Decoding Soft Skills

In conversation with Soft Skills and Grooming Consultant Priya Bhimani on soft skills and the common mistakes made.

What are soft skills?

Our professional and education qualifications are our hard skills, the kind that other people can also achieve—the 90% in Math, degrees from business school, etc. But what sets us apart and makes us unique are our soft skills—your personality, the way you speak, your body language, verbal and non verbal skills, social skills, grooming and dressing. These are often referred to as personal attributes and we often spend time identifying them, but very little time in honing them. Don’t fall for the myth that this skill set in inherent, the truth is that the attributes can be learned and improved upon.  

Some improvement techniques for soft skills:

  1. In the workspace, the image you present is very important.  It usually takes a person 30 seconds to make a first impression, so make every second of that count. A well-groomed individual inspires confidence and the ability to focus on minute details of a task. Poor grooming distracts from what you are saying, diverts attention from your work and hampers your ability to build relations. Pay attention to how you style your hair, dental hygiene, body odor and nails. 
  2. Once the person moves past the initial personal assessment, the next thing that is noticed is body language—the way you stand, the way you walk in, how you present yourself, your smile, etc. You may be dressed very well but if you enter a room without knocking or you are slouching, you’ve lost their attention. Strategic grooming can project the image you want with an appropriate professional appearance and help build solid business relationships. 
  3. While working with corporates, one of the things that separate a good leader from the rest is a well-developed Emotional Quotient. What is EQ? It’s the ability to understand emotions and the impact they have on behavior. An individual who in more in tune with her emotions is more likely to understand other’s emotions. Some of the cornerstones of EQ are empathy, listening skills and the mutual respect. Leaders with high EQ know how to mange the emotional drive of the team to motivate them, foster better collaborations and generally have happier workspaces. 
  4. With the rise of social media, there is a set of etiquette that governs these communications and is especially valuable in the corporate set-up. The tone and the language of an email must always be formal and polite while reaching out to clients. Emotions can be assigned to words, but on an email there is always scope for misunderstandings so be as clear and succinct as possible. Pay attention to how you address the recipient, the fist line of greeting and please do not use abbreviations. While calling or texting someone, be considerate of the time, and always ask if the person is available to talk

About our contributor:

Priya Bhimani‘s career trajectory is an interesting one that can be linked to flying for international airlines like Cathay Pacific and British Airways to being the Beauty Editor for L’Officiel and now rests at her combining all the skills she has acquired to being a Soft Skills and Grooming Consultant. Working with corporates, individuals and schools she curates her modules to suit the clients needs but often finds that people are hesitant to invest in training for soft skills, as it’s an intangible asset. But times and mind sets are changing, pushing human skills and connections to the forefront.

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