What does it mean when we categorize some skills as “soft”?
The phrase “soft skills” implies something we can do without. When push comes to shove, we can overlook a lack of one of these “extras” because this person’s CV tells us they can “get the job done.”
But communication isn’t extra.
Communication is everything.
Let’s say you hire the person with the great CV, and it turns out that they are a bad, or even a mediocre, communicator. What’s that going to mean?
They will miss opportunities to connect with valuable stakeholders. They may fray relationships. They will send unclear messages to others. They will make assumptions that lead to lost time and money.
The job they are supposed to be so good at getting done will be stymied at every turn because they send cryptic emails, or don’t mention something they need, or are uncomfortable delegating, or don’t know how to encourage participation in a meeting. You may discover they can’t go on client calls because they’re gruff, or too talkative, can’t read the room, or are bad at presentations.
Communication is the way we get everything done. It’s crucial to our success. And it’s a learnable skill.
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