Finally, we have come to soft skills. I have referenced soft skills in almost every one of my blogs up to date. This seems to be the everlasting battle with Geeks. Technical skills vs. soft skills and how to adequately merge them together to make a business titan. It can be hard because many people are not good at both, so which ones do you need for your job? Generally, people who are extremely technical are not so good in social situations. That is where the whole stereotyhpe of geeks and nerds comes from. On the other end, very social people, popular people, outgoing people often lack the real technical skills. So how do you blend them together in way that can make you successful?
The book gives a list of 5 soft skills, as follows; Listen for what is important to people, describe a rosy future, expose your desire, express commitment, translate facts into stories. In my personal opinion, this is not a good list. It is too narrow and it makes it seem like if you do these five things, no matter how terrible you are with people, they will automatically like you, and agree with what you are doing. For me, soft skills are a lot more subtle, and I think some people have them and some people do not. For me, I would say that I am more on the soft skills side than the technical side. I am somewhat introverted, but I can read people well and get along with almost anyone. I would much rather have an interview and talk about whatever, than go into an interview and try and show them my computer skills, that would be rough. Like I said, I feel like some people have soft skills and some people do not and it is hard to learn them. However, it is not impossible and there are definitely things you can do to improve soft skills.
Although I said the above list was bad, there are a couple things I can pull from it. Listening for what is important is definitely a good thing, and translating facts into stories is also another good thing. If you can key into what is important to a person, and talk about that, or make sure they know you understand that, it will go a long way. If something is important to someone they obviously care about it and if you show you care about it too, common ground can be reached an you are already ahead. Also, geeks tend to like stats, numbers and facts, but other people may care less. This is where you have to almost speak another language. Translate the numbers into stories. People find stories easier to grasp. We tell everything in stories. Make it interesting, or moving and people will be likely to pay attention. To be honest, those are the only things from the book I found helpful. Communication is also necessary. Saying what is going on in your head can beard sometimes, but if you don’t say it, there’s no way anyone is going to know what you want or what you are thinking so being open is another huge part of easily working with others. Other than that, it is just practice I guess.
I still think it is a lot of either you have it or you do not. The best way to get better at something is to do it and get feedback. Books can only tell you so much about people so get out there and start interacting. There are hundreds of lists of how to improve soft skills and lots of coaches out there willing to try and guide you through interacting with people.