How to Improve your Small Talk Ability

How to Improve your Small Talk Ability In last week’s blog “Why are Soft Skills so Important to your Professional Success?” I defined “soft skills” as personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people and noted that it is also synonym for people skills - which includes your character, personality and competence. What is a very important people skill? Small talk. What is your definition of small talk?  According to the Encarta World Dictionary, small talk is polite conversation about matters of little importance, especially between people who do not know each other well.  I just love this definition.  It captures the meaning beautifully.  Small talk helps to establish a connection between two people.  The conversation does not have to be original or profound.  It simply acts as an ice-breaker - an easy-going conversation that helps to put another person at ease. Small talk is simply what we say to one another to be polite. It requires focus and practice to build your small talk ability.  Just because you are an extrovert does not mean that you possess strong people skills; and if you are an introvert ...

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Why are Soft Skills so Important to your Professional Success?

Why are Soft Skills so Important to your Professional Success? “Soft skills” are defined as personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people.  Your “hard skills” refer to your technical skills and expertise required to do your job. To highlight the difference between “soft skills” and “hard skills”, imagine the following scenario.  You are a company producing solar panels.  Your technology is leading-edge within your industry and your sales outrank your competitors.  However, as time passes, your competition is able to catch-up and utilize the same technology through license use or developing alternative but similar technology. Suddenly, solar panels across the marketplace are all similar, and your profits are now suffering.  While you recognize you may need to develop new technology to beat out your competition, you also realize that you need a new competitive edge.  What is it? Developing the “soft skills” of each member of your team in order to differentiate yourself from the competition. Hard skills are like your technology: anyone can acquire them with training and they are necessary in order to operate in the workplace. Soft skills, on the other hand, are your unique value of offer and enable you to gain a ...

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Funeral Etiquette

May 10, 2016  |   Blogs,Business Etiquette   |     |   0 Comment

Funeral Etiquette   My friend’s father-in-law recently passed away.  As soon as I found out, I reached out to her to say how sorry I was for her loss and to let her know that she and her family were in my thoughts and prayers. In speaking with her, she asked if I would write a blog about funeral etiquette.  So this one is for her.  I hope it helps.   What Can I Do or Say? It is a highly emotional time for a family when a loved one dies. As a friend of someone who is grieving the loss of a loved one, our first thought is often, “How can I help?” or “What can I do or say to help make them feel better?” For many people, there is a hesitancy to reach out because they don’t have the answers to these questions and fear they may be intruding during a family’s grieving period. However, the most important thing you can do in such a situation is reach out to express your feelings of empathy and sympathy.  What should you say? How should you express yourself? Should you phone the family member or speak with them ...

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