The first mention of this term dates back to 1972 when it was used in a speech at a conference in the United States (What are Soft Skills, 1972). Since then, many definitions of soft skills have appeared, overlapping with the concepts of non-cognitive skills, emotional intelligence, and social skills
What are soft skills?
In total we can distinguish 4 groups of soft skills examples:
- Analytical (logical thinking, oral counting, memorizing information, etc.)
- creative (brainstorming skills, knowledge of TRIZ algorithms, etc.)
- Communication (writing, rhetoric, negotiation, ability to use NLP methods, etc.)
- organizational (time management, planning, ability to lead a healthy lifestyle and manage one’s mental state, etc.)
These 4 groups include composite skills such as speed reading, creative thinking, public speaking, etc. And even each of these constituent skills can be broken down into sub-skills that are related to their application.
How and which soft skills to improve?
First, likely, you’re already developing certain skills indirectly through other disciplines. For example, math or programming teaches you to think logically, and group sports develop communication skills, teamwork, and leadership skills.
Second, we must realize that such mediated development does not always allow us to master paraprofessional skills to perfection, and it is more effective to develop them separately.
Thirdly, we should know that to develop soft skills it is convenient to use the competence model, according to which competence is a set of knowledge, skills, and abilities. And all these 3 components are important. Again an example: to remember information well, it is necessary not only to train and practice memorization skills but also to have knowledge about the workings of memory, mnemotechnics, etc. Knowledge is always the basis for the development of any skill. Online simulators or courses alone will not help.
Fourth, it is important to understand that the development of soft skills requires training, repetition, and practicing the material learned. You should not just take a course, but try to use the methods you’ve learned regularly in your life. Only then will the selected skill be properly reinforced.
Well, to determine what exactly needs to be developed, you can go in different ways. Optionally, you can register on paper all that you know how to do now, and what you wish to learn. Then analyze your notes, bring them to a common denominator, and select several competencies for development shortly.
Learning today is not just a school or university, but a certain LLL (Life Long Learnig) attitude. Learning is always necessary, otherwise, knowledge and skills become obsolete. And in this self-learning soft skills play a very important role. First, they help you learn better, and second, it is these skills that are least susceptible to aging, i.e. it is an asset for the long term.