BRUSH UP YOUR SKILLS

Five soft skills that will make you a bet­ter pro­fes­sional

India Today - - NEWS YOU CAN USE - SARAH BERRY Trainer, Soft Skills & Con­sul­tant, Pub­lic Diplo­macy, Delhi

To­day’s highly com­pet­i­tive world de­mands more than just the ‘X fac­tor’ from us. Mas­ter­ing soft skills makes you ca­reer-ready and lends you that much-needed edge for sure. Here are sim­ple, but ef­fec­tive ways to ace your so­cial and com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills.

WORK ON YOUR PRE­SEN­TA­TION

Pre­sen­ta­tion does not only in­clude your phys­i­cal ap­pear­ance and at­tire, but more im­por­tantly, your ver­bal and non-ver­bal com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills. The lat­ter in­cludes pos­ture, gait, body lan­guage, ges­tures, eye and fa­cial ex­pres­sions. These sub­tle, yet pow­er­ful tools com­mu­ni­cate ev­ery­thing you plan to project and are vi­tal com­po­nents of busi­ness and so­cial eti­quettes.

SPEND TIME LIS­TEN­ING

Don’t just hear but lis­ten. This art needs fo­cus and dis­ci­pline de­spite dis­trac­tions. It helps one learn much more than what one would when one talks ten to a dozen.

BUILD UP YOUR VO­CAB­U­LARY

Ice break­ers are im­por­tant to start a con­ver­sa­tion—a gift in the pro­fes­sional world. Pay at­ten­tion to your vo­cab­u­lary and gen­eral knowl­edge. Try and learn five new words ev­ery day, in any lan­guage of your choice. Un­der­stand the mean­ing and ap­ply these in sen­tences. Read, read and read. Learn, un­learn and re-learn.

BE AWARE OF BODY GES­TURES

Eye con­tact is a pow­er­ful tool; main­tain eye con­tact, but avoid star­ing. In some cultures, not main­tain­ing eye con­tact is a sign of re­spect. Read a lit­tle be­fore you in­ter­act with dif­fer­ent cultures. This ap­plies to all modes of non-ver­bal com­mu­ni­ca­tion, busi­ness and so­cial eti­quettes. This prin­ci­ple also ap­plies to hand­shakes. Should you shake hands? Who makes the first move? The hand­shake por­trays a lot about your per­son­al­ity, keep it ‘to-the-point’ and firm.

FIND A BAL­ANCE BE­TWEEN THE PER­SONAL AND PRO­FES­SIONAL

Strike a bal­ance be­tween your per­sonal and pro­fes­sional life and be­tween self and oth­ers. For this, dis­ci­pline is im­por­tant and man­age­ment is key. Stay­ing pos­i­tive and mo­ti­vated is es­sen­tial. As Swami Vivekananda pointed out, “Ev­ery­thing in ex­cess in life is poi­son.”

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