The rise of artificial intelligence is encouraging and exciting, to say the least. But is anyone else yearning for people skills now more than ever?
If you’re like me, then you understand the importance of interpersonal skills. While technology can offer a lot, there’s still something to be said about these must-have social skills in the workplace.
See Related: How to Become an Event Manager in 5 Steps
Why are people skills so important? Especially in the workplace? Well, people skills can:
- Boost your communication and problem-solving abilities
- Increase overall engagement in the workplace
- Promote active listening among coworkers and customers
- Mitigate unnecessary conflict
- Enhance your relationships with colleagues
- Set you up for career success
- Lead to greater levels of happiness
But that’s just a quick glance. If you want the more in-depth, conservational version (AKA where typical people skills tend to shine), simply scroll down to keep reading.
What are people skills again?
I know I’ve gone over people skills in a couple of blog posts before. But it never hurts to include a refresher. So, what’s the real difference between these soft and hard skills?
Hard skills vs. soft skills
Hard skills refer to the technical skills you’d need to stand out from the labor market. They qualify you for the job ahead and demonstrate the level of training you’ve accumulated.
But don’t think that these technical skills outweigh the importance of people skills. Because when it comes down to it, people skills are far harder to teach than technical ones.
Take my line of work, for example. As a master of ceremonies, I bring my people skills to the forefront.
After all, people are my industry. But any other corporate MC who doesn’t have those unique interpersonal skills simply won’t get the job.
While this is just one example, you can see how important these essential skills are. Because no matter what job you take, people will most likely be there.
Why are soft skills important in the workplace?
Now that we’ve refreshed our brains, it’s time to get down to the real reason you’re here: Why should your workplace proudly boast of its people skills? What do they really have to offer?
Turns out, these essential skills have far more to offer than you think.
#1. People skills go hand-in-hand with effective communication skills
Communication, itself, is a people skill. In fact, it’s one of the more important people skills out there.
Because solid communication can lead to project success no matter who your partner is. Being able to communicate effectively with those around you goes beyond the words you use.
It also includes the type of body language and facial expressions you demonstrate. For example, I don’t get up on a stage with my arms crossed and head down to introduce a speaker.
No, I welcome the audience with open arms and tell them a couple of jokes to loosen them up. While I may be a hired emcee, the same principle still stands for those looking to make some genuine connections in the office.
If you’re new and cowering in a corner, odds are not many people are going to feel inspired to come up and talk to you. Instead, you have to put yourself out there.
Pull your shoulders back, communicate that you’re open to conversation, and start with a lighthearted joke. This way, people know you’re ready to communicate and collaborate with them.
#2. They boost employee engagement by encouraging active listening
A big part of interpersonal skills that often goes overlooked is listening. Listening is a vital part of communication.
In fact, it’s probably even more important than talking! When you demonstrate your master listening skills, you’re being fully present with the person in front of you.
You’re absorbing the information they’re disseminating. You’re nodding your head, agreeing with key points.
You’ve heard the phrase, “talking to a brick wall,” right? Don’t be a brick wall. Be an active listener who’s proud to put their listening skills on display.
#3. Communicating effectively with others improves customer service
These kinds of people skills aren’t just going to impact the internal operations at your workplace. They’re going to go as far as touching the lives of customers.
When employees utilize their people skills, they’re giving customers the best service they can provide. We’ve all had the experience of asking an employee for help in one instance or another.
And while that employee may have had plenty of technical knowledge, their social skills were somewhat lacking. Just recalling that faint memory leaves a sour taste in your mouth, doesn’t it?
But an employee who merges technical knowledge with social finesse is the kind of employee we want to approach. Because they’re offering us the full package. As a customer, that’s all we really want.
#4. Social skills can mitigate conflict
There’s no telling how many misunderstandings have occurred due to poor communication. But people skills offer us an easy remedy to mitigate these unnecessary bouts of frustration.
Of course, some conflict in the office is bound to happen. But small disagreements that negatively impact productivity are better left to the wayside, don’t you think?
Instead, social skills can help employees get ahead of the curve of a potential argument. Their communication skills allow them to lay out their beliefs and intentions on the table.
So there’s no misinterpreting where a person is coming from. As an emcee, I’d like to see someone try to talk their way out of a situation like that with technical skill alone!
#5. Strong people skills can even lead to career development
In every industry, there’s a certain level of schmoozing that’s required when you’re trying to advance your career. After all, if you’re looking to advance, you need to state your position at the forefront.
People can’t read your mind! (Although that would be an amazing people skill…)
But putting your intentions out there and developing a rapport with those who can help you develop professionally is your key to success. Nobody got to where they are without the help of those around them.
In fact, research shows that utilizing one’s people skills may actually enhance their learning outcomes while also boosting job placements. So utilize your connections.
Don’t shy away from putting your people skills on display. Then, be prepared for some fruitful outcomes to come your way.
#6. They can enhance your professional relationships
You may be the type of person who clocks in and clocks out and wants nothing else to do with your colleagues. But just think of all the opportunities you might be missing.
Investing in your workplace relationships is key to building a strong professional foundation. Not only will these connections enhance your overall network.
But you may end up learning some essential life lessons from the people you work with every day. You never know where these relationships may lead next.
So it’s best to stay open and welcome any opportunity for growth and change.
#7. People skills boost your problem-solving abilities
When you start to hone your people skills, you learn very quickly how to read a room. When I walk into a corporate event, I immediately scan through the crowd to get an idea of the atmosphere.
That informs how I deliver my keynote address or how I introduce the next set of speakers. Either way, all of this information is important for me to absorb because it helps me problem-solve in advance.
If you think about it, people skills are like a superpower. You’re able to identify certain invisible things that would otherwise go over anyone else’s head.
But when you tap into this essential skill, you’re able to identify problems in advance. And over time, you learn how to mitigate any potential disasters.
#8. People skills may even enhance your social life
Transferable skills are a godsend. They’re the very skills you don’t need to turn off after clocking out of the office.
In fact, they’ll actually help you out in every area of your life! Unless you’re an absolute hermit, you’re likely dealing with people everywhere you go.
So allow these skills to advance you in every part of your life. There are plenty of opportunities for you to engage them.
#9. Technical skills can only get you so far
Every job requires a certain level of technical skill. But like I said earlier, technical skills are far easier to teach than people skills like good communication habits or emotional intelligence.
Finding the perfect balance between these skill sets is the way you’ll find success.
What are experts saying about people skills?
There are plenty of studies to back the importance of people skills. But I want to highlight one that gets down to the main point I’m trying to make.
One study identified the relationship between social skills and happiness. They found that factors such as self-expression in social settings led to higher levels of happiness among all participants despite their gender differences.
If that’s not enough to sway you on the importance of people skills, then I don’t know what else will. Simply put, if you want to lead a happier life, invest in your people skills now.
If you want to benefit from all the reasons I listed above, then get going on your interpersonal skills! Start with just one people skill, then work your way up.
As someone who’s benefitted greatly from these skill sets, I’m here to tell you that they work.
Keep Reading: How to Improve Employee Engagement in 15 Easy Steps
Adam Christing has been called “The Tom Brady of emcees.” He has hosted more than 1,000 company meetings, special events, gala celebrations, and more. He is the author of several books and founder of CleanComedians.com. For more event tips, follow Adam Christing on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and YouTube.