Business Skills

Business Skills

Business Skills

Business skills, or also known as soft skills, are an essential part of improving one’s ability to work with others and can have a positive influence on furthering your career. Honing your abilities to resolve conflicts, solve problems, and provide excellent customer service can lead to stronger relationships with colleagues, vendors, and other professional contacts. Ultimately, strong soft skills can help you gain confidence—an invaluable trait in the business world. We provide tailored training that address specific needs such as business etiquette, creating and delivering effective presentations, managing interpersonal relationships, and many more. Improve your skills with one of our upcoming engaging workshops.

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Beyond the Software, Why Soft Skills Matter

By Becky Anzalone

It's an old stereotype that IT professionals are "hard" and "rough", but it's one that persists. Many people think IT is all about technical skills and not much else, which isn't true. In fact, soft skills are just as crucial for IT professionals as they are for anyone else. The truth is that how we communicate with other people matters—whether we're talking to our colleagues or clients or partners—and it can make or break our chances of success in whatever we do. So here's why soft skills matter more than you might think: 

Technology doesn't communicate feelings.

There are many soft skills that technology cannot replace. It doesn't matter if you're communicating with a person or a computer, the same rules apply. In fact, technology can make some of these skills more important than ever. The reason is that people often interact via email and text messages, which means that emotions aren't always being felt in real time. Without facial expressions and body language to help convey feelings, it becomes even more important for professionals to be able to read them from others through written communication as well as spoken words.

Interpersonal communication is still important.

Communication is key whether you're working with a team of developers or simply trying to coordinate with your boss on which project to prioritize. While software development can be an introverted profession, it’s important that you learn how to interact with people effectively. This means more than just being able to write clear emails and make PowerPoint presentations—it means understanding how your own personality affects the way others perceive you and adapting accordingly. It also means knowing how other people work and what they value most at work so that you can adjust your approach when necessary.

That said, there are some universal rules for communicating effectively: listen actively instead of passively; ask questions instead of making assumptions; and be assertive rather than passive-aggressive or aggressive-aggressive (think: "I don't know" vs "It's not my job").

Your body language gives you away.

Your body language is the most obvious way to give yourself away, even over a video call. If you're anxious, nervous, or stressed, it'll show in your posture and gestures. Take a moment to assess how you're sitting or standing: are your shoulders hunched? Are you fidgeting? Do any of these things apply?

  • Your palms are sweaty and clammy

  • Your head is tilted downward

  • You have a downward tilt to your smile

  • Your voice has a higher pitch than normal (which might be hard for other people to hear)

If so, chances are good that others can tell something's up just from looking at you—and it's even more likely that those feelings will spread once they hear how tense and uncomfortable you sound as well! Luckily there's an easy fix: try taking some deep breaths before going into a meeting or engaging with another person. This will help relax your body while keeping everything else calm as well—so if anything goes wrong during the conversation/meeting/whatever else it is (think networking event), then everyone else will still be able to see how cool-headed and collected [you] really were during all this chaos.

The fewer words, the better.

Don't waste your time and energy on long, drawn-out sentences. The shorter you can make a message, the easier it will be for your team members to understand what you're trying to say. Use bullet points when possible and emojis (or emoticons) when appropriate.

When you can, connecting in person is best.

  • In-person communication is the most effective way to connect with others. 

  • Face-to-face meetings allow you to establish rapport faster and more effectively than other forms of communication. You can see and hear each other, read body language, facial expressions, and other nonverbal cues that help you understand what the other person is thinking. Some people may think this is a waste of time since we have digital tools like email and instant messaging that allow us to communicate instantly from anywhere in the world at any time. However, these tools cannot replace face-to-face discussions because they lack nonverbal communication cues such as voice tone or gestures which are necessary for effective communication between human beings.

  • Video conferencing tools have been closing this gap. However, if you are trying to establish new relationships in person is still best. 

IT is a great place to start improving your soft skills.

There are many opportunities to learn and practice soft skills in IT, including training, mentoring, and on the job. You can also improve your soft skills by reading books and articles (like this one) on the subject. At The Computer Workshop, we have many business skills and management classes to choose from!
View Our Soft Skill Courses

Soft skills are just as important for IT professionals as for anyone else, even though we're thought of as being more "hard" than "soft". If you want to be successful in your career and stand out from the crowd, you need to develop these soft skills.

The Computer Workshop can help you or your team communicate better! Call or email us to speak with one of our Education Specialist today.