What is it about soft skills that have us geeks so confused? Why is it that when we have the best skills in the business we get overlooked and have others who are not as skilled take our rightfully deserved position? To clarify, the reason people who have the best hard skills get overlooked is because maybe the other person is better able to communicate with their employers. This is called having soft skills, and in the world of business soft skills mean everything.
So what exactly are soft skills? Here is a video from Youtube discussing in detailed analysis what soft skills are.
So how exactly do us geeks gain these so called soft skills? Maybe there is an analytical approach we could take to figure it out. Sadly no. Soft skills are something people gain through experience or natural talent, and then again there are people who just have absolutely no soft skills and will never be able to gain them. The sad fact is some geeks will get the big promotion and others wont.
For all the geeks out their having to cope with their lack of social ability, here is a list of eight soft skills essential for everyday social communication.
- Self confidence
- POSITIVE ATTITUDE (this one is crucial)
- Team player
- critical thinking and problem solving
- Time management skills
- Coping with pressure
Its easy to just grab a list of soft skills from the internet. So how do we geeks actually go about growing our soft skills and becoming good socialites? An article from SmallBusiness gives us an example of five simple steps to improving soft skills.
5 Steps to Improving Soft Skills
1. Examine yourself and try to analyze your feelings and motivations in situations as they occur.
2. Analyze other people’s feelings and motivations.
3. Consider the beliefs and attitudes you possess that affect how you relate to others to determine whether they are valid and productive.
4. Think before you speak to begin changing the way you communicate and interact with others.
5. Hone your soft skills by using them at every opportunity.
I personally have had various situations that have tried my soft skills. Luckily for my all of my family has had a lifetime of dealing with appealing to the majority through my father’s work being a pastor. I have to say his soft skills are phenomenal. Mine… not so much.
Last year I was asked to fix my girlfriend’s neighbor’s computer. Of course I do not know the problem ahead of time and my lovely and wonderful girlfriend, being completely oblivious to how computers work, volunteers me for the job. First thing I think of is i’m going to kill her because if the neighbor’s computer is “broke” it could be any number of problems. So when I arrive at the house I ask the typical question what seems to be the problem and all I get is it doesn’t work I need you to fix it as he walks away, grabs a beer, and goes to watch Nascar in his full camouflage attire. You can imagine my frustration when he expects me to just sit there and diagnose the problem with no factual evidence of what the heck is wrong with it.
I search and search for a problem but the computer seems like it has no issues other than being slow. I ask him what the problem is he wants to fix and all I get is, “It just doesn’t work like it did before I bought it.”
So another two or three hours pass with no success other than clearing his browser history, some pointless files deleted, and clearing his desktop. And all the while he keeps asking be how much longer it is going to take. I swore to God that if I lived through this I was making my girlfriend buy a new video game or something.
Eventually I just was fed up with the whole thing and threw all his files and important documents on a flash drive and wiped his entire hard drive and totally reset the entire computer and installed all the updates. I loaded all his documents back on the computer and placed them nicely in a little folder. He later called and thanked me for “speeding up his computer.” If I he had said that in the first place it would have saved be a lot of trouble. This was a trying time for my soft skills because in this case I knew all the facts that could be causing the problem and had to try and communicate them to the individual who knew nothing.
Let’s just say my soft skills have greatly improved since then. Now the same individual comes to me with all his computer/phone problems.