Monthly Archives: November 2015

Do You Think Your Soft Skills Need Work?

When people start planning to add value to their skill-sets, what are the things that first come to mind?

Training and certification, qualifications and degrees can show up on the list, but what’s becoming more and more regarded as equally vital now are the intangible skills that help leverage group and personal strengths and make a good organization great. And whether you call them interpersonal skills, having high emotional intelligence, or plain people skills, these ‘soft skills’ are increasingly valuable today.

What are soft skills?
Soft skills are the personality traits and interpersonal skills that directly affect the way you interact and live with other people. They are rooted in who you are and how you move in the world and in your communities.

Internal soft skills are what you possess, intrinsically. They’re what help you direct the way you approach and understand things, and how you take action in your life. They are skills like:

  • Critical thinking/problem solving, and perceptiveness
  • Resilience and perseverance
  • Emotional management
  • Growth mindset

External soft skills are the ones you use when you’re with other people. Interpersonal soft skills are vital in maximizing your impact in a work group. For example, take the following:

  • Collaboration and teamwork
  • Effective communication
  • Self-Promotion and networking
  • Conflict management
  • Adaptability and flexibility
  • Negotiation skills

 

When people think of improving their skill-sets to build more value, their usually  focus on hard skills like learning particularly desirable programming languages, or spreadsheet mastery, or earning  widely recognized high-impact, industry-specific certification.

More and more though,  soft skills  like adaptability,  self-motivation, leadership, and having a growth-mindset are showing themselves to equally as valuable, and can actually provide more of an in with people and organizations.

See, if hard skills get the door open, soft skills helps cement the invitation. If hard skills provide the value, soft skills help sell it.

Continue reading Do You Think Your Soft Skills Need Work?

Why Giving Negative Feedback Is Part Of Good Communication

Communication is key to success in any enterprise. In joint ventures and partnerships, in groups, departments and teams, it helps keep the trust and cooperation flowing freely. And when inevitably we also screw up, or see others fall below standards,  good communication skills can help us find our way back to steady ground and improve a floundering performance.

Even with all the automation going on, businesses aren’t run by robots. We work with other people all through out the business life-cycle. We work with people, and people, including us, make mistakes.

We can work with suppliers, designers, landlords, legal advisers and accounting professionals. We can work with partners, co-workers, answer to a board of directors, or shareholders… and still, we work with people.

Sooner or later something will  come to light and show that some of them aren’t performing up to standards with their  duties and responsibilities.  When you’re responsible for talking to them about it, what do you do to address the situation, and how would you do so?

Soft skills when delivering bad news are needed in every area of life where we interact with others. We move in a network of relationships, and for the bulk of the web to work harmoniously then we ourselves need to develop those difficult skills so we can navigate delicate matters without deliberately causing insult or injury. Continue reading Why Giving Negative Feedback Is Part Of Good Communication

How To Develop A Mobile Mindset

When it comes to reaching your market, there all sorts of tried and tested methods available, with new ones making their way down the pipeline every month. We have the internet and assorted social media platforms, and we can reach our markets via  visual, audio, and textual content on various mobile devices.

With all the tools we have at our fingertips, it would be easy for businesses  to assume that they can continue as they’ve have been doing and they’ll be set  for the future, but that kind of thinking simply isn’t going to cut it.

We have increasingly found different ways to talk to each other and store, transmit, and share information.  The last 3 generations alone have witnessed the evolution of technology on an accelerated scale: from room-sized computing machines to tiny smartwatches, from vinyl records to digital music files, and from rotary telephones to smartphones that can also function as a mobile office.

We learned to think differently  with  the technology we have.
The word  “mobile” can just be taken to mean ‘movable.’ Agile. Portable.  Go back again to the evolution of tech:  desktops to laptops to tablets, rotary dial up, to cellphones, to smartphones…there’s a trend. Think smaller screen-space. Think lighter.

Now we need to think differently from the technology we have.
Being mobile friendly isn’t just resizing the screen for regular-sized computers and shrinking it down. It’s seeing and presenting information in a different way. The mindset here is a whole way of presenting interaction. And it is a mindset — you’ll have to consider being as clear and concise as you can be in the limited space you have to work with.

This is something that asks for design skills and contextual presentation. For example:  how much information can you present and still be understood? How can you make the move from big screen to small screen without losing your website’s branding?

New-think: You respond to changes, not merely react to them.
Technological advances and the internet helped use do certain things faster: communication and business have shown the biggest changes, and now the trend isn’t stopping. The impediment is not in the technology, but in the mindset of the people most in a position to leverage it for their own purposes, which in our case, are entrepreneurs and business owners.

We have our specific markets.  We have our ways to reach them, whether it’s ads, newsletter, RSS feeds or a website. And now the mobile trend is going strong and growing steadily. We can use this momentum to teach ourselves to think differently and move with the changes.
Continue reading How To Develop A Mobile Mindset