You are on page 1of 31

DRAVIDIAN

UNIVERSITY

Srinivasavanam, Kuppam 517 426

Department of English and Communications

CBCS

Two-year PG Program
First Year
Semester 2
External Elective

Soft Skills

Soft Skills

life. Transferable skills are highly


marketable because they are
needed for a wide variety of jobs.
These skills are needed to secure
employment and ensure a persons
progress in a chosen career.

Soft Skills: What? and Why? of


the Subject
The term skills' refers to the entire
spectrum of talents, traits and practical
knowledge that each of us possesses.
Skills are specialized abilities to do things
well and the know-how to perform a
given task effectively. The important
thing to remember is that skills are not
static. While they may be rooted in
natural-born talent, they are developed
through a wide variety of experiences in
life. This means that practice will help a
person refine his/her existing skills and
learn new ones.
Soft skills is a sociological term relating
to a person's cluster of personality traits,
social graces, communication, language,
personal
habits,
friendliness,
and
optimism that characterize relationships
with other people. Soft skills complement
hard skills or technical skills, which are
the occupational requirements of a job
and many other activities [Wikipedia,
2010].
Soft skills are quite useful to the
university student during his/her stay in
the university (pre-employment stage)
and would help him/her achieve success
at work. Often, retaining a job and
progress in a career are dependent of a
person having desirable soft skills. Our
competence reflects the sum total of a
triad of factors: our skills, knowledge and
attitudes in the context of study or work.
Skills or soft skills are
A wide variety of skills which can
be transferred from one job to
another. These come from all areas
of life, and are used everyday. They
may come from volunteer work,
work, leisure, education or personal

Soft Skills

Page 2

Transferable
categorized
groups:
1.
2.
3.
4.

skills
can
be
into the following

People Skills
Thinking Skills
Applied/Practical Skills
Adaptability Skills

1. PEOPLE SKILLS
1.1. Interpersonal Skills

able to interact successfully with a


wide range of people
and
understand
how
to
express
feelings warmly and sensitively;
work well with a wide variety of
people: males and females; people
from other social, educational,
religious, cultural and racial
backgrounds (this links to
another
priority
area
i.e.
ethnic harmony)

give and receive feedback in a


constructive
manner (this
communication
is
mutually
enriching to both the giver of
feedback and the recipient)

able to listen actively (effective


listening skills can prevent conflict
among people holding diverse
opinions)

know how to use tact and


diplomacy (needed for developing
networking skills)

1.2. Oral Communication Skills

present information and ideas


clearly and concisely, with content

and style appropriate for the


audience, in a one-to-one or a
group setting (a highly marketable
skill)

able to think fast and respond as


appropriate

able to make formal presentations


and present ideas, positions and
problems in an interesting way

be able to hold yourself up in


public
or
one-to-one
situations (helps
develop
your
image as well as that of the
organization you represent)

1.3. Supporting Others (as a friend,


counselor or even a mentor)

listen to others and respond to


what others have said in a nonjudgemental way

give sound advice in an effective,


constructive and persuasive way

build trust
others

motivate and empower others to


act

inspire trust and respect in others

be able to build effective teams

involve others without forcing or


cajoling

promote open discussion and


involvement of all participants,
while not dominating

able to facilitate
group interactions

able to delegate effectively

able to gain cooperation


difficult people

and

manage

from

1.5. Persuading Skills

communicate effectively to justify


a position or influence a decision

effective spokesperson; able to


explain goals and activities in a
way appropriate to the audience

with

able to sell products or promote


ideas

able to help others understand


themselves better and to build
self-esteem

effective in lobbying for change

able to help others solve their


problems

and

openness

able to demonstrate empathy

help others to increase


knowledge or skills

be able to negotiate skilfully

know
how
compromise

able to resolve conflicts

help
those
with
opposite
viewpoints
reach
mutual
agreements,
either
through
consensus or compromise

encourage give and take' from


both sides; can persuade others to
agree to disagree if a compromise
position cannot be found

able to deal with conflict in an


open, honest and positive way

their

work and communicate with


others to satisfy their needs and
expectations

able to help others gain knowledge


and skills

able to motivate people to learn


new things and to perform well

able to adjust content and


teaching style to the audience

able to create an effective learning


environment

and

when

2. Thinking Skills

1.4. Leadership Skills

Soft Skills

1.6. Negotiating and Mediation Skills

Page 3

to

2.1. Analytical/Logical Thinking


Skills

able to draw specific conclusions


from a set of general observations
(deductive reasoning)

able to draw general conclusions


from a set of specific facts
(inductive reasoning)

able to interpret data and make


decisions

able to synthesize information and


ideas
2.2. Critical Thinking Skills

able to review different points of


view or ideas and make objective
judgements
able
to
examine
assumptions

Works well in group problem


solving situations; Uses reason
even when dealing with emotional
topics.
2.5. Decision-Making Skills

able to identify all possible


options, weigh the pros and cons,
assess feasibility and choose the
most viable option
2.6. Planning Skills

able to plan projects, events and


programs

able to determine the need for


action

able to lay out a step-by-step


process for achieving a goal

able to establish objectives and


needs, evaluates options, chooses
best option

able
to
analyze
all
the
requirements
(i.e.,
human,
financial and material resources)
to accomplish specific goals

underlying

able to formulate a question,


analyse a problem or define a
situation with clarity, accuracy and
fair-mindedness
investigates all possible solutions
to a problem, weighing the pros
and cons

able to review or develop policy


and programs
2.3. Creative Thinking Skills

able to use imagination and


intuition freely; able to generate
new ideas, invent new things,
create new images or designs; find
new solutions to problems
conceive
new
to
ideas
or

able to clarify the nature of a


problem, evaluate alternatives,
propose viable solutions and
determine the outcome of the
various options

able
to
establish
realistic
timetables and schedules
2.7. Organizational Skills

able to organize information,


people or things in a systematic
way

able to break down an activity into


component tasks and coordinates
resources
(both
human
and
financial);

