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The Importance Of Soft Skills Training

May 27, 2008
Business is about people. It is about communication, relationships and about presenting yourself, your company and your ideas in the most positive and impactful way. Many business people like to think that success is based on logical, rational thoughts and acts, but the human element should never be ignored. Which is why a strong soft skills set is vitally important.

Soft skills training can make the difference between closing the deal and losing it, creating a cohesive, efficient team or a malfunctioning one, getting that promotion or missing out. Great people skills give you a competitive edge, helping you to create positive relationships that mean you can get more from people, both internally and externally.

Soft skills training encompass a whole range of skills, including assertiveness, influencing and persuading, negotiating, presenting and public speaking, networking and managing a team. Overall, it is about gaining a better understanding of the ways people think and behave and presenting yourself and your ideas in a way that will have the best impact.

This type of training is particularly useful for managers, but is relevant for anyone who interacts with other people as part of their job - anyone with customers or clients, anyone who commissions work from suppliers and anyone who works as part of a team.

For many professions, the importance of soft skills is obvious - for example sales people, those in customer service, politicians and journalists. For many of the more process driven and technical professions however, such as accounting or IT, soft skills training can often be forgotten or given less focus. Even in this type of business, though, employees need to be when managing staff, running meetings or simplifying complex ideas or processes for clients.

For some people, these skills come naturally, while others need to work harder at them. Some personality types are filled with horror at the thought of public speaking and networking with strangers, while others flourish in this type of situation. Some find it difficult to be assertive and a strong negotiator, others can be too aggressive. Everyone will find that they can benefit from learning new techniques and obtaining objective advice and feedback.

Soft skills training should be tailored to take into account the experience, situation and personality of the delegates. A pre-course questionnaire can help to establish these things and a good trainer will adapt their approach accordingly. A successful training session will also get the balance between theory on the one hand and practice and interaction on the other. After all, it's all about how you work with people and you can't learn that just by listening.
About the Author
Anna Stenning is an expert on soft skills training as this has helped in her career.
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