You might have come across a term "soft skills" recently. Either in the news, job applications, or even your company newsletter. The importance of soft skills has been steadily rising since the past few years. Now companies are looking for professionals not only with proficient technical skills and high educational qualifications, soft skills has also become a requirement.

What Are Soft Skills?

Simply speaking, soft skills is the ability to convey your message to others effectively. So essentially, soft skills is all about your communication - verbal and non-verbal. To better describe it, consider soft skills as a package of:

Business Etiquette - Knowing how to behave at your workplace, with your colleagues, seniors, juniors, in a team, outside your workplace. Your attitude at your workplace. Your time management at work. How you handle pressure. And so on.

Verbal Communication - How to speak to your seniors, juniors, colleagues, customers, leads, etc. How to give a presentation. How to negotiate at work. And so on.

Non-Verbal Communication - Being conscious about your body language. Following your office dress code. Getting to work on time.

Written Communication - How to write proposals, letters, reports, requests, orders, memos, negotiations, etc. How to socially network online for work. And so on.

There is, of course, much more to soft skills. With the increase in competition to grab a job, and even to hold onto a job, you need super soft skills, as much as technical or job-related skills.

Do Your Really Need Soft Skills?

To be fair, soft skills are usually ingrown in most of you. You just have to realize your abilities, and use them for your benefit. And the best way to understand what you're capable of, and what potentially are your weaknesses, take help from your near ones - family and close friends.

Some of the questions you can ask yourself, or invite others' feedback on are:

# How do you handle pressure? Can you remain calm while facing challenges, or do you run for cover, or even worse, start lashing out at people around you?

# How do you handle criticism? Do you try to see the constructive side of the argument, or view criticism as a personal attack?

# How do you handle praise? Do you blindly believe what you love to hear, handle praise modestly, or get suspicious why someone is praising you at all?

# Do you like to work in a team, or as a lone player?

# Are you willing to accept advice about your work skills, etc.?

# How often do you lose your temper?

These are some pretty important questions to evaluate your level of soft skills. You can start working on your weakness on your own, or you can go in for soft skills training. Most companies nowadays are willing to pay for soft skills training for their employees. Find out if your company is one of them.

In conclusion, I'd like to stress how important soft skills is for your professional development. Again, soft skills is not something out of the blue. It's those communication skills and common sense you already have. It's just a matter of cultivating the right soft skills to push yourself in the right direction for success at work.

Author's Bio: 

Ankitaa offers business image consulting solutions to help you become more successful at work.

Try out the free soft skills consultation to find out what level of soft skills training you would require to excel at your job.