able
to
interpretations
information

able to design new approaches to


solve problems

assigns appropriate
undertake tasks

able to make connections between


seemingly unrelated things

able to establish priorities and


meet deadlines

able to reshape goals to reveal


new possibilities

able to understand the interrelationship between the parts of a


whole

able to develop
procedures

able to use wit and humour


effectively
2.4. Problem-Solving Skills

Soft Skills

Page 4

or

people

to

streamline

monitors
effectiveness

progress

and

able to compile and understand


financial and other numerical data

able to interpret financial reports


and audited statements
3.4. Language Skills

3. APPLIED/PRACTICAL SKILLS
3.1. Advanced Writing Skills (Can be
taught in class or in 2-3-day workshops)

able to communicate in writing for


maximum impact

able to select, interpret, organize


and synthesize key ideas

able to adjust style, form and


content to a particular audience

able
to
draft
non-routine
correspondence
and
complex
reports

able to write in a creative way for


the general public (e.g. publicity
material)

able to edit a written text to


ensure that the message is as
clear, concise and accurate as
possible

3.2. Research Skills (this aspect is


covered to a certain extent in the final
year dissertation)

able to design research projects

able to define the scope of a topic

able
to
develop
appropriate
methodology and implement a
plan

knows how to find and collect


relevant background information

able to identify people who have


information relevant to the task

knows how to collect and compile


data

able to analyse data, summarize


findings and write a report

attention to detail;
skills
3.3. Financial Skills

observation

able to keep accurate financial


records; manage a budget

Soft Skills

Page 5

competence in languages other


than the one dominant in the
organization

preferably be functionally trilingual


(Sinhala, Tamil and English)
3.5. Advanced Computer Skills

able to use a variety of software


programs

able to learn new software quickly


3.6. Performing Skills

able to make presentations in an


interesting way

able to entertain,
inspire an audience

amuse

able to act, sing or


instrument in public
4. ADAPTABILITY SKILLS

play

and
an

capacity to adapt to new situations


and settings and to tolerate
change well

ability to work in a changing


environment;
tolerance
for
ambiguity

flexibility to adapt to the needs of


the moment

a positive attitude towards change


(this means seeing change as a
challenge and yes, even an
opportunity rather than as a
problem)

Importance of Communication skills


Today
The potential for the employment of
students graduating from professional
colleges is enormous, but one major
handicap which many of them face is
poor communicative ability in English. In
the past, this deficiency may not have
mattered very much because Indias

contacts with the outside world were


restricted and English was mostly used
by Indians to communicate with other
Indians within the country. The contact
between English and the vernacular
languages led to the development of
several kinds of Indian English, which
were easily understood inside the
country
but
not
when
used
to
communicate with people from other
lands. However, following the two recent
phenomena known as liberalization and
globalization, our international contacts
have grown rapidly and more and more
Indian professionals are required to
communicate with foreigners, inside
India as well as abroad. The language of
communication is almost invariably
English. If India is to become a major
player in the worlds economy, more
Indians should be able to communicate
through a kind of international English
which will be understood all over the
world.
Communication as skill
Communication
is
an
activity

something that we do. When we


communicate, we have to perform
various tasks, some of which are fairly
simple. For example, when a child in a
kindergarten class has to inform the
teacher of its need to visit the bathroom,
all that it has to do is to hold up the little
finger of one hand. Most children are
able to do this quite easily. It is less easy,
however, to persuade someone to part
with money. The successful performance
of this task requires a great deal of skill.
How skills are acquired
A skill is defined as the ability to
perform a task. Every human being is
called upon to perform a number of
routine tasks everyday. Some are simple
but others require special skills. A few

Soft Skills

Page 6

skills are inborn that is, human beings


are born with the ability to perform
certain activities ; but most skills have to
be learnt or acquired. For example,
human babies, unlike ducklings, are not
born with the natural ability to swim ;
they have to learn the skills of swimming.
The
role
of
development

practice

in

skill

Skills are acquired through practice. We


develop the ability to perform an activity
by repeatedly making the effort to
perform it. One who wants to learn how
to swim must get into the water and
move his/her arms and legs in a certain
way. Few people are able to swim at the
first attempt ; it takes time, and much
practice, before one is able to master the
skill of swimming.
Practice is required also to develop the
skills of communication. The more
practice
we
give
ourselves
in
communicating, the easier it becomes to
communicate.
KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS

Some skills require a lot of background


knowledge, while little or no knowledge
is required for certain other skills. Very
little knowledge is required, for example,
for the activities of walking or swimming,
so that even babies and small children
are able to walk or swim after some
practice.

Soft
Skills
Communication Skills

and

In todays competitive, global market


environment,
your
success
is
a
combination of your technical skills or
hard skills, and of your soft skills.
Your level of accomplishment and

advancement hinges upon the educated


blending of both of these skills sets.
Soft skills are nontechnical skills such as:
leadership,
verbal
and
written
communication skills, interpersonal skills,
active listening, and motivation. They are
simple, yet complex areas of expertise
that help people to survive and to
succeed both socially and professionally.
Soft skills are transferable to any
position; they do not rely on technical
abilities.
Since soft skills are a part of everyday
business and personal relationships, they
are often taken for granted and/or
overlooked. Frequently, they are not
acknowledged as areas that may require
improvement, until it is too late. Todays
employers are actively seeking those
individuals that they feel will help to
improve their organizations culture and
profitability. More and more corporations
around the world recognize that, in order
to gain a competitive advantage, they
need to make sure their people know
how to handle themselves at work and
how to relate with their customers and
peers.
As an IT support professional, or in any
other profession for that matter, you not
only need to be able to diagnose
computer problems, you also must be
able to effectively communicate the
problem to the user. In their continual
struggle to align IT with the business, IT
executives say they are increasingly
looking for staffers who have, in addition
to technical credentials, strong soft skills.
Clear communication with nontechnical
people
can
help
eliminate
interdepartmental communication barriers,
and increase your productivity.
In addition, the shifting economy and
ever-evolving industry have expanded

Soft Skills

Page 7

job roles, making it essential for the IT


pro to wear many different hats. Aside
from
simply
providing
technical
assistance, support pros may find
themselves taking on the job of
salesperson, manager, or public speaker.
Experts agree that communication is the
most important nontechnical skill for IT
pros to master. Whether its speaking
with a customer, interacting with
coworkers, or drawing a diagram, you
must
use
clear,
understandable
language. Some recruiters believe that
soft skills make the difference between
the candidate who is hired and the
second choice applicant. Employers
today seek flexibility, teamwork and
integrity. They realize that someone who
communicates well and has a strong
work ethic makes a good employee. As a
result, incorporating these skills on your
resume may make the difference
between getting an interview and getting
passed over.
The 7 Cs of Communication
A Checklist for Clear Communication
Learn how to use the
communicate
effectively, in this video.

