20 Practical Soft Skills Everyone Should Learn
- How to remember people’s names, faces, or places. If you can remember at least one of these, you’re heading in the right direction.
- Opening successive doors for people. (It takes finesse if you’re doing it for multiple and consecutive sets of doors — and you have multiple people.)
- Keeping in contact with your relationships. A great way to hone your soft skills and maintain relationships.
- Learn to be a better listener. Don’t interrupt people, don’t try to control the conversation, and show genuine interest in what people are saying.
- Offer people something to drink and eat when they enter your home.
- Learn how to make fast healthy snacks for your visitors.
- The Elevator Rule. Let others out first. This also applies to “non-elevator” situations as well, such as on buses, boats, and trains.
- Practice writing emails to be short, respectful, and to the point. No one wants to read an essay in email format.
- Being discreet when giving tips to relevant service professionals. No one should see the money. This takes some finesse.
- Cell phone manners. No one wants to hear your conversation in public transport. It’s supposed to be a private conversation, not a public broadcast.
- Handwriting letters to people adds a personal touch. You can meet almost anyone with enough persistent handwritten letters.
- Take interest in the passions of others. This might mean feigning interest initially, but it’s likely that feigned interest will eventually transform itself into a genuine feeling.
- Taking pride in your appearance helps to make you feel good — and improves how people perceive you.
- If someone walks into a conversation, bring them up to speed or give them an idea of what you’re talking about…as well as a short intro. For example: “Kevin this is Frank, my friend from school. We were just talking about this new smartphone app.”
- Keep a mental note of people’s extroversion/introversion tendencies. It prepares you for their reaction to the events or situations around them and builds up your empathy.
- Make introductions. (Most people are awful at this and many more forget to ever do this… probably because they can’t remember people’s names.)
- Stay positive. Don’t whine and complain. It gives people a negative impression about your outlook on life and makes people think you are ‘grumpy’.
- Don’t babble. You know people who just won’t shut up. You usually avoid them because you want to engage in a conversation, not be talked at. Don’t be like them.
- Tolerance and patience. You will meet people who seem to have no redeeming qualities. Showing tolerance is a great way to accept people for who they are.
- Don’t argue. This doesn’t mean you should be a “yes man”, or act dumb. It means you should try to see things from their perspective or situation, even if you don’t agree. You maybe able to empathize with them.
Learning good social skills can make you more approachable, and people will see you in a better, more positive light. It will enhance your social aptitude and the more you practice it, the more you will improve in your sociability. It will help in your personal and work life.
Featured photo credit: Business portrait of tree presons – young man and two women having nice chat talk on modern office corridor via Shutterstock
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