistic style of leadership becoming passe, professional managers expect their teams to be proactive and communicate openly. "Soft skills are very important in business.

It is essential to be technically sound, but one should also have the ability to convey the idea to the masses in the simplest possible manner," says Mayurkumar Gadewar, an ERP consultant with Pricewaterhouse Coopers. With the boom in outsourcing taking root across industries, many professionals and subject matter experts directly deal with their clients on a regular basis. Their approachability and people skills are what ultimately sustain the contract their employers have bagged. "Planning is necessary but execution is also equally important.

And it takes soft skills to execute any idea because it involves dealing with people directly," says Gadewar. 6 soft skills for every hard-nosed professional Behavioural training experts say there are several soft skills are required in these circumstances. Some of them include: i. Interpersonal skills ii. Team spirit iii. Social grace iv. Business etiquette v. Negotiation skills vi. Behavioural traits such as attitude, motivation and time management Do you have these? If your answer is yes, good for you. But if your answer is no, then you know it is time to approach either a training organisation or a training consultant.

Will formal training enhance your soft skills? There is a lot of argument in the industry as to whether it is possible to enhance soft skills in a few hours of training, especially when one considers the fact that a person has lived with those traits all his life. To this, the answer is harsh but real -- a professional who wants to do well in his/ her career does not really have a choice. In the initial years of your career, your technical abilities are important to get good assignments. However, when it comes to growing in an organisation, it is your personality that matters, more so in large organisations where several people with imilar technical expertise will compete for a promotion. Training on soft skills becomes all the more relevant in a country like India where the education system does not delve into personality development. "Soft skills training is essential because we do not have it in our academic curricula. Therefore, corporate houses have to take up the task of grooming employees who are the link between the company and the external world, so that they are able to present themselves better, " says Sumeet Mehta, an equity research analyst with Fortis Securities Ltd.

Be your own trainer! While organisations are definitely investing in augmenting their staff's people skills, here are some inputs for professionals and students who would like to initiate the process themselves: i. Be a part of team activities It could be either as a part of your church choir, or an NGO, or your local youth circle. Observe your own behaviour in the group and how you relate to others. ii. Ask family members or close friends to write down your best and worst traits. Ideally, have at least four to five people do this for you.

Evaluate the common traits all of them have mentioned. Thus, you can be aware of your strengths and work improving your weaknesses. iii. How well do you manage your time? Think. Can you do more in life? Or is your day too crammed with activities? Effective time management is very essential in the corporate world. iv. Introspect on how you react to feedback. In organisations, people skills mostly come into the picture when there is feedback given -- be it for an idea, an executed project or a presentation. You are judged by the way you respond to feedback.

Do you get defensive? Do you insist you were right? Do you meekly accept criticism? Remember, people tend to be judged and stereotyped according to their responses. You will, too. v. How good are you at critiquing? While responding to feedback is one side of the coin, giving feedback is the other side. Are you aggressive? Pessimistic? Do you believe in constructive criticism? Or prefer to be the yes-man? vi. Live consciously Any organisation is manned by people, therefore soft skills are all about how you deal with people and present yourself.

Though it may be easier said than done, soft skills can be enhanced simply by being aware of oneself and living consciously. Rukmini Iyer is a corporate trainer and instructional designer. She writes regularly on business etiquette, communication, language enhancement and grooming. Definition soft skills Soft skills are personal attributes that enhance an individual's interactions, job performance and career prospects. Unlike hard skills, which are about a person's skill set and ability to perform a certain type of task or activity, soft skills are interpersonal and broadly applicable.

Soft skills are often described by using terms often associated with personality traits, such as: * optimism * common sense * responsibility * a sense of humor * integrity and abilities that can be practiced (but require the individual to genuinely like other people) such as: * empathy * teamwork * leadership * communication * good manners * negotiation * sociability * the ability to teach. It's often said that hard skills will get you an interview but you need soft skills to get (and keep) the job. Definition Emotional intelligence (EI) is the area of cognitive ability involving traits nd social skills that facilitate interpersonal behavior. Intelligence can be broadly defined as the capacity for goal-oriented adaptive behavior; emotional intelligence focuses on the aspects of intelligence that govern self-knowledge and social adaptation. The term first appeared in 1985, in Wayne Payne's doctoral thesis, A study of emotion: Developing emotional intelligence. Payne's thesis centered on the idea that society's historical repression of emotion is the source of wide-scale problems such as addiction, depression, illness, religious conflict, violence and war.

Daniel Goleman, a psychologist and behavioral science journalist, later popularized the term and developed related concepts in his influential book, Emotional Intelligence (1995). In Working with Emotional Intelligence (1998), Goleman explored the function of EI on the job. According to Goleman, emotional intelligence is the largest single predictor of success in the workplace. Goleman and others have developed the concept of a testable EQ (emotional intelligence quotient) counterpart to the IQ (intelligence quotient).

In contrast to the focus on academically-oriented skills, such as mathematical ability, that are evaluated in an IQ test, an EQ test focuses more on the individual's capacity to deal effectively with others. To that end, it evaluates traits and abilities such as self-awareness and empathy, which are sometimes referred to as soft skills. Goleman describes emotional intelligence as "managing feelings so that they are expressed appropriately and effectively, enabling people to work together smoothly toward their common goals. " According to Goleman, the four major skills that make up emotional intelligence are: * Self-Awareness Self-Management * Social Awareness * Relationship Management. The Importance of Soft skills When it comes to skills in employment, the first line of emphasis is typically towards abilities, training and knowledge of specific skill sets. These are referred to as hard skills. Soft skills are often overlooked, but they also play an important role in day-to-day operations. Small business owners should place equal importance on hard and soft skills during the hiring process for new employees. In addition, current employees should be encouraged to develop soft skills if they are lacking in this area. Drive/Work Ethic

This is a difficult skill to quantify, but employees will typically either display a strong work ethic and the drive to complete tasks, or they won't. While a work ethic is largely an innate skill, it can be learned with proper training and motivation. Some employees may be able to develop a stronger work ethic with incentive based pay or monetary rewards such as bonuses if they reach a certain goal. Communication Skills Communication skills are the most important soft skills for an employee. The ability to communicate through the spoken and written word is a necessity in nearly every industry and in every workplace.

Communication skills can be learned and improved with the right training. It may take time for employees to learn effective communication skills, particularly if they have a naturally shy disposition. In this case, a course on public speaking can work wonders. The techniques learned by speaking to a large crowd can be adapted for daily communications and these lessons are typically good confidence builders for employees. Teamwork The ability to work well within a team is another important soft skill. Some employees may naturally feel comfortable working within a group, while others may have problems and prefer to work alone.

It is necessary to spot these personality types ahead of time for proper group formation. Every team should have a diverse set of personalities that mesh together as a cohesive whole. Team building exercises can be very beneficial in helping employees develop this skill. Decision Making and Problem Solving Being able to make quick decisions, think on their feet, and solve simple problems are important employee traits. Even simple problems such as a copier being out of toner can grind an office to a halt if no one displays these simple skills.

At least one employee needs to have the ability to take charge of a situation and guide the others through if they have difficulty. The employees who display these decision making skills are often excellent candidates for promotion to management level. Importance of Soft Skills in Our Life Most of us feel that if we have good technical knowledge & skills we will achieve success. Hence; not many try to learn soft skills. This presentation brings out the importance of soft skills in our life. It shows that without soft skills, it will be difficult for us to achieve progress & be successful

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