Cs to
more

Think of how often you communicate


with people during your day. You write
emails, facilitate meetings, participate in
conference calls, create reports, devise
presentations,
debate
with
your
colleagues the list goes on. We can
spend
almost
our
entire
day
communicating.
So, how can we provide a huge boost to
our productivity? We can make sure that
we communicate in the clearest, most
effective way possible.

This is why the 7 Cs of Communication


are helpful. The 7 Cs provide a checklist
for making sure that your meetings ,
emails , conference calls , reports , and
presentations are well constructed and
clear so your audience gets your
message.
According to the 7 Cs, communication
needs to be:
1. Clear.
2. Concise.
3. Concrete.
4. Correct.
5. Coherent.
6. Complete.
7. Courteous.
In this article, we look at each of the 7 Cs
of Communication, and we'll illustrate
each element with both good and bad
examples.
1. Clear When writing or speaking to
someone, be clear about your goal or
message. What is your purpose in
communicating with this person? If
you're not sure, then your audience
won't be sure either.
To be clear, try to minimize the number
of ideas in each sentence. Make sure that
it's easy for your reader to understand
your meaning. People shouldn't have to
"read between the lines" and make
assumptions on their own to understand
what you're trying to say.
2. Concise When you're concise in your
communication, you stick to the point
and keep it brief. Your audience doesn't
want to read six sentences when you
could communicate your message in
three.

Are there any adjectives or "filler


words" that you can delete? You
can often eliminate words like "for
instance," "you see," "definitely,"
"kind of," "literally," "basically," or
"I mean."

Soft Skills

Page 8

Are
there
any
unnecessary
sentences?
Have you repeated the point
several times, in different ways?
3. Concrete When your message is
concrete, then your audience has a clear
picture of what you're telling them. There
are details (but not too many!) and vivid
facts, and there's laser-like focus. Your
message is solid.

4. Correct When your communication is


correct, it fits your audience. And correct
communication
is
also
error-free
communication.
Do the technical terms you use fit
your audience's level of education
or knowledge?
Have you checked your writing
for
grammatical
errors?
Remember, spell checkers won't
catch everything.
Are all names and titles spelled
correctly?
5. Coherent When your communication
is coherent, it's logical. All points are
connected and relevant to the main
topic, and the tone and flow of the text is
consistent.

6. Complete In a complete message,


the audience has everything they need
to be informed and, if applicable, take
action.
Does your message include a "call
to action," so that your audience
clearly knows what you want them
to do?
Have you included all relevant
information contact names,
dates, times, locations, and so on?
7. Courteous Courteous communication
is friendly, open, and honest. There are
no hidden insults or passive-aggressive
tones. You keep your reader's viewpoint
in mind, and you're empathetic to their
needs.

Note:
There are a few variations of the 7 Cs of
Communication:

Credible Does your message


improve
or
highlight
your
credibility ? This is especially
important when communicating
with an audience that doesn't
know much about you.
Creative Does your message
communicate creatively? Creative
communication helps keep your
audience engaged.

Effective Communication
Effective communication helps us better
understand a person or situation and
enables us to resolve differences, build
trust
and
respect,
and
create
environments where creative ideas,
problem solving, affection, and caring
can flourish. As simple as communication
seems, much of what we try to
communicate to othersand what others
try
to
communicate
to
usgets
misunderstood, which can cause conflict
and
frustration
in
personal
and
professional relationships. By learning
these effective communication skills, you
can better connect with your spouse,
kids, friends, and co-workers.

What is effective communication?


In the information age, we have to send,
receive, and process huge numbers of
messages every day. But effective
communication is about more than just
exchanging information; it's also about
understanding the emotion behind the
information. Effective communication
can improve relationships at home, work,
and in social situations by deepening
your
connections
to
others
and
improving teamwork, decision-making,
and problem solving. It enables you to
communicate even negative or difficult
messages without creating conflict or

Soft Skills

Page 9

destroying
trust.
Effective
communication combines a set of skills
including
nonverbal
communication,
attentive listening, the ability to manage
stress in the moment, and the capacity
to recognize and understand your own
emotions and those of the person youre
communicating with.
While effective communication is a
learned skill, it is more effective when its
spontaneous rather than formulaic. A
speech that is read, for example, rarely
has the same impact as a speech thats
delivered (or appears to be delivered)
spontaneously. Of course, it takes time
and effort to develop these skills and
become an effective communicator. The
more effort and practice you put in, the
more instinctive and spontaneous your
communication skills will become.
Effective
Listening

communication

skills:

