Soft skills covers a pretty large area, ranging from Problem Solving Skills, Communication Skills, Listening Skills, Leadership Skills, Time Management Skills, Stress Management Skills, Customer Service Skills, Motivating Skills, Negotiation Skills… just to name a few.
If you try to do too many things at the same time, you won’t succeed at anything. So it may be better to focus on 1 or 2 of these skills which you think you are weak at, or would like to improve further. This keeps the objective clear and you can then focus to achieve it.
One of the biggest skill that you must master is to be good at Communications… with your colleagues, your subordinates, your bosses, vendors, friends, family members, pretty much every one you usually come in contact with.
Communication goes much deeper than simply speaking skills… although acquiring great speaking skills alone is not easy.
To communicate effectively and efficiently, you must be able to talk and listen attentively. Then put across your points concisely. Many people only want to talk and keep the control of the discussion to themselves, so they keep interrupting people when others are talking. This is not effective at all, and can lead to poor communications, and even a break-down in communications.
To become a good communicator, you must practice doing communication as much as possible. You can’t become an expert at communication simply by reading books on this topic, or thinking abotu it. You must practice it… just like swimming, and you’ll get better at it once you are able to break out of your comfort zone.
I recently wrote about a few key Soft Skills that you must learn:
- Shut Up & Listen to Be More Effective
- How Good Are Your Soft Skills?
- How to Achieve Work Life Balance
One of the best ways to improve your Communication skills is to join a Toastmaster’s club. There will be several in your town or neighborhood. In Singapore, a small city, there are over 100 clubs, and you can easily find one that meets on a weekend, or a particular weekday you are free.
The meetings are usually for 1–2 hours, once to twice a month. It is a gathering of like minded people who want to improve their speaking and listening skills. You have to speak (prepared speech or impromptu), and critique someone else’s speech.
It is an excellent way to learn in a very non-threatening way. I have improved my speaking skills by attending these early on in my career, and even started to win the Best Speech in my club several times.
Give it a try. I am sure you will improve a lot of your soft skills, specially your communication, public speaking, listening skills. You’ll also find a mentor or friend who could help you further your goal of improving your communication and other soft skills.
Soft skills like Communication, Time Management, Stress Management, Negotiation Skills and Motivational skills are all inter-linked.
As you become better in one area, you will feel more confident, and will feel ready for the next challenge… to improve in another area.
You can never become a master of any soft skill… they are more of an art. But you can become better, and more effective… which is what we want to achieve. Simply sign-up for short courses to improve your soft skills, and begin to learn the hidden secrets of effective communications, effective time management, and effective work-life balance.
Hope this will motivate you to get started in your journey of life-long learning!
Attend Sot Skills Workshops
For more tips on how to improve communications and enjoy a higher quality of life, you can attend a 1 day workshop on improving soft skills in Singapore, with your fellow colleagues, and learn practical tips on a wide ranging sot skills. Contact +65-6392-4590 or write to us.
Written by: Vinai Prakash
Vinai is the founder and principal trainer at SoftSkills.SG. He has trained hundreds of companies across 23 countries in improving productivity, getting more done and achieving balance in their lives. Vinai lives in Singapore.