When’s the last time you had a good conversation not including your friends and family?
If you had to think about that one, you’re not alone. Conversation has become a lost art.
Let’s start by defining what soft skills are: the ability to communicate and work well together.
For context look at the corporate world. Hard skills, although tangible and measurable, won’t get you promoted.
In his book, Emotional Intelligence at Work, Daniel Goleman states 90% of what moves a person up the success ladder is emotional intelligence or EQ. He also asserts EQ is 2 times as important in distinguishing top performers from average ones and 4 times as important in senior roles.
Think back to your favorite manager or boss. Chances are the reason they stood out is the way they treated you: a soft skill trait.
In a day and age where technology is evolving rapidly, the only thing that separates you and I from robots and machines taking our jobs is: soft skills.
Look at the job search process. Your resume is highlighted with hard skills: experience, job duties and education. That’s what got you the interview. But what’s remembered in the interview is your soft skills such as: communication, body language, eye contact and tone of voice.
What really matters is how well you connect with the person or panel interviewing you. If your resume is the qualifier, the interview is your opportunity to prove how you add value to the organization and why you’re the best fit.
Soft skills are the catalyst for new opportunities and promotions.
Technology may look like the enemy in this scenario, but it’s not. Convenience is.
As a society, we’re lazy. It’s more convenient to text, message or email versus meeting in person. At times there are location restrictions, but what happens in a 15 minute conversation beats the quality of 100 emails back and forth anyday.
The importance of soft skills comes down to establishing a connection with others.
All your personal and professional marketing efforts fall short if you don’t relate to who you’re talking to.
It’s not the future generation’s fault for lack of soft skills, but the current generation’s responsibility to teach and model it to them.
A world without soft skills is: disconnected, inhumane and boring.
So let’s do our part to save soft skills from extinction by investing in people, starting with actively listening and communicating more effectively.
Soft skills are what makes us uniquely human. That’s why we need to preserve them.
About Scott Asai
Scott Asai is a TEDx Speaker who focuses on teaching leadership and soft skills to further enhance people’s careers. His live events and online school targets Millennials and Introverts. Scott’s professional background includes: B.A. in Psychology, M.A. in Organizational Leadership, Certified Professional Coach and Certified Strengths Coach. You can learn more about Scott on his website. Follow him on LinkedIn and Twitter.