Listening is one of the most important


aspects of effective communication.
Successful listening means not just
understanding
the
words
or
the
information being communicated, but
also understanding how the speaker feels
about what theyre communicating.
Effective listening can:
Make the speaker feel heard
and understood, which can
help build a stronger, deeper
connection between you.
Create an environment where
everyone feels safe to express
ideas, opinions, and feelings,
or plan and problem solve in
creative ways.
Save time by helping clarify
information, avoid conflicts
and misunderstandings.
Relieve negative emotions.
When emotions are running
high, if the speaker feels that
he or she has been truly

heard, it can help to calm


them down, relieve negative
feelings, and allow for real
understanding
or
problem
solving to begin.
Guidelines for effective listening
If your goal is to fully understand and
connect with the other person, listening
effectively will often come naturally. If it
doesnt, you can remember the following
tips. The more you practice them, the
more satisfying and rewarding your
interactions with others will become.
Focus fully on the speaker, his or her
body language, and other nonverbal
cues. If youre daydreaming, checking
text messages, or doodling, youre
almost certain to miss nonverbal cues in
the conversation. If you find it hard to
concentrate on some speakers, try
repeating their words over in your head
itll reinforce their message and help you
stay focused.
Avoid interrupting or trying to redirect
the conversation to your concerns, by
saying something like, If you think thats
bad, let me tell you what happened to
me. Listening is not the same as waiting
for your turn to talk. You cant
concentrate on what someones saying if
youre forming what youre going to say
next. Often, the speaker can read your
facial expressions and know that your
minds elsewhere.
Avoid seeming judgmental. In order to
communicate effectively with someone,
you dont have to like them or agree with
their ideas, values, or opinions. However,
you do need to set aside your judgment
and withhold blame and criticism in order
to fully understand a person. The most
difficult
communication,
when
successfully executed, can lead to the
most unlikely and profound connection
with someone.

Soft Skills

Page 10

Show your interest in whats being


said. Nod occasionally, smile at the
person, and make sure your posture is
open and inviting. Encourage the speaker
to continue with small verbal comments
like yes or uh huh.
Guidelines for improving how to
deliver nonverbal communication
Use nonverbal signals that match up
with
your
words.
Nonverbal
communication should reinforce what is
being said, not contradict it. If you say
one thing, but your body language says
something else, your listener will likely
feel youre being dishonest. For example,
you cant say yes while shaking your
head no.
Adjust your nonverbal signals
according to the context. The tone of
your voice, for example, should be
different when youre addressing a child
than when youre addressing a group of
adults. Similarly, take into account the
emotional state and cultural background
of the person youre interacting with.
Use body language to convey positive
feelings even when you're not actually
experiencing them. If youre nervous
about a situationa job interview,
important presentation, or first date, for
exampleyou can use positive body
language to signal confidence, even
though youre not feeling it. Instead of
tentatively entering a room with your
head down, eyes averted, and sliding
into a chair, try standing tall with your
shoulders back, smiling and maintaining
eye contact, and delivering a firm
handshake. It will make you feel more
self-confident and help to put the other
person at ease.

Body language

Body
language
refers
to
the
nonverbal signals that we use to
communicate. According to experts,
these nonverbal signals make up a
huge part of daily communication.
From our facial expressions to our
body movements, the things we don't
say can still convey volumes of
information.
According to various researchers,
body language is thought to account
for between 50 to 70 percent of all
communication. Understanding body
language is important, but it is also
essential to remember to note other
cues such as context and to look at
signals as a group rather than
focusing on a single action. Learn
more about some of the things to
look for when you are trying to

interpret body language. Think for a

moment about how much a person is


able to convey with just a facial
expression. A smile can indicate
approval or happiness, while a frown
can
signal
disapproval
or
unhappiness. In some cases, our
facial expressions may reveal our true
feelings about a particular situation.
While you may say that you are
feeling fine, the look on your face
may tell people otherwise.
Facial Expressions
Soft Skills

Page 11

Just a few examples of emotions that


can
be
expressed
via
facial
expressions include:
Happiness
Sadness
Anger
Surprise
Disgust
Fear
Confusion
Excitement
Desire
Contempt
Universal Facial Expressions
Facial expressions are also among the
most universal forms of body
language. The expressions used to
convey fear, anger, sadness, and
happiness are similar throughout the
world. Researcher Paul Ekman has
found support for the universality of a
variety of facial expressions tied to
particular emotions including joy,

anger, fear, surprise, and sadness.

The eyes are frequently referred to as


the "windows to the soul" since they
are capable of revealing a great deal
about what a person if feeling or
thinking.
As
you
engage
in
conversation with another person,
taking note of eye movements is a
natural and important part of the
communication
process.
Some
common things you may note is
whether people are making direct eye
contact or averting their gaze, how
much they are blinking, or if their
pupils are dilated.
When evaluating body language, pay
attention to the follow eye signals:

Eye gaze When a person looks


directly into your eyes when

Soft Skills

Page 12

having
a
conversion,
it
indicates
that
they
are
interested and paying attention.
However,
prolonged
eye
contact can feel threatening.
On the other hand, breaking
eye contact and frequently
looking away may indicate that
the
person
is
distracted,
uncomfortable, or trying to
conceal his or her real feelings.

Blinking Blinking is natural,


but you should also pay
attention to whether a person is
blinking too much or too little.
People often blink more rapidly
when
they
are
feeling
distressed or uncomfortable.
Infrequent
blinking
may
indicate that a person is
intentionally trying to control
his or her eye movements. For
example, a poker player might
blink less frequently because he
is purposely trying to appear
unexcited about the hand he
was dealt.

Pupil size One of the most


subtle cues that eyes provide is
through the size of the pupils.
While light levels in the
environment
control
pupil
dilation, sometimes emotions
can also cause small changes in
pupil size. For example, you
may have heard the phase
"bedroom
eyes"
used
to
describe the look someone
gives when they are attracted
to another person.

Mouth expressions and movements


can also be essential in reading body
language. For example, chewing on
the bottom lip may indicate that the
individual is experiencing worry, fear,
or insecurity.
Covering the mouth may be an effort
to be polite if the person is yawning
or coughing, but it may also be an
attempt to cover up a frown of
disapproval. Smiling is perhaps one of
the greatest body language signals,
but smiles can also be interpreted in
many ways. A smile may be genuine,
or it may be used to express false
happiness,
sarcasm,
or
even
cynicism. When evaluating body
language, pay attention to the
following mouth and lip signals:
Pursed lips Pursed lips might be an
indicator of distaste, disapproval, or
distrust.

Gestures
Gestures can be some of the most
direct and obvious body language
signals. Waving, pointing, and using
the fingers to indicate numerical
amounts are all very common and
easy to understand gestures. Some
gestures may be cultural, however, so
giving a thumbs-up or a peace sign
might have a completely different
meaning than it might in the United
States.
The following examples are just a few
common gestures and their possible
meanings:

A clenched fist can indicate


anger or solidarity.

