Hello! Welcome back to this next TomCast from GuardSight; we are a tactical cybersecurity-as-a-service organization dedicated to helping businesses protect their data, their assets, and their endpoints.

Today’s discussion involves soft skills. What are soft skills? Since I am a fan of looking up definitions from Oxford, we’ll remain consistent here. Soft skills are “personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people”. Why would anyone want to interact effectively and harmoniously? Seems like a rather rhetorical question.

Soft skills vary from person to person; some people find interactions difficult and laborious.

There are several soft skills that can be developed over time to make an individual better at their effectiveness when interacting. From research there are at least fifteen that will resonate among many of you almost immediately: Communication, Teamwork. Problem-solving, Time, management, Critical thinking, Decision-making, Organizational, Stress management, Adaptability, Conflict management, Leadership, Creativity, Resourcefulness, Persuasion, and Openness to criticism.

Communication seems like one of the more well-known ones, so we’ll start there. Do you consider yourself an effective communicator? Why, or why not? There is a stark difference between being an effective communicator and being simply “chatty”.

Do you provide the necessary details, directions, or data that is needed in the communication? If so, do you do so in a manner that is not immediately perceived in a negative fashion? Remember, communication is not just verbal; written communications are vital to operations within any business.

Written communications, however, are typically viewed in the most negative connotation possible so it is important to dissect HOW you are composing written communications. Practice verbal communications and written communications to yourself or someone close to you in order to see how your communications come across. Are you empathetic? Are you stoic, showing little emotion?

Think of the skills that were mentioned earlier. How does communication skill impact teamwork, problem-solving, time-management, decision-making, conflict-management, and more? As you think about how communications impact other soft skills, also think back to your organizational leadership, both past and present (if you have worked for more than one organization).

How have your leaders communicated with you? Was the approach a more iron-fisted “Do What I Say Because I Said It” approach, or was the approach more collaborative? Which one seemed to not only be more effective, but resulted in a more harmonious team?

Not everyone enjoys communicating outside of their own personal comfort zones. Some people find it much easier to communicate through anonymous means that require little emotional interaction. Face to face communications come naturally to some, and are anxiety-driven nightmares for others.

Communicating is a skill that can be honed over time; much like any skill it can be practiced and semi-perfected. Consider the career position you have or want; does the position require communications? Regardless of job role, some sort of communicating is required. Whether you are in the information technology field developing code, or in the landscaping field helping people design creative looks for outdoor spaces, in the construction field framing up structures, or in an organizational leadership role, communicating effectively will make portions of your job easier and more relatable.

This TomCast is a form of communication, albeit one-sided. Listen to the tone of my voice; does it come across as overbearing or critical? Am I too quiet or too loud? Is the style of communication easy to listen to, or are the words slurred or spoken to quickly?

These are all areas that need to be considered when I make these since this is one-sided. The lesson here is to not only be, or learn to be an effective communicator, but to pay attention to the various types of communication so that you can better prepare for how you will communicate. Effective communication fulfills the core soft skill definition; you will be able to interact with other people effectively and harmoniously.

We here at GuardSight thank you for taking the time to listen to this TomCast. Please share this if you believe it would be of assistance to anyone in your contact list, and please provide us some feedback in the comments so we can continue to improve. Thanks!