Communication skills are hard skills

Esther Derby is writing on stopping to use the words soft skills and instead use communication skills.

Communication skills can be anything but soft. As an example, communication skills can make it easier to see through other people’s games and play ‘hard ball’ in a correct way. I like the comment written by Jason Yip:

I don’t even like to say conversation, confrontation, collaboration skills are “non-technical”. There are reliable techniques for these sort of things and “non-technical” seems to me a subtle suggestion that it’s all magic.

I’ve picked up a great deal of communication techniques over the past few years, thanks to training courses, personal coaching, intervision with colleagues and organizing workshops and conferences. It’s not magic, but the effects can feel magical, liberating. I’ve picked up some techniques which are directly applicable as such. Examples of techniques I learnt or improved are making sure I make eye contact with the person I’m conversing with, creating rapport (from NLP) and standup meetings.

Sometimes I learn these things quickly, others take more time to master, even though the idea is simple – changing my behaviour is not always easily done – that also makes communication skills ‘hard skills’.

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