A thumbs up and thumbs


down are often used as
gestures
of
approval
and
disapproval.

The "Okay" gesture, made by


touching together the thumb
and index finger in a circle
while extending the other three
fingers can be used to mean
okay. In some parts of Europe,
however, the same signal is
used to imply you are nothing.
In
some
South
American
countries,
the
symbol
is
actually a vulgar gesture.

Lip biting People sometimes bite


their lips when they are worried,
anxious, or stressed.
Covering the mouth When people
want to hide an emotional reaction,
they might cover their mouths in
order to avoid displaying a smile.
Turned up or down Slight changes
in the mouth can also be subtle
indicators of what a person is feeling.
When the mouth is slightly turned up,
it might mean that the person is
feeling happy or optimistic. On the
other hand, a slightly downturned
mouth can be an indicator of sadness,
disapproval, or even an outright
grimace.

Soft Skills

Page 13

The V sign created by lifting


the index and middle finger and
separating them to create a Vshape, means peace or victory
in some countries. In the United
Kingdom and Australia, the
symbol takes on an offensive
meaning when the back of the
hand is facing outward.

The Arms and Legs


The arms and legs can also be
useful in conveying nonverbal
information. Crossing the arms can
indicate defensiveness. Crossing
legs away from another person
may indicate dislike or discomfort
with that individual. Other subtle
signals such as expanding the
arms widely may be an attempt to
seem larger or more commanding,
while keeping the arms close to
the body may be an effort to
minimize oneself or withdraw from
attention.

When you are evaluating body


language, pay attention to some of
the following signals that the arms
and legs may convey:

Crossed arms might indicate


that a person is feel defensive,
self-protective, or closed-off.

Soft Skills

Page 14

Standing with hands placed on


the hips can be an indication that
a person is ready and in control, or
it can also possibly be a sign of
aggressiveness.

Clasping the hands behind the


back might indicate that a person
is feeling bored, anxious, or even
angry.

Rapidly tapping fingers or


fidgeting can be a sign that a
person is bored, impatient, or
frustrated.

Crossed legs can indicate that a


person is feeling closed off or in
need of privacy.

Posture
How we hold our bodies can also
serve as an important part of body
language. The term posture refers to
how we hold our bodies as well as
overall physical form of an individual.
Posture can convey a wealth of
information about how a person is
feeling as well as hints about
personality characteristics, such as
whether a person is confident, open,
or submissive.
Sitting up straight, for example, may
indicate that a person is focused and
paying attention to what's going on.
Sitting with the body hunched
forward, on the other hand, can imply
that the person is bored or indifferent.
When you are trying to read body
language, try to notice some of the
signals that a person's posture can
send.

Open
posture
involves
keeping the trunk of the body
open and exposed. This type of
posture indicates friendliness,
openness, and willingness.

Closed
posture
involves
keeping the obscured or hidden
often by hunching forward and
keeping the arms and legs
crossed. This type of posture
can be an indicator of hostility,
unfriendliness, and anxiety.

confidence level and helps in finding better


solutions even in worst case scenarios.
Confidence in turn will help in making the best
use of your own abilities.
Listen with intent: Listening with intent
results in a better understanding of the core
point of what you listen to. Being a better
listener makes the person whom you listen to
feel like they are important to you and in return
they will begin to value you more.
Be good in learning: Always have a curiosity
to learn new things. Learning will keep you
updated in a challenging working environment
and open minded towards accepting new
happenings. At the same time, learning is not
confined only to getting to know about
something which you are not familiar about;
rather it also includes learning from the
mistakes of others and your own.
Body Language (Eye contact, Body Posture,
Hand shake):

Personality development
Personality development is something which is
considered as improving the way we think, feel,
behave and carry ourselves. In other words, it is
not confined to the improvement of a single
aspect of an individual; rather it is about
improving an entity or a cluster of qualities
which helps in achieving and presenting
oneself in a better way. Well, if you are
wondering how to improve your personality,
here are a few tips which could help you
improve your personality.
Positive approach and confidence:
Positive approach and confidence are two
different terms but are interrelated in many
sorts. A positive approach will make one
believe in them and this self belief will help a
lot in achieving a difficult task. Being positive
in whatever you do will skyrocket your
Soft Skills

Page 15

Body language is the way through which you


exhibit your inner personality to others. A
positive body language can work out wonders
in impressing others. Well, to maintain a perfect
body language make sure you connect with the
eyes of the person whom you are conversing to.
It reflects your honesty and boldness.
Maintain an erect body posture which reflects
your energy level, but at the same time dont be
very robotic in moves. Avoid shaking legs and
hands or playing with your pen. It indicates
your disinterest. And finally, dont forget to
give a firm handshake when you greet someone
and while signing off.
Be yourself:

The best thing you can do to yourself is just


being yourself. Though inspirations are good,
trying to turn yourself into a person whom you
admire will have negative effects on you. So,
try not to be like someone else as each and
every individual is unique. It is this originality
which can help in creating a branding for you.
Dress up well:
Dressing up well is one of the most looked-into
aspects in a corporate work culture. In order to
carry yourself in a confident manner, the way
you dress up yourself is important. Try to
maintain a decent and professional look in your
dressing by avoiding striking colors. Make sure
your dress is neatly pressed and most
importantly wear laced shoes. Though proper
dressing alone will not improve your
personality, it has a considerable amount of
impact on it.
Manners:
Manners are the rating scales through which
people rate you as a well behaved and a
respectful human being. Treat your team mates
respectfully and politely. Help your colleagues
in their work if possible which will earn you
their respect off-stage. Cooperativeness and
being considerate in manner are the qualities
that help you in emerging as a Great leader in
the future.
Be encouraging:
In general, we all seek for encouragement of
some kind or the other while getting a work
done. Despite of all our hard efforts, interest
and thirst to prove, it is the encouragement
which acts as an off-stage positive catalyst in
reaching the goal. Your encouraging quality
will help others identify you as a better team
player. So, try to be motivating and encourage
Soft Skills

Page 16

others and for sure youll get plenty of them in


return.
Being social:
Socialize with your colleagues as it will help in
creating an environment in which you can work
comfortably in. Nobody would love a sober or
an expressionless person. Having fun at work
with your colleagues is no harm as it will be a
rejuvenating timeout which will pedal up work
to a more brisk pace. Socializing with people
will help in understanding individuals and turns
you adaptable towards any group.
Indulge in conversations:
General conversations will teach a lot as it
usually involves topics unrelated to your work.
Such conversations are the gateways for
knowledge exchanges. Nobody knows about
everything and so indulge in conversations and
get to know more on what you know the least
or on what is totally new to you. It is also
important to share your own thoughts and
opinions but try not to be too preachy as it
would bore the other involved in the
conversation.

