Professional Soft Skills Resolution for 2010

Your Professional Soft Skills Resolution 2010

2010 will undoubtedly bring many new surprises, challenges, and inventions.   Yet one truth prevails — professional soft skills (aka people skills) are still the underlying mechanism for success in business around the globe. So as you make your 2010 resolutions, make a professional soft skills resolution to take your career, your company, and your teams to new heights.

Professional Soft Skills Resolution

Here’s a resolution that one leader made:

I resolve to improve how I communicate with my teams, customers, and colleagues.”

Keeping this resolution:

Speak positively not negatively and forward not back.

Almost every negative statement you make can be reworded to say positively what needs to change rather than just what is wrong. Monitor your statements for one day. You will be amazed at how often you state what is wrong rather than how to make it better. This change in your communication actually breeds better morale, rapport, and results!

Identify your natural listening style and adapt to your team members.

Every soft skills blog reinforces the value of active listening. Yet to be a great listener, silence is not the automatic winner. It is a myth that silence is what everyone wants. Learn to spot asynchronous and synchronous listening needs and listen with that style. The WOW of rapport occurs with this step.

Speak with and require all to speak with respect for diversity.

Learn what your social style is (Amiable, Analytic, Expressive, or Driver) and have each team member learn theirs. If you want major ROI on your soft skills resolution this one step of communicating with respect for differences is the magic bullet.

Increase and improve your face-to-face contact.

Yes we are technologically connected with email. Yet if you look across the generations, face-to-face contact does bring better understanding among and about people. Technology can help you with this as well — SKYPE and VideoConferencing to name only two. A recent study showed that among distanced teams, videoconferencing produced better teamwork and work results over teleconferenced meetings. Even if your team is primarily comprised of GEN Y, you can help them to learn better face-to-face skills with this commitment in your resolution.

What is your professional soft skills resolution and how will you keep it?

Would love to read yours in the comments section below.

In her workshops and training, Kate Nasser develops your professional soft skills to improve your connections with diverse people. In her new training DVD “Customer Service USA – What They Expect From Coast to Coast and Everywhere In Between” Kate illustrates the soft skills you need to meet diverse customers’ needs. Email her for info on this new training DVD.

8 Responses to “Professional Soft Skills Resolution for 2010”

  1. Kate,
    Much has been made of the “loss” of face-to-face people skills with the onslaught of technology advances. The few studies I’ve read seem inconclusive as to whether or not “people skills” are suffering. But anecdotally, it *does* seem that as we continue to relate via screens, our face-to-face interaction skills will atrophy.

    You present a few really smart, no-nonsense tips for helping retain our people skills muscles. And, as teleconferencing becomes less cumbersome, while in the world would leaders NOT use them?

  2. Marleen says:

    Hi Kate,

    While I don’t personally believe in making any new year’s resolutions, I am always working to improve my people skills.

    One of my biggest challenges is the fear of public speaking. I plan to join Toastmasters to help me overcome my fear and improve my speaking skills.

    I talk a lot, I mean a lot. I am now working on being a better listener and talk just a little bit less…a little.



  3. Liz says:

    Excellent Kate! Once again, you know exactly what it is happening with the world of communication. I am all for new goals in the new year. I am happy that you mention this here because people do not seem to understand the importance of resolutions (goals). For the past two years, I have been working on these by reading more about the various ways to communicate effectively with others. I know I have much work to do when it comes to listen and really seek to understand the other individual point of view. I believe this year will bring a lot new opportunities to improve. I am looking forward to learn more from my mistakes, your findings and from books that coach people on this too.

    Keep up the excellent work!

  4. Pat Bennett says:

    Hi Kate,
    Thanks for your recent posting about the importance of soft skills. Over the course of my career I’ve always believed and practiced that connecting with people comes first–before the sale, transaction or event. People-to-people connections are critical in any interaction and are highly underrated and seem undervalued, despite what I know and believe now, as I look for work. Employers still focus heavily on experience more so than the softer skills which can make or break any company.
    Appreciate your insights and enjoy reading your tweets.
    Happy New Year!
    Pat Bennett

  5. Laura Rivchun says:

    Hi Kate,

    It’s really terrific that you devote so much energy and time to this much needed topic. As a “forever” recruiter (now career consultant), I can’t stress enough how “soft skills” is what frequently lands someone a job.

    When I presented candidates to a client, I couldn’t stress enough how someone who has strong “hard skills” (experience, tangibles) but weak soft skills might not be the best candidate. My mantra was, “dont just look at the person on paper, but consider their character, communication, presence and values” It would be a shame to overlook these qualities”.

    Hopefully, more people “get it” and understand the value of soft skills. I think we tend to place more emphasis on someone’s professional experience and not enough on the person as a whole.

    Wishing you continued success!

  6. Amy Hall says:

    Hi Kate!

    Excellent points! I’m a person who prides herself on her ‘customer service skills’ and soft skills. It was challenging to get to the point of having authentic interest and caring about my ‘clients’, which is what is need to have excellent soft skills. When I was able to learn about myself, how I communicate, learn and react and accept myself, then my customer service skills fell easily and effortlessly into place. I stopped worrying about how I was going to answer a question or how I was going to get my point across and just trust that the answer was ‘in there’ (my brain) and that it would come out in the conversation. At that point I was able to fully listen to what the ‘client’s’ challenge was and be fully engaged in resolving the challenge in a way that would benefit both the client and the company. Most ‘clients’ can tell that you’re really listening and paying attention and really appreciate it. Whatever the outcome.

    I work daily on presenting everything in a positive manner to everyone, from the lady ringing up my groceries to the postman and everyone in between. I’ve just decided that I want to the world to be a positive place and that begins with me. It’s as basic as… switching from… “I can’t do that” to “this is what I can do…”

    I do think that ‘soft skill’ are undervalued in the workplace. But it could be because they are so subjective.

    Amy Hall

  7. Ken Levy says:

    Your tips are on the money Kate as we all know it’s not only what you say but how you say it that conveys the full meaning and intent of our words! The challenge for my group will be how to convey the meaning behind the body language while pretty much confined to telephone communications with our customers. Looking forward to your helping us out with that in the near future!

    • Kate Nasser says:

      I’ll be there Ken! You certainly know what I do. I have spent 20 years teaching exactly what you said –how to appropriately convey meaning especially on the telephone and in the last 10 years, online. I will even cover how to read the customer’s personality type over the telephone and then tailor your tone/message to that type. Glad you liked this post and many thanks for taking the time to share your insights here.

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