have been facing different challenges in different stages throughout
our academic, social and work lives. All these will be either the “Soft”
or “Hard” skills which will govern our success in either areas we
pursue. In order to achieve success, we shouldn’t be concentrating on
the “HARD” skills alone which we describe as your “Technical” skills in
your own domain expert areas. We will need to build on our “SOFT”
skills. The questions that we need to ask ourselves are “What are the
Pros and Cons of Soft vs Hard Skills or vice versa?” and “Which is more
important?” How do we unleash our inner Soft Skills Strength in any
The followings are some and not limited to areas that I
found more appropriate for further discussions for anyone who wish to
build on their Soft Skills which will be complimenting their Hard Skills
in the Business and Social World!
- Customer Assessment skills (Mentality and Reaction)
- “Need Vs Want” Thought Analysis skills
- “Cause and Effect” Impact Analysis skills
- Mental Vs Physical Observation skills
- “Listen, Digest and Query” skills
- Team Building skills
- “Share” vs “Take” skills
All the above are some
ingredients or points that I have experienced throughout my Social and
Business work arena. So, this doesn’t contribute to the full range of
Soft Skills that most people understand. Instead, these are the areas
that I believe we need to build on as foundation towards greater
“Hard” skills can be obtained through a series of
structured in-class or online lecturing and tutoring. Whereas “Soft”
skills learning and sharpening, on the other hand, are not that straight
forward. You will have to undergo a series of interaction and scenarios
to fully understand how each areas will have impact on the end result.
To fully maximise the above, we have to first understand ourselves in
terms of our inner natural personality and characters. How do we
leverage on the following to be more successful.
1. Customer Assessment skills (Mentality and Reaction)
one may have already been in this position before one way or the other
but how many of you really understand what exactly is the Customer’s
mentality and reaction towards certain engagement? Why is there an
co-relation between a customer and supplier relationship? An individual
can be a customer at one end and also a supplier on the other hand, this
is so if we are an intermediary business who rely on suppliers for
their products to fulfill our production and sell it to our customers
(end products consumption).
So, how would you be able to assess a
customer’s request and mentality? This can be accomplished or fulfilled
through the fostering of an interactive conversation with the customers
in the following areas:
- Learn to interact efficiently with Q & A
- Gather information with proper data capture
- Understanding the input and output results of the customer business activities
- How would the customer requires your assistance?
- What are the Critical Success Factor (CSF) and Key Performance Indicator (KPI) from the customer viewpoint?
- Demand and Supply model
- Need basis with Value-added services
summary, If you are able to gather the above points, you will be able to
understand how the customer’s requirements and NEEDs instead of WANTs
be fulfilled for a long-term Value-Added services. This will be
discussed in the next section.
2. “Needs Vs Want” Thought Analysis Skills
are the differences between the two and their final end results? How
will this factor impact your long-term relationships with your customers
(either external or internal). Through my past observation and
experiences, “Want” thought is usually arises from the Human nature and
desires! This is not a long-term requirements as this will only arise
due to some of the following factors.
- Peer pressure
- Environment, Social and Technological advancement
- Internal physical and mental desire
- Product Evolution
I have only list the above
factors that I have faced and encountered from my past experiences. The
above may not be the final factors that affects the human nature and
desires for the “Want” thought. Please bear in mind that it is not in
any order of importance. Instead if you do understand this, it will
definitely help you in analyse situation. This is an area that is not
very straight forward as individual may or may not even know what is
their “needs” or what do they “want”? That’s the obstacles that everyone
has to overcome and clear the path. Until that time, you will probably
be satisfying your customers through the “Want” instead of the long-term
In summary, “Needs” are long-term requirements that
will build Value-Added services towards achieving certain objectives
such as Cost Control, Cost Savings, Profit leaping, etc. Meanwhile, the
“Want” will only be able to satisfy the short-term and unrealistic value
that may not even impact anything except the human desire nature.
