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Soft skills are essential for strong business growth

As a seasoned communications professional with experience spanning four decades working with a variety of large and small organisations, I feel I have built up a powerful armoury of soft skills. Which is comforting, especially in light of the fact that according to the latest LinkedIn Global Talent Trends Report, 92% of recruiters surveyed worldwide believe soft skills matter as much or more than hard skills. I was both surprised and excited, therefore, to walk away from a recent two-day Think On Your Feet® workshop with a whole new approach to responding quickly and confidently in any situation with enhanced clarity, brevity and impact.

Ignore soft skills at your peril

The top three soft skills identified in the LinkedIn Global Talent Trends Report are creativity, persuasion and empathy. These are skills which do not come easily to everyone, yet they can – and should – be developed and encouraged across an organisation. This is more relevant than ever in today’s working environment, where companies are flatter and employees at every level need to be able to communicate clearly and confidently up and down the organisation as well as across it. Also, in an age where hard skills can increasingly be replicated by technology, it is in the soft skills which cannot (as yet) be fully automated that our real value currently lies.

Thinking on your feet

Encouragingly, the need for effective communication is now widely recognised by organisations. Yet in a majority of cases, training budgets tend to focus on the more formalised communications tools. In reality, however, it is in those less formal situations, where individuals have not had the chance to structure their thoughts and articulate their messages, that effective communications can come unstuck. This is where I witnessed the Think on Your Feet® programme turning traditional methods on their head, providing delegates with a structured way of integrating the ‘logical left’ and ‘intuitive right’ side of their brain to unlock structured and compelling communication. The theory behind the programme felt familiar on paper – it was only when I had the chance to put it into practice during an intensive, thought-provoking and high-energy two-day programme, that I fully realised the transformative impact that this type of thinking delivers. And whilst it is invaluable when having to think on your feet, it is equally helpful in scenarios where you do have more time to plan and prepare, such as emails, telephone calls, meetings and presentations.

Unlocking the power of three

Three, it turns out, is the key to clear, concise communication that delivers genuine impact. Think on Your Feet® provides you with a series of techniques that will help you to package the information you want to convey in an understandable and persuasive way, structuring your information around three key points. A powerful soft skills tool indeed in today’s competitive workplace – and one where 80% of global talent professionals believe soft skills are increasingly important to a company’s success.
And it really works – I am delighted to have learned a new communications technique that has genuinely helped me to change the way I can quickly rally and articulate my thinking for far greater impact. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks!

Think on Your Feet® is delivered as:

About Suzanne Doerr
Suzanne Doerr is a communications consultant, facilitator and coach. Over the years she has worked with large corporate organisations such as Carlsberg, BT, AXA and Glaxo, as well as smaller challenger brands. She gained her experience both in-house and agency side. She is a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) and the Association for Coaching (AC).