When you go out in the marketplace for jobs you would need to carry with you two skill sets – hard skills and soft skills.
Loosely defined the hard skills are those things that you HAVE to acquire invariably, subject skills, also known as domain knowledge, basic technical, computational, IT, legal, secretarial or other professional fundamental know-how. Soft skills are the add-ons, the icing on the cake, the packaging, the presentation that makes you picked up for the jobs so that you reach some place.
You acquire your hard skills in the subject classes, major and minor and, perhaps some aspects of soft skills too as second helpings. PACE _ UP exercises are meant to help you recognise, practice and absorb soft skills. Soft skills are essentially people skills or behavioural skills. Soft skills are those which enable you to actually apply the hard skills you possess to good use. These are basically interpersonal in nature. These personality-specific skills determine one’s ability to take on the roles of the people manager, process initiator, decision maker, negotiator, leader and conflict resolver essential for a successful executive. You need capabilities in all these and some more to be considered to be employable. Since they are behavioural skills you do not acquire these just by imagining or wishing for them. First, you have to actually understand where you stand, recognise what bundle you would require and seriously work on them so that they become second nature to you.
Let us try to understand some of them:
– Effective Articulation
– Effective Listening
– On-to-one /one-to- many communication
– Regular professional letters, memos etc
– Reports, Presentations
– Articles, Professional writing etc
Several types of exercises will have to be invented and practised over a period to
improve diction and pronunciation, writing for different purposes, reading extensively etc.
- Presentation Skills: Establishing Physical Presence: Poise, body language, tone for effectiveness, voice quality, clarity, modulation, audience relationship, creating rapport, managing interruptions, questions
Content management: focused, credible and interesting. Time management and skill with pieces of equipment
- Body Language: Being conscious of the importance of coordinating the body parts in the communication effort. The gestures and movements of eyes, hands, neck, head, facial expressions, postures, limbs etc have a bearing on influencing the receiver of the communication.
And some more:
- Relationship Management
- Anger Management
- Decision-making skills
- Negotiating skills
- Problem solving
- Creativity and Innovativeness
- Cross-cultural sensitivity
- Gender sensitivity
- Mentoring and Coaching skills
- Self Esteem and Confidence
- Ethics and Values
- Time Management
The list appears formidable to look at. But the fact is many of these are inter-related and come as add-ons through conscious effort and practice. The best way to work this out is by forming small groups of (say) 10-12 persons as quickly as possible, pick up a cluster of these attributes, plan your activities, exercises, role plays etc. and actually, practice every day at informal meetings. Before you close, have a critical appraisal of what happened in that session and assess the learnings. The groups can disband after 4 such meetings and reform with fresh memberships to take up another cluster. Perhaps this way you can go through the whole list.
Author: Prof. A.V. K. Murthy (EMPI Business School)
EMPI Business School is a best MBA College in Delhi NCR, India. It offers MNC Co-Certified and AICTE approved PGDM, equivalent to MBA as per AIU. It offers courses in collaboration with MNCs like IBM, ManpowerGroup, JLL, Safexpress, and the largest college in Canada – SENECA.