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4 tips to improve your soft skills at work

Besides relevant educational background and technical experience, increasingly employers are looking for candidates with a certain je ne sais quoi quality that adds longer-term value to companies. These could range from leadership skills, a sense of humour, collaborative abilities etc.

While these skills can help improve job performance and give you a competitive edge, they don’t come naturally to everyone. Here are five tips to develop and improve your soft skills:

Be a better communicator – Verbal communication almost always tops any discussion about soft skills. To do this well, you don’t have to a master orator. Often, it is about being coherent and expressing yourself in a simple and straightforward manner, so avoid using big words or jargon where you can. Being a good listener is just as important because employees who can interpret messages correctly are more likely to ace their jobs.

However, if you still find yourself struggling with these, then take the time to practice in a pressure-free environment. Rehearse with a colleague or friend to take the edge of. Take a look at all the jobs seeking good communicators.

Ability to adapt – Are you someone who can juggle multiple projects at the same time? Can you work with different teams and cultures? These are important skills for anyone looking for career progress, especially in today’s fast paced world. Fortunately, this is something that can be acquired over time and by making a conscious effort.

Start by acknowledging that change is the only constant. Be open to alternative solutions, if your first one doesn’t succeed. Also, be willing to accept help from colleagues during tough situations or if you’re unable to meet deadlines.

Be a team player – You’ve heard this before – collaboration is key to success. Teamwork is important in every industry and business. Regardless of how junior or senior you are, you must be able to work flawlessly with a larger group of people.

Solo troopers need to be put their own interests second and focus on the business objectives. Simple actions like making eye contact, and acknowledging people’s ideas and contributions is a great way to show that you are a team player.

Be willing to learn – In today’s competitive job market, no one is too young or too old to grasp new skills and concepts. Just because you have successfully followed one path, doesn’t mean you should limit yourself. Consider taking a course or volunteering in another team if you’re keen to acquire new skills.

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