Soft Skills and how you can stand out from the crowd

Dr. Purushothaman
December 7, 2013

Wikipedia defines soft skills like this:

Soft skills is a sociological term for a person's "EQ" (Emotional Intelligence Quotient), which refers to the cluster of personality traits, social graces, communication, language, personal habits, friendliness, and optimism that mark us.

Interpersonal skills include:

* Participation in a team
* Ability to teach
* Service
* Leading a team
* Negotiation
* Unite a team amidst cultural differences
* Motivation
* Decision-making skills
* Problem-solving skills
* Etiquette

As you can see the above skills are generic to any job - IT, Banking, Shipping, Manufacturing,.. you can name any industry and the most successful managers in all those industries will be very good in most of the skills mentioned above. Whether you are a fresher just beginning your career or somebody with industry experience, if you start focusing on your soft skills you can go places in your career. Here are some tips to get you started with developing your soft skills.

1. Listen:

Yes, listening is one of the most important parts of effective communication. It is important that the person who is talking to you feels confident that you are paying attention to what he is saying. This will help them communicate better with you and by listening carefully you will be able to respond in a precise manner that will help getting your point across.

2. Oral and Verbal skills:

Whatever your job, there will be opportunities to impress your colleagues and your boss with your writing and speaking ability at some stage (in some cases, almost every day!) So it is important that you focus on this. An easy way to improve your skills will be start emailing your friends in length and engaging in discussions with friends who have similar interests to you career wise.

3. Dress up well:

Yes, it is very important to look good and show off! When a client walks into your office, the boss will be keen to show the client that his team is a professional bunch and he will take a liking to those who have projected a good image. Remember, first impression is the best impression! If you are serious about your career, professional looking and ironed clothes, cleanly shaven face, well groomed hair, polishes shoes and where applicable a suit are all a must. If you have never thought about this aspect before, it is time to start thinking about an image makeover for you!

4. Politeness:

It is important that you have a smiling face as you walk into the office building, especially if it is for your interview. Regardless of how serious the person at the reception looks, politely greet them and introduce yourself. While you are in a job, make sure that you greet your colleagues as you make your way to your seat. Come across as a polite person who everybody would like to talk to. When any of your colleagues come to talk to you, especially asking for help or advice, reply with a smile. This will go a long way in establishing a positive vibe around you giving you an edge over others in your workplace.

These are only some of the tips for getting started on improving your soft skills. Your soft skills grow with time as long as you consciously keep working on them and keep learning every day. With every passing day, you will get more and more confident and you will be well on your way in becoming a star employee at your workplace!

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