What Are Soft Skills & Why They Are Important?

What are Soft Skills?

Soft skills, often called people skills or emotional intelligence, refer to the ability to interact amicably with others. Soft skills are personal attributes that can affect relationships, communication, and interaction with others. Soft skills can include, or relate to, the following:

  • Communication
  • Critical thinking
  • Conflict resolution
  • Problem solving
  • Negotiation
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Handing difficult people
  • Delivering constructive criticism
  • Working under pressure
  • Team work
  • Managing people
  • Adaptability
  • Resilience
  • Perseverance
  • Influence
  • Networking
  • Time management
  • Organizational skills


Why Soft Skills Are Important?

Here are the reasons why soft skills are more important than ever:

1 – HARD SKILLS ARE USELESS WITHOUT SOFT SKILLS

In most jobs, technical skills alone are not enough to be truly effective. A salesperson with an unrivalled knowledge of their product and market will have little success if they don’t have the interpersonal skills needed to close deals and retain clients. A business manager needs to be able to listen to employees, have good speaking skills, and be able to think creatively. All careers require at least some soft skills to make the hard skills valuable.

2 – SOFT SKILLS ARE HARDER TO LEARN

Hard skills aren’t necessarily hard to acquire. They can be easily taught, and can be learned and perfected over time. Soft skills are more challenging to develop, since they have little to do with knowledge or expertise, but are closely linked with a person’s character. It takes conscious effort, ongoing practice, and a commitment to self-development to improve your soft skills. Hard skills may look impressive on your CV, but the soft skills are what will set you apart from the many candidates who have similar expertise to you.


3 – THE MODERN WORKPLACE IS INTERPERSONAL

Skills such as listening, collaborating with others, presenting ideas and communicating with team members are all highly valued in the modern workplace. Strong soft skills ensure a productive, collaborative and healthy work environment, all vital attributes for organisations in an increasingly competitive world.

4 – CUSTOMERS DEMAND SOFT SKILLS

The modern market offers consumers an unlimited number of choices through technologies such as the internet and smartphones. For these consumers, convenience and low prices are easy to come by, so customer service is often what influences the choice to use a particular business. The ability to communicate efficiently and effectively with customers is therefore a vital factor in an organisation’s success.

5 – THE FUTURE WORKPLACE WILL RELY ON SOFT SKILLS

Automation and artificial intelligence will result in a greater proportion of jobs relying on soft skills. Thanks to cutting-edge technology, tasks that require hard skills are continuing to decline, making soft skills key differentiators in the workplace. As an example, look at this fascinating study by Deloitte Access Economics, which predicts that two-thirds of all jobs in Australia will rely on soft skills by 2030. This trend will inevitably be mirrored globally.

Work on Your Soft Skills

Soft skills don’t have to be confusing, but they do take effort. Just as you go to the gym to get stronger through repeatedly straining your muscles, you have to actively exercise your soft skills. The key is consistency: Practice skills from the list above in the office, as well as in your everyday life. Trust me, the results are worth it—less stress, easier conversations, and a happier day at work.


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