3. “Cause and Effect” Impact Analysis Skills
may seem that this may not have any great impact for the success of
individual utilizing their own inner Soft Skills in the Social and
Business world. But I strongly believe on this and I have already faced a
couple of scenarios which have hinder the progress of certain assigned
Let’s look at how “Cause” can have certain “Effect” on
Customer / Supplier relationships. In this universe, we are always
surrounded with the “Cause” and “Effect” results which not many of you
may have encountered during this lifetime but it will most likely happen
in the business world. If you do not understand or have mistaken the
“Needs” of the customer, the “Effect” will multiply when you are about
to deliver the end products or results.
The worst scenarios will
probably a total rejection from the customers and this in turn will have
a very great impact on the company’s profit and loss margin. Therefore,
in order not to fall into this trap. You will have to look further into
your inner Soft Skill to assist you in determining the “Needs” and the
impact on this. Please bear in mind, this is not just 1 factor that may
affect the overall result but without proper TEAM work will also lead to
the negative results.
In summary, “Cause” will always lead to
the direct “Effect” on the end results. It may be a very huge impact if
this is not handled cautiously through proper Tracking and Analysis
work. In order to achieve this and also unleash your strength within,
nobody will be more successful with the cohesiveness of TEAM effort!
4. Mental Vs Physical Observation Skills
of you may be wondering why is “Mental” and “Physical” Observation
skills are also part of the Soft Skills in my context. You may also be
wondering how will Mental observation being carried out during the
social and business interaction session. Why is Mental observation is
more accurate than physical observation skills? This will definitely
bring us back the “Need” and “Want” though analysis skills. We did say
that “Need” is more a long-term requirements than “Want” which is only a
human nature desire on a very short-term basis.
So, Mental will
probably be working hand in hand with the “Need” analysis technique
which will provide an insight understanding of what exactly the other
party’s “Need” in the long-term requirements. But not every individual
will be able to exercise this skill unless you are fully aware of how
exactly Mental Observation skills work?
Mental in itself means
nothing but it you coupled with the “Need” analytical skills to gather
information, you will be able to outweigh the “Physical” observation
results. But there are incidents or situation that prohibit you from
maximizing or exercising the former skill. I have only managed to master
this skill through extensive Social networking and interaction with
people. Not just interaction but gathering and analyzing on each
individual’s “Need” Vs “Want”. This can be done through the series of
points listed in the sub-heading of “Need” Vs “Want” Thought Analysis
Skills. This skill will need to be sharpened through full interaction
with others and not through any books or article which explains the
In summary, Mental Observation skill doesn’t stand
out by itself but will require coupling with the “Need” Analysis skill
in order to fulfill the end results. This is targeting on the long-term
requirements of the customers.
5. “Listen, Digest and Query” Skills
are many times when I was involved in the group conference calls or
meetings in either the business or the social work environment, I always
faced with different categories of associates, staff or team members.
Some may be very involved in asking a lot of questions, some may be
providing a lot of explanation or answers and some even just quietly sit
through the entire session without anybody notice his / her existence.
it may not be very effective if you are always the person who is the
Inquirer, the Speaker or the Listener. The worst thing will be the last
category which will be the “ALL YES” group of audience. As this group
will just accept anything along the way but back out when things not in
favour of the right directions. So, in order to provide or unleash this,
you will definitely need to learn the “Listen, Digest and Query” skills
which allow you to capture all requirements at the fullest.
you have exercise the “Listen” technique, you will be able to listen and
capture the right information for the right decision to be made at the
later stage! When you have managed this part, the “Digest” portion is
where you will analyze and evaluate the captured information before next
level of confirmation. If during this time, any uncertainties arises,
you will be able to “Query” more on the presented information and
clarify on the accuracy of it. Most of the time, a lot of people will
just jump into final conclusion after the “Digest” level which may or
may not have unexpected uncertainties which may surface later.
summary, “Listen, Digest and Query” should be exercised at all times
whether are you in a Social gathering or the Business meetings. This
will definitely eliminate any unwanted conflicts at the later stage and
foster a better relationships in a long-term basis.