Presentation Skills
Say hello and smile when you
greet the audience: your audience
will probably look at you and smile
back: an instinctive reaction.
Speak clearly, firmly and confidently
as this makes you sound in control.
Don't speak too quickly: you are
likely to speed up and raise the pitch
of your voice when nervous. Give the
audience time to absorb each point.
Don't talk in a monotone the whole
time. Lift your head up and address
your words to someone near the back

of audience. If you think people at the


back can't hear, ask them.
Use silence to emphasise points.
Before you make a key point pause:
this tells the audience that something
important is coming. It's also the
hallmark of a confident speaker as
only these are happy with silences.
Nervous speakers tend to gabble on
trying to fill every little gap.
Keep within the allotted time for
your talk. Eye contact is crucial to
holding the attention of your
audience. Look at everyone in the
audience from time to time, not just
at your notes or at the PowerPoint
slides. Try to involve everyone, not
just those directly in front of you.
Walk around a little and gesture
with your hands. Bad presenters
keep their hands on the podium or in
their pockets! Don't stand in one
place glued to the spot hiding behind
the podium! Good presenters will
walk from side to side and look at
different parts of the audience.
You could try to involve your
audience by asking them a question.
Don't read out your talk, as this
sounds boring and stilted, but refer
to brief notes jotted down on small
(postcard sized) pieces of card. Don't
look at your notes too much as
this suggests insecurity and will
prevent you making eye contact with
the audience.
Its
OK
to
use
humour,
in
moderation, but better to use
anecdotes than to rattle off a string of
jokes.
Take along a wristwatch to help you
keep track of time the assessor may
Soft Skills

Page 17

cut you off as soon as you have used


the time allocated, whether or not
you have finished.
It can be very helpful to practise at
home in front of a mirror. You can
also record your presentation and
play it back to yourself: don't judge
yourself harshly when you replay this
- we always notice our bad points and
not the good when hearing or seeing
a recording or ourselves! Time how
long your talk takes. Run through the
talk a few times with a friend.
It's normal to be a little nervous.
This is a good thing as it will make
you more energised. Many people
have a fear of speaking in public.
Practising will make sure that you are
not too anxious. In your mind,
visualise yourself giving a confident
successful performance. Take a few
deep slow breaths before your talk
starts and make a conscious effort to
speak slowly and clearly. we focus on
our own behaviour more than other
people do and so overestimate it's
impact. This is called the spotlight
effect. If you make a mistake, don't
apologise too much, just briefly
acknowledge
the
mistake
and
continue on.
Build variety into the talk and
break it up into sections: apparently,
the average person has a three
minute attention span!
HAVE A STRUCTURE Have a
beginning, middle and an end. Use
short sentences.
Consider:
Who are the audience?
What points do I want to get
across?

How much time have I got?

What visual aids are available?


Powerpoint
projector?
flip
chart? Don't necessarily use
these. Sometimes the best
presentations are the most
informal.
Introduction

Welcome the audience.

Say what your presentation


will be about: the aims and
objectives.

The introduction should catch


the
attention.
Perhaps
a
provocative statement or a
humorous anecdote:
o Genetically-modified
crops could save millions
of people from starvation
o The first day of my
vacation job went with a
bang, but it wasn't my
fault that the microwave
exploded.

The Middle should outline your


argument or develop your story

In five minutes you will only


have time for two or three
main
points
and
allow
everything else to support
these. List your main headings
and any key phrases you will
use.
Don't try to say pack too
much content in or you will
talk non- stop trying to get all
your content and the audience
will switch off with information
overload long before the end.

Soft Skills

Page 18

Use graphics or anecdotes to


add variety.

Conclusion: Briefly summarise your


main points.

Answer any questions.

Thank the audience for


listening. Look at the audience
again, smile and slow down.

The end should be on a


strong or positive note not
tailing away to ..well that's all
I've got to say so thank you
very much for listening ladies
and gentlemen. You could try
something along these lines:
o Hang-gliding is brilliant,
so try it you'll believe a
man can fly!
o The danger is increasing
if we don't all act soon it
could be too late!

The
above
has
been
neatly
summarised as "Tell them what you
will tell them (introduction), tell them
(development), tell them what you
told them (conclusion)".

Group discussions
Group discussions are very commonly
held in order to evaluate students
personality. A group of participants
are made to discuss on a topic or
subject for a limited time and then
assessed accordingly. It is a chance
for you to be more vocal.
There are a lot of advantages of a
group discussion:

1.
It helps to shed away the
shyness of a candidate and brings his
viewpoint amidst all.
2.
It stimulates
different, new way.

to

think

in

3.
It helps the candidate in
understanding his/ her own strengths
and weaknesses.
4.
It acts as an aid in expansion of
the knowledge of the participant.
5.
It helps to analyse the social or
economic issues more logically.
Not just these, there are various other
advantages to add on to. But, let us
first have a glimpse of how to
perform well in a group discussion.
Here is a list of what should be done
and what should be avoided at a
Group Discussion (GD)
1.
Be as natural as possible. Do
not try to be someone you are not. Be
yourself. In an attempt to be someone
else, your opinions will not be
portrayed.
2.
Sit with a straight and confident
posture.
3.
Be assertive yet humble. You
need to stick to your values and
beliefs, but learn to respect the
values and opinions of others too.
4.
Grab the opportunity to speak
first, i.e. to start the group discussion
with your opinion. It generally leaves
a good impression on the evaluator,
but take the move only if you have
complete knowledge of the subject.
5.
Do not repeat a point, or be
lengthy or irrelevant. Also intervene,
Soft Skills

