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Soft skills - An essential ingredient in the art of communication

Updated on June 24, 2012
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When people talk about soft skills, I often used to wonder what they exactly mean. Are soft skills those abilities - implicit or otherwise that allow an individual to communicate well with others? Do soft skills go a step further, encircling empathy, conflict management, stress management, adaptability, creativity and inspiration? Let us take a look at what it means.

According to Belinda Lim, A well known Operations Executive, soft skills refer to a set of skills that determine how we interact with others. Examples of soft skills include effective communication, problem-solving skills, leadership, team building, flexibility, personal energy, positive attitude, interpersonal skills as well as the willingness to learn.

There is growing recognition amongst companies to the importance of people skills as they have begun to understand that they are essential for a highly focused successful business. As we blend softer skills with hard skills, we gain the ability of flexibility and adaptability which in turn helps us to communicate more effectively, gain understanding, facilitate, manage and lead. studies by the many research organizations found that 75% of long term job successes depended upon people skills and only 25% on technical skills. This is indeed very true. For effective performance in the work place, employees should not only have domain knowledge but also skills to deal with the external world of clients, customers, vendors, the government and the public.


First impression is the best impression indeed
It just takes few minutes for a person to be evaluated by someone when they meet for the first time. In this short time, an opinion is formed about the former based on his/her appearance, body language, talk and gesticulations.
The first impressions formed are nearly impossible to change, thus making these first encounters very important as they set the ten or for all the relationships that follow.
Therefore, its important to know how to create a good first impression. Here are a few tips.

Be on time
Punctually is indeed the first rule to be followed. Arriving early is much better than arriving late. The person you might be meeting will certainly not be happy with a ‘good excuse’ you will have for arriving late.

Be yourself, be at ease.
Be calm and confident. Always feel at ease and relaxed about what you are doing. This will make the other person watching you confident about you too. This will certainly create a great impression. various relaxation techniques can be done to calm your adrenaline!

Present yourself appropriately
Physical appearance, indeed speaks a lot. A good physical appearance sends out positive vibes to the other person. There are different ways of presenting yourself for different occasions. Make sure you stick to the traditions and norms. Personal grooming too is important. It makes you feel more confident and energetic. Add all this up and you are on the way to making a good first impression.

A winning smile
There’s nothing a smile can’t conquer. A warm and assured smile does great for the person and the others he/she is dealing with. But take care not to overdo it. It might put you in trouble.

Be coureous and attentive
It is an obvious fact that courtesy, politeness, thoughtfulness and good manners certainly makes a good impression. Anything less can ruin the best chance you have for creating a good impression. So be on your best behavior!

Be positive
Always wear a positive mind-set. Inspite of the criticisms you might have to face, project a positive attitude because you shall surely be the winner at the end of the race.

Conclusion
Soft skills are behavioral traits inherent in every individual. Some people have the right set of skills that make them excellent in their every Endeavour such as understanding instructions, doing the job with adroitness and thus gaining respect from fellowmen. Such traits cannot be taught or picked up simply from somewhere, However, it can be developed through constant practise and training. It has become the need of the hour to one’s people skills to come forward in life. If you possess these skills, do take time to hone and develop them. This will allow you further develop these skills and equip yourself for the challenging life ahead.

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