Want to be known as an influential person who gets stuff done? Who does it all with a smile and goes through life easily and effortlessly accomplishing your goals? Read on – it’s a lot easier than you think to develop your soft skills.
Many folks spend a lot of time and money to build a substantial set of hard skills for themselves. They bought into the marketing campaign of those doing the selling and training for these skills. This can and often does backfire and these same people finally figure out that their soft skills are the great differentiator they were seeking.
Soft skills trump hard skills every day of the week. How you relate with other people and your ability to get stuff done is what all organizations are looking for. The great leaders and entrepreneurs of today’s world all posses excellent soft skills and pride themselves on their ability to relate well with others by increasing their power and influence.
As an average mechanical engineer with a marginal set of hard skills I went on to succeed far beyond those with a vastly superior set of hard skills. I was able to do this with a few simple tactics – relating to others, inspiring them to believe in themselves and our common mission, and helping them realize their greatness. I was able to help them realize our unique situation and how their skill set was essential to the success of our project and the organization as a whole.
While what I did was automatic to me at the time, I have since reverse-engineered my successful soft-skill traits and offer these few insights to help you become a larger version of yourself.
Have a Positive Mental Attitude –
begin each day with an overall positive attitude. Enjoy what you’re doing, have a smile, and help others to enjoy their day and contributions. Many folks you encounter will lack this attitude and have an overall dour outlook. They aren’t fun to be with and they don’t value their contributions. Establish the ground rule that everyone working on your project will do so with a smile and a positive can-do attitude or they aren’t welcome. Encourage everyone to enjoy the process and bring their best. Before long your meetings and projects will become legendary and people will ask to join your team.
Speak in Sound Bites –
practice the art of effective communication. Speak for maximum impact and in very strong and memorable statements. People want little snippets of dialogue they can remember and use throughout the day. When you come up with something unique and powerful write it down and wait for the perfect moment to use it. Have a few of these at your disposal and don’t be shy about sharing them with others.
Audit Your Communication Effectiveness –
take a moment to video yourself. Is your body language congruent with your message? Do your deliver your message concisely and powerfully? Is it focused? Practice this until it becomes second nature and always look to improve. In today’s hyper-media world – less is more.
Become a Lateral Thinking Master –
find new ways to connect the dots and create powerful new solutions. When you achieve mastery level at this skill you become unstoppable. No matter what “obstacle” you encounter you have a handful of new solutions and work-arounds.
Be Present –
no matter what the task at hand, be fully present and focused on what is before you. Whether it’s having coffee with a friend, or leading your team forward, you are always fully present. This sort of focus can be learned by everyone yet few master it. Many are easily distracted and lack the discipline of maintaining their focus. This is an incredibly powerful tool and one that will serve you well both personally and professionally.
Spread the Love –
help others feel their value and contribution. Go out of your way to acknowledge someone else. Give them a well-deserved high-five and a smile. No matter who it is or what the situation, train yourself in the art of the compliment. Always have a heartfelt compliment ready to voice. This helps you become legendary and people will flock to you.