Soft skills, the resource for your consultancy
The theme of soft skills is a trend that has developed especially in recent years and which finally tends to emphasize, not only the professional preparation of an individual but also his personal growth and his character tendencies.
What are soft skills?
Essential to be included in the curriculum or one of the most frequently asked questions in job interviews, soft skills are soft skills. Skills that cannot be measured according to schemes, tables or standards, but which are a necessity. A necessity because they help to face and find a solution, to communicate more efficiently, to manage the most delicate situations and much more.
When we talk about transversal in fact, we mean all those skills that are used in different types of tasks working and not, in different situations.
Improving one’s own skills in the relationship, communication and personal fields, increases one’s ability to react and manage stress, to make decisions, to work in teams and much more at work.
Below is a list of soft skills, drawn up from the EU:
- Functional alphabetic skills
- Multilingual skills
- Skills in mathematics, science, technology, engineering
- Digital skills
- Personal and social skills and the ability to learn
- Competence in matters of citizenship
- Entrepreneurial skills
- Expertise in cultural awareness and expression
Some practical examples and of which you will surely have included something in your resume: positive listening, team working, stress management, organization, punctuality, flexibility, leadership, etc.
What’s the difference with hard skills?
We’re always talking about skills, but what differentiate them from hard skills? The possibility of evaluating them according to certain standards and schemes, very often giving them a level. For example, the course of study is a hard skill because based on the level of education achieved, you receive a relative recognition: license, diploma and degree.
How to apply soft skills to consultancy?
Becoming aware of your soft skills, developing them and applying them in everyday work, is not only a benefit in favor of personal growth, but also becomes a development opportunity for the company which is found to grow professionally. Furthermore, it becomes the opportunity to be an example for colleagues and collaborators, positively influencing them to undertake a path that develops their characteristic transversal skills.
How to develop soft skills?
As we said, there is no studied path or certification to follow and obtain, but we can suggest some simple methods to discover and develop them:
- Sincerely ask the people you work with professionally to illustrate your characteristics, outside the specialist field in which you operate.
- Draw up a list independently by answering questions such as: what soft skills do I have? On what occasions have I used soft skills and how?
- Carry out “exercises”: with colleagues and collaborators, simulate consultations and situations and at the end share feedback and perspectives to improve your approach.
- Once you’ve identified the skills you feel you need to improve, look for professional courses to deepen and improve.
But you must always keep in mind one fundamental rule: continue to develop your ability to learn. No, it’s not a repetition, you read that right. Learning to learn, that is the ability to continue to open up to new opportunities, new developments and fuel the desire to question oneself.
Which soft skills are important for consulting?
We have divided the soft skills by areas.
These skills will help you to enhance yourself, your skills and therefore yours professionalism, but also learning to manage emotions and reactions on many occasions such as presentations, meetings, etc.
- Self-criticism : observe, understand and improve yourself starting from mistakes and behaviors.
- Lateral thinking : learn to look beyond the usual paths and solutions, pay attention to new opportunities and resolutions.
- Awareness : take the time to become aware of your strengths and weaknesses (In this case, the list we mentioned earlier can be very useful). You learn to recognize the aspects to be enhanced, to focus on and those to work on and improve. Only in this way will you have the ability to be a true professional.
- Regulating emotions : there are those moments when you just want to scream, others where embarrassment stops you. Emotions, especially negative ones, can lead you to act and make decisions with little clarity. It is therefore important to find a way to manage your emotions in certain cases.
- Patience: Just as it is important to manage frustration and anger, so it is essential to be patient. Not only to allow us to be more lucid, but also to save us stress and tension.
- Empathy : paying attention to others is essential. Understanding what the other person is feeling, listening and also grasping the physical changes, improves the relational and social aspect, whether it is with your colleagues or with your client.
Communicative and relational growth
Not only managing emotions, but also knowing how to establish relationships and collaborations in a profitable and constructive way.
- Communication style : just as listening is important, it is equally fundamental to be able to express what you think with the right tone and the correct words , clearly communicating their ideas, also based on the context in which they find themselves.
- Teamwork : whether you are an employee or a freelancer, the point doesn’t change. The ability to work in a team is essential, because a work group could be made up of you and your client. Learning to manage, listen and understand the dynamics and needs of a group is one of the fundamental skills. It will improve not only the relational dynamics, but also the outcome of the work.
- Presentation : this skill goes hand in hand with the communicative style. In fact, in addition to knowing how to find the right way to approach a customer, with a colleague or a supplier, it is important to present your work in order to capture the attention of those who are listening and to keep it all the time.
- Sale: you have the right communication style, are you able to present your work and your ideas well, but are you able to have that extra attention that convinces the person in front of you? This skill is closely related to listening skills, empathy and communication style.
- Bargain : Not only commercially, but also having the ability to compromise, ask or retract during a confrontation. This helps to develop your communication skills and increases your consideration in your interlocutor.
You don’t have to be scared. The point is not so much in knowing how to list and demonstrate that you have all these skills, but in the ability to continue learning to improve yourself, despite the commitments.
After all, especially counseling, puts you in constant relationship with others and improving these aspects can only increase your professionalism, the service you offer to your customers and the relationship of trust you establish.