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Soft Skills Expand / Collapse
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Posted Friday, July 18, 2008 5:19 AM
Old Hand

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I think that the best 'soft' skills teacher is the book 'How to win friends and influence people' by Dale Carnegie. This book should be read once a year. Also for speaking, there are Dale Carnegie courses and books for public speaking.
Post #536639
Posted Friday, July 18, 2008 5:21 AM
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as I mentioned it's more to do with peoples opinion of what soft skills are and the lack of confidence in organizations that causes people to be angered by the truth.
Post #536641
Posted Friday, July 18, 2008 6:02 AM
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I wouldn't say I actively seek out training resources for soft skills, but I've been fortunate enough to take a couple of courses where I work. When soft skills such as business writing (emails and communication focus), negotiations (Read 'Getting to Yes' - a very good resource), or other customer service related courses are offered, I will sign up.

It's been a few years since my last soft-skills class, but the information has stayed with me, and continues to shape my communications both with coworkers, managers, and internal customers.

Coming out of college, you tend to think you know everything, and that IT professionals should behave like "Nick Burns, Your Company's Computer Guy" - Jimmy Fallon on SNL. After a few nasty email battles and failed attempts to get results from other software vendors, my manager recommended these soft skills classes, as they became available. The whole world has opened up for me since then, and I have found soft skills to be every bit as important as the IT training that I've received over the years.
Post #536677
Posted Friday, July 18, 2008 6:06 AM


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Soft skills... Soft skills....

OH! I know. That's when you use wrist locks and grapple into submission holds rather than smash their face flat and kick their naughty bits up between their ears... Yeah, I've got those. No problem.

Jeff, they made me take ALL the weapons home. How do you rate a bat?

But on a (slightly) more serious note, it is hard for some of us to polish our soft skills. I can make two suggestions. Talk to a manager/mentor/leader that you like and respect and find out how he/she does it. I found one book really interesting on this topic just this year. It's called Becoming A Technical Leader by Gerald Weinberg. Worth a read.

Now, back to more important topics... Would a jo... uh, I mean, walking stick, yeah, a walking stick, be OK?


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Post #536684
Posted Friday, July 18, 2008 6:18 AM


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Sock with a roll of quaters - cos people are scared of change :D

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Post #536692
Posted Friday, July 18, 2008 6:23 AM
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umailedit (7/18/2008)
I think that the best 'soft' skills teacher is the book 'How to win friends and influence people' by Dale Carnegie. This book should be read once a year. Also for speaking, there are Dale Carnegie courses and books for public speaking.


Thank you - this is the best book I've ever read. Like you said, I try to re-read it every so often. The first time I read it, I went into work and experimented with some of what Carnegie said. He's right - people think you are the best conversationalist when you never say a word!!!
Post #536694
Posted Friday, July 18, 2008 6:59 AM
Grasshopper

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I was appalled and infuriated when my manager suggested that I should improve my communication skills. He sent me to a community college course called "Mastering you people skills". After taking this course and doing some research, I learned about the term "emotional intelligence" and realized that I don't have any. Bought a book "Communications for the dummies",of course, and some tapes. Took emotional intelligence 101 (online of course) offered by our "mother" company.
After getting thru the basics started to observe and summarize the behavior patterns of my fellow software developers. Talked to some HR people and realized - we are different!!!!! They cannot me like me and I cannot be like them. However, we all need to get along and, especially, learn how to handle the conflicts. I wish I learned about it long time ago. Live and learn. I am woman, 50+ by the way, if you are wondering, and I am a queen of nerds.
Post #536723
Posted Friday, July 18, 2008 7:31 AM


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I would say that I do a combination of learning through training and experience with an emphasis on experience. People who know me would find this hard to believe, but I have been offered a couple of jobs because I came across as having good people skills when I interviewed. It has also helped me that I my education was in teaching and I have had opportunities through church involvement to speak in front of people. The main thing for me has been being able to take constructive criticism from my wife. She has very good soft skills and I have picked up little things like instead of saying "I know the right way to do it", you would say, "I know a better way". It doesn't seem like much, but it does work.



Jack Corbett

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Post #536765
Posted Friday, July 18, 2008 7:36 AM
Grasshopper

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Discussions about the 'truth' tend to get sensitive especially if one practices the use of truths in one's daily work. These discussions can also get heated when different personalities and egos get in the way.

The key is whether or not we choose to use tact.

Here's a simple lesson in sociology and communication I learned many years ago. Suppose you were asked to describe the appearance of a particular stranger. Using tact, you could describe this person as having, "a look that makes time stand still."

Conversely, the description of the same person, sans tact, would go like this - "Your face can stop a clock!"

Any questions? :)
Post #536775
Posted Friday, July 18, 2008 7:37 AM
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Thanks for all the feedback so far. There have been some great suggestions, as well as some humorous ones. I appreciate all of them.
Post #536777
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