I am very involved with the tech community in California, and as such host, organize, and attend numerous industry events, dinners, and functions. There is no question that most attendees are quite intelligent, educated, successful, and articulate. Operators are skilled in running companies, and are always looking to find better ways to accomplish what they need to. Leaders, and there are few of them, have the ability to listen actively and engage in meaningful dialogue. Leaders will try to help, guide, advise, mentor, and make introductions if and when they can. Developing such skills, and level of confidence is no easy task, and requires both talent and effort. I know far too many successful, bright executives with poor interpersonal skills who are disliked, and are only tolerated only because of their positions. About Ivan NikkhooIvan Nikkhoo is an experienced tech entrepeneur, investment banker, and venture capitalist focused on emerging technology companies.
Business executives occasionally speak of Power Etiquette, which is the ability to maximize assertiveness against the backdrop of communication and conflict resolution.
Those individuals with a well-developed set of interpersonal skills have an easier time succeeding professionally and in their personal lives. Conversely, those who lack these skills frequently experience failure and frustration when attempting to interact with others. Receiving an education in business administration frequently requires coursework in communication studies, public speaking, psychology and sociology. Therefore, it is in your best interest to choose a soft skills training course that will help you to develop holistically as a professional, so you can add important soft skills development to your business acumen.You can even learn soft skills online, without having to leave your home or office. Adult education classes for executives and business professionals offer further soft skill development opportunities. If you already know which interpersonal skills you lack, enroll in courses that focus on these shortcomings. For example, participating in a class or workshop focusing on communication skills will enable you to learn about nonverbal and verbal communication as well as the art of maintaining appropriate spatial separation. While it is true that some individuals are born with an innate gift of one or more soft skills, it is just as accurate to say that those not so gifted may learn these skills, develop them more fully, hone and adjust them.
Interpersonal skills are the skills that facilitate communication and interaction with other people.
Body language is a form of non verbal communication expressed with posture, eye movement, facial expressions, gestures and tone of voice. A performance evaluation is intended to appraise employee’s professionalism, work ethic and job skills.
Teachers wear many hats every day while in the classroom: the organizer, instructor, speaker, facilitator, entertainer and sometimes dispute resolution specialist. Soft skills are typically what employers are trying to teach with most leadership training and development coursework and eLearning, but they find themselves with a challenge when it comes to course design and effectiveness.
Can you teach an employee to be a leader if he or she does not have the intrinsic qualities of a leader? In addition to the debate of whether or not it is even possible to teach soft skills, there is also the issue of measurability.

While there are challenges to overcome, in reality it is possible to foster the development of soft skills in your employees, but the approach to this training and development is unique and should be treated as such, particularly when compared to training and eLearning utilized to teach hard skills. Soft skills cannot be overlooked—in fact, wide-reaching research shows soft skills are not only absolutely necessary in today’s workplace, but they are also one of the areas in which Millennials are most lacking. These new employees entering the workforce have more education and more impressive resumes than any generation before in many cases, but they are falling short in their careers because of their lack of soft skills.
So with that being said, how do employers approach the teaching of soft skills to employees, in order to ensure everyone is able to thrive?
At first glance, eLearning and soft skills training seem to be inherently oppositional concepts.
This may be true, but that does not mean you should count eLearning out in terms of your soft skills training.
Additionally, when developing eLearning for soft skills, it is a good idea to include a heavy focus on collaboration. Finally, if you are creating eLearning for soft skills, simulations are extremely valuable. Everything you are trying to teach the student should build on their previous knowledge and experience. As with all eLearning, for hard or soft skills, make sure you are showing a clear link between the skills and why the learner needs them. How do you approach the training of soft skills in a way that is unique from your hard skills eLearning and training?
The relative anonymity of cyberspace and mobile devices has made it too easy to relax or forget interpersonal skills altogether.
Such events provide an opportunity to meet new people, spot trends, and gain insights into the markets. What is immediately and clearly obvious is the distinction between self promoters, operators, bean counters, and of course, the leaders, and it is all in their communication and interpersonal skills.
Their egos supersede their skills, they only take meetings that have a direct benefit to them, and treat people according to what the direct impact they can offer.
They like other operators, smart people, and often think more tactically than strategically. For this small group of people, the difference is in their approach to dealing with other people, and their ability to communicate and connect with others. They are more interested in building relationships, a communities, echo systems, and creating a better environment for everyone.
As Jim Rohn said, “Effective communication is 20% what you know and 80% how you feel about what you know.” I remember taking a communication class in business school, but it focused on writing skills, not relationship building, active listening, or being inquisitive. Out of ignorance, or lack of interest, they do not see any value in showing any interest in others, except for when it is profitable for them to do so.
He is an Adjunct Professor at the USC Marshall School of Business and is a very active investor. Although these courses address soft skill development indirectly, not all businesses schools focus on the development of interpersonal skills. It is a time of dramatic change where teens discover a sense of self worth and expanded cognitive abilities. Unlike hard skills, which focus on ensuring an employee successfully masters a certain skill to directly apply in the workplace, soft skills are really all about changing an employee’s emotions, behaviors or reactive techniques.

Soft skills are not really skills at all, but are instead interpersonal tendencies, and unique qualities that set one employee apart from another. With hard skills it is fairly easy to test for comprehension, whether it is in the form of a quiz, or simply by looking at job performance.
Millennials have grown up in an environment dependent on technology that eliminates the need for face-to-face encounters and interpersonal relationships, and the result is a workforce devoid of what is needed to advance forward. After all, are not soft skills about how you interact with people, and eLearning is based on a relationship with a computer? Soft skills are as much about teamwork and learning to work with others to problem-solve as they are about learning to be a leader, so take advantage of social components available with eLearning. In order to be effective, research shows employees need to be presented with an extensive range of simulation situations that will allow them to explore their response to any number of situations, and simulations should also include feedback. Create eLearning that logically progresses, as this is an effective soft skills training approach. A huge problem with soft skills training is the lack of value employees see in it, but you can work to eliminate this misconception by clearly defining why it is truly valuable. They are also a fascinating venue to observe the different styles and skill sets of the attendees, which generally consist of successful entrepreneurs, super angels, VCs, and industry executives. As John Powell said, “Communication works for those who work at it.” This is what differentiates everyone. Their interpersonal and communication skills are their differentiation, and are not dependent on the “who”s and “what”s. Ivan has run and been an advisor to tehnology companies for over thirty years, and has helped many companies through their growth and lifecycle challenges.
So how do you begin to measure whether or not your soft skills-based eLearning is even having an effect?
Include ample opportunities for communication between employees, as well as a platform for the general sharing of ideas.
With eLearning, feedback can be incredibly easy to provide, particularly in the form of a brief quiz after simulations. I usually prefer in person meetings if possible, because as Charles Dickens said, “Electric communication will never be a substitute for the face of someone who with their soul encourages another person to be brave and true.
One tip is to introduce a scenario which is difficult to approach and solve, and then let learners work together to come to a solution. Feedback should be as detailed as is possible within the eLearning module, and students should have the opportunity to continuously explore the simulations repeatedly, for the most effectiveness. I am an honours in Psychology student and am currently doing my practical experience trianing. I am currently helping out with a client with Schizophrenia and this article has helped me identify certain excercises we were doing there as constituting Social Skill Training! I was homeschooled during most of my teenage years and had limited contact with people other than my mother. Because of that I have struggled greatly with relating to people, even now as a 23 year old single mom.

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