What are human skills and how do they help us to communicate?
Human skills are the characteristics of a person that helps him to communicate and get along well with others. Human skills, often referred to as soft skills, include communication, empathy, reasonableness, self-awareness and others.
These are skills that we learn as we go through life. Just as no one is born with the skills to be an electrician, or a computer programmer, we are not born with the human skills we need to navigate through the challenges of life. We usually learn them from those around us, such as our parents. Have you ever heard someone speak with fondness about a grandparent because of the kind and gentle person they were? If we have been in the unfortunate situation where we did not grow up with such good influences, we can still learn the human skills that will help us be successful and pleasant to be around.
While Human Skills Development is oriented toward the workplace, the learning of human skills can benefit us in every day life, with our family and friends, and really anyone we come into contact with.
So let’s start with communication. There are a number of aspects to consider, such as
- When to communicate.
- What to say.
- How to say it.
Let’s compare communicating to eating. We usually have some sort of schedule for when we eat. Based on our needs and preferences we decide what we will eat. And then the question of how it is prepared and presented. Those things all affect the experience of eating and the same goes for communication.
When to communicate.
- At work, you may need to exchange ideas on a project that you are working on with a team.
- You may need to talk to your boss about time off for an important personal function.
- You may be the foreman who needs to talk to someone about their work habits.
- You may be called on to deal with a customer complaint.
- At home, there are always thing to talk about. Finances, caring for the home and family, dealing with relatives, choosing entertainment, future plans, preparing for retirement etc.
What to say.
As we decide what to say we need to be clear as to our goal in communicating. Are you providing information about accomplishing a task? If so you need to understand the information before you pass it along.
If we are telling a person to make adjustments in their attitude or work habits, can we start by commending them for something they do well? It will make it easier to point out what needs to be improved.
Take time to understand the person and their situation. What are they dealing with in their personal lives. Without prying you may be able to understand that their behavior was affected by something unrelated to work.
How to say it.
Think of the Golden Rule, to treat others as we would like to be treated. We like to be treated with respect. We like it when others “hear us out” when we need to explain something. We would like others make allowances for the challenges we face. We like to to be asked, rather than told what to do. We don’t like to be be yelled at.
So those are things that good communicators do.
Our goal in communicating should be to improve the situation for everyone involved.