Page 19

if someone else is going on an


irrelevant track.
6.
Facilitate
contribution
from
others. Do not just go on and on and
on with only your opinionated view.
Remember, it is a group discussion.
Allow others to speak too.
7.
Make an eye contact with all
the participants. It creates more room
for conversation. Also keep nodding,
when
others
speak,
it
shows
receptivity.
8.
Be an active and dynamic
participant. The examiner wants to
hear you speak. So do put forth your
views.
9.
Be positive and prepare your
thoughts well but do not be overconfident.
10. Think well before you speak.
You are being heard and judged
upon.
11. When raising an objection to a
point kept by another speaker, back it
up with a solid reason to get the point
across.
12. Use quotes, facts and figures,
statements, everyday life examples
to express a clear chain of thoughts.
Also it might leave a good impression
on the examiner and help you score
well.
These are some basic yet very vital
tips that will help you feel a bit more
confident about yourself and make
you ready to appear for that group
discussion trend.

Team Skills

If you were choosing team members


for a business team in your
organization, who would the best
team players be? Assuming that
people have the right technical skills
for the work to be done, what other
factors would you use to select your
team members?
Teams need strong team players to
perform well. But what defines such
people? Read on.

solving, team members need the


discipline to listen first and speak
second so that meaningful dialogue
results.
Functions as an active participant
Good team players are active
participants. They come prepared for
team meetings and listen and speak
up in discussions. They're fully
engaged in the work of the team and
do not sit passively on the sidelines.

Demonstrates reliability
You can count on a reliable team
member who gets work done and
does his fair share to work hard and
meet commitments. He or she follows
through on assignments. Consistency
is key. You can count on him or her to
deliver good performance all the
time, not just some of the time.
Communicates constructively
Teams need people who speak up and
express their thoughts and ideas
clearly, directly, honestly, and with
respect for others and for the work of
the team. That's what it means to
communicate constructively. Such a
team member does not shy away
from making a point but makes it in
the best way possible in a positive,
confident, and respectful manner.
Listens actively
Good listeners are essential for teams
to function effectively. Teams need
team players who can absorb,
understand, and consider ideas and
points of view from other people
without debating and arguing every
point. Such a team member also can
receive criticism without reacting
defensively. Most important, for
effective communication and problem
Soft Skills

Page 20

Team members who function as


active participants take the initiative
to help make things happen, and they
volunteer for assignments. Their
whole approach is can-do: "What
contribution can I make to help the
team achieve success?"
Shares openly and willingly
Good team players share. They're
willing
to
share
information,
knowledge, and experience. They
take the initiative to keep other team
members informed.
Much of the communication within
teams takes place informally. Beyond
discussion at organized meetings,
team
members
need
to
feel
comfortable talking with one another
and passing along important news
and information day-to-day. Good
team players are active in this
informal sharing. They keep other
team members in the loop with
information and expertise that helps
get the job done and prevents
surprises.
Cooperates and pitches in to help
Cooperation is the act of working with
others and acting together to
accomplish a job. Effective team

players work this way by second


nature. Good team players, despite
differences they may have with other
team members concerning style and
perspective, figure out ways to work
together to solve problems and get
work done. They respond to requests
for assistance and take the initiative
to offer help.
Exhibits flexibility
Teams often deal with changing
conditions and often create
changes themselves. Good team
players roll with the punches; they
adapt to ever-changing situations.
They don't complain or get stressed
out because something new is being
tried or some new direction is being
set.
In addition, a flexible team member
can consider different points of views
and compromise when needed. He or
she doesn't hold rigidly to a point of
view and argue it to death, especially
when the team needs to move
forward to make a decision or get
something done. Strong team players
are firm in their thoughts yet open to
what others have to offer flexibility
at its best.
Shows commitment to the team
Strong team players care about their
work, the team, and the team's work.
They show up every day with this
care and commitment up front. They
want to give a good effort, and they
want other team members to do the
same.
Works as a problem-solver
Teams, of course, deal with problems.
Sometimes, it appears, that's the
whole reason why a team is created
Soft Skills

Page 21

to address problems. Good team


players are willing to deal with all
kinds of problems in a solutionsoriented manner. They're problemsolvers,
not
problem-dwellers,
problem-blamers,
or
problemavoiders. They don't simply rehash a
problem the way problem-dwellers
do. They don't look for others to fault,
as the blamers do. And they don't put
off dealing with issues, the way
avoiders do.
Team players get problems out in the
open for
discussion and then
collaborate with others to find
solutions and form action plans.
Treats others in a respectful and
supportive manner
Team players treat fellow team
members
with
courtesy
and
consideration not just some of the
time but consistently. In addition,
they show understanding and the
appropriate support of other team
members to help get the job done.
They don't place conditions on when
they'll provide assistance, when
they'll choose to listen, and when
they'll share information. Good team
players also have a sense of humor
and know how to have fun (and all
teams can use a bit of both), but they
don't have fun at someone else's
expense. Quite simply, effective team
players deal with other people in a
professional manner.

Leadership Skills
"Inventories can be managed, but
people must be led."
- G. Ross Perot
Here are the
leadership:

tips

for

good

Focus on the big picture


Understand how the work your team
performs fits into the productivity,
image and overall success of the
company. Plan long-term strategies
for your department and
communicate them to superiors and
staff members. Set realistic and
measurable individual and team
goals, and communicate your
expectations in the context of the big
picture.
Be ambitious
Being ambitious doesn't have to
mean being cut throat and
aggressive. Use your ambition wisely.
You shouldn't climb the corporate
ladder by stepping on other people.
Know where you want to go in your
career, and accept opportunities and
challenges. Groom potential
successors. If you're seen as
irreplaceable in your particular
position, you will not be promoted.
Know yourself
Recognize your strengths and work
on your weaknesses. Never be afraid
of asking questions or taking
additional training. You don't need to
know everything or be the best. If
you're weak on detail work, make
sure you have people on your team
who excel in that. Surround yourself
with people who make the company
look good, not "yes men" who only
say what they think you want to hear.
Be decisive
Plan for the unexpected and nothing
will surprise you. If you've thought of
the things that could go wrong with a
project, you'll be able to make
confident decisions on corrective
action when necessary.
Control stress
If you feel you have to control
Soft Skills

Page 22

something, control your stress level.