6. Team Building Skills
my entire years either in the Social, Volunteer or Career arena, I
truly believe that nobody can survive in a “Lone Ranger” mentality or
world! Everyone needs everyone to fulfill the main goals or end result.
Just like a building can only be constructed with a team of expertise,
without any of these expertise, we will not be able to have a complete
standing building to work or live in.
Therefore, we will need to
ensure that we have already learned to blend into any teams to work
together to achieve the common goals. This skill is not like any other
soft skills, it can be taught and mentored through a series of guidance.
It all depends on individual’s acceptance level in terms of their
achievements through mentorship. Working in teams will also provide a
full advantage of the right assignments carried out by the right
expertise at the highest level of confidence and end results.
please bear in mind that all humans need team to survive or achieve
certain goals or objectives. During this team building you will also
learn to exercise the “Share” instead of the “Take” mentality. In my
context of “Sharing” means voluntarily provide your expertise and teach
or guide others who wish to learn and excel towards their goals! This
kind of act will be regarded as “Contributor” attitude towards any
individual and will achieve greater heights. But not all individuals
have the ability to share their knowledge or anything as it all depends
on individual capacity or experiences or exposure towards the
achievements. Some individuals will only be “taking” most of the inputs
which will make them as “Doers” rather than “Achievers” or “Leaders”.
summary, “Share” is always good for building a strong team who will in
turn assist you in any manner to achieve anything that you have set
forth. By “Sharing” you are also mentoring or guiding younger achievers
towards greater heights in their endeavours.
7. “Share” Vs “Take” Skills
the earlier section, I have mentioned about the differences between the
“Share” Vs “Take” skills. Let’s now look at it in more detail.
are people who may think that “why should I share so much?” and “What
if I am overtaken by sharing too much?” and “What if I lose my job or
become outdated after sharing my knowledge?” If you have any of this
mentality or queries, then you may not even know the nature of “Sharing”
and how it attracts similar forces or category of personality.
you start your undivided sharing, you are already elevated to the next
level which is the mentor. At this level, you have already achieved
certain level of accomplishment in your skill sets! It is at this level,
when you share, you will also build on new knowledge from other people.
My principle and experiences already told me that with more sharing,
you gain more in terms of your expertise knowledge. This is the law of
energy and synergy where each parties in the group will be of the same
qualities and mentality.
In fact, I will not forgo the fact that
there are a lot of people who are what I termed as “Taker” who only
takes in what other people’s sharing. They may or may not be in the
upper hand as they will ultimately obsolete from the sharing group after
realizing the zero contributing factor by this group. So, if we wish to
excel in the world in any form, let’s not be too controlled over your
sharing what you know and what you have learnt. If you are able to open
your height and mind on this, positive results will also waiting for the
In summary, “Sharing” is an act of virtue and
mentorship without any intentions of any expectations of returns from
anyone! It will be the most generous part of your heart and it will
build a stronger and better relationships from anyone who comes into
your path either Social, Volunteer or Career world.
above are based on my past experiences and also lesson learnt through
the Social, Volunteering, Career and also Business world environment! I
am sharing this is to provide some insight to all of you on how you can
unleash your inner Soft Skills to achieve greater heights in life. I did
not cover all the skill sets as I feel that the above are the possible
core ingredients that we should be working on before moving on to other
skill sets. If you feel that, there are missing elements in the article,
please do let me know and I am more than willing to discuss or explore
further with you. I do wish that you have enjoyed the article and feel
free to provide your feedback or comments (if any) so that I can improve
myself further. My principle is to share as much as I can and learn as
much as I can from anyone with the same level of interest.
Richard has very extensive experiences, in-depth knowledge,
formidable execution capability and access to international professional
contacts. He has excelled in the area of Security Risk, Risk Assessment
and Management, Business Engagement (Stakeholders and Project
Delivery), IT Management, IT Project Management, IT Service Management,
Change Management, IT / Business Transformation Delivery, Vendor
Management, Service Delivery and IT Consulting Services.