As the old saying goes: "Never let
them see you sweat." Have
confidence in yourself and you'll
inspire others to have confidence in
you.
Accept criticism
Demonstrate your self-confidence by
accepting other people's negative
comments without becoming
defensive, arrogant or submissive.
Look for something useful and
constructive in any criticism and
thank the person. Show your
professionalism and maturity.

Interview Tips
Even the smartest and most qualified
job seekers need to prepare for job
interviews. Why, you ask?
Interviewing is a learned skill, and
there are no second chances to make
a great first impression. So study
these 10 strategies to enhance your
interview skills.
Practice Good Nonverbal
Communication
It's about demonstrating confidence:
standing straight, making eye contact
and connecting with a firm
handshake. That first nonverbal
impression can be a great beginning
-- or quick ending -- to your interview.
Dress for the Job or Company
Today's casual dress codes do not
give you permission to dress as
"they" do when you interview. It is
important to know what to wear to an
interview and to be well-groomed.
Whether you wear a suit or
something less formal depends on
the company culture and the position

you are seeking. If possible, call to


find out about the company dress
code before the interview.
Listen

inappropriate slang words or


references to age, race, religion,
politics or sexual orientation -- these
topics could send you out the door
very quickly.

From the very beginning of the


interview, your interviewer is giving
you information, either directly or
indirectly. If you are not hearing it,
you are missing a major opportunity.
Good communication skills include
listening and letting the person know
you heard what was said. Observe
your interviewer, and match that
style and pace.

Don't Be Overconfident

Don't Talk Too Much

Take Care to Answer the


Questions

Attitude plays a key role in your


interview success. There is a fine
balance between confidence,
professionalism and modesty. Even if
you're putting on a performance to
demonstrate your ability,
overconfidence is as bad, if not
worse, as being too reserved.

Telling the interviewer more than he


needs to know could be a fatal
mistake. When you have not prepared
ahead of time, you may ramble when
answering interview questions,
sometimes talking yourself right out
of the job. Prepare for the interview
by reading through the job posting,
matching your skills with the
position's requirements and relating
only that information.

When interviewers ask for an


example of a time when you did
something, they are asking
behavioral interview questions, which
are designed to elicit a sample of
your past behavior. If you fail to relate
a specific example, you not only don't
answer the question, but you also
miss an opportunity to prove your
ability and talk about your skills.

Don't Be Too Familiar

Ask Questions

The interview is a professional


meeting to talk business. This is not
about making a new friend. Your level
of familiarity should mimic the
interviewer's demeanor. It is
important to bring energy and
enthusiasm to the interview and to
ask questions, but do not overstep
your place as a candidate looking for
a job.

When asked if they have any


questions, most candidates answer,
"No." Wrong answer. Part of knowing
how to interview is being ready to ask
questions that demonstrate an
interest in what goes on in the
company. Asking questions also gives
you the opportunity to find out if this
is the right place for you. The best
questions come from listening to
what you're asked during the
interview and asking for additional
information.

Use Appropriate Language


It's a given that you should use
professional language during the
interview. Be aware of any
Soft Skills

Don't Appear Desperate

Page 23

When you interview with the "please,


please hire me" approach, you appear
desperate and less confident. Reflect
the three Cs during the interview:
cool, calm and confidence. You know
you can do the job; make sure the
interviewer believes you can, too.

Types of resumes

career transition, are a recent college


grad with limited work experience, or
have a diverse background with no clear
career path, this is the most effective
type of resume.
Combination Resume:

What is it - Combination resumes let


you detail both your skills and
experience, while also backing this up
with a chronological listing of work
history. Flexible in nature, the
combination resume lets you tailor to
the prospective job opening and tell
hiring managers a story.

Who should use - Use this resume if


you want to detail work experience to
show hiring managers the type of
employee you are.

There are three common resume formats:


chronological, functional, and combination.
Depending on the type of job you are applying to,
different resume formats may apply. The four
standard types of resumes include 1) chronological,
2) functional, 3) combination, or 4) targeted. Below
are definitions of each type and recommendations
on which format works best.

Chronological:

What is it - Chronological resumes are


the most commonly used format. They
list work history in chronological order,
starting with your most recent job down
to your earliest. This resume is
preferred by most employers because it
provides a quick snapshot of work
history, with most recent positions up
front.
Who should use - If you have a solid
work history, your experience is aligned
with the job you are applying to, and
you have no lapses between
employment, use this format

Functional Resume:

What is it - Unlike chronological


resumes, functional resumes focus on
your skills and experience first. This
type of resume de-emphasizes the dates
in which you have worked.
Employment history is secondary, and
is listed under the details of your skills.

Who should use - If you have lapses in


employment, are in the middle of a

Soft Skills

Page 24

Targeted Resume:

What is it - Targeted resumes are


customized in detail to the prospective
job you are seeking. Everything from
your objective, your qualifications to
educational experience mirrors the job
requirements.

Who should use - These resumes are


the most time-consuming, but can
generate the best results as the
qualifications and experience you
outline mirror the prospective job
opening closely. Be careful, however
When you develop a targeted resume
you need to be as accurate as possible
and not embellish career highlights
simply to mirror the job.

Soft Skills

Page 25

Soft Skills

Page 26

Functional Resume

Soft Skills

Page 27

Soft Skills

Page 28

Soft Skills

Page 29

Soft Skills

Page 30

GOOD LUCK

Soft Skills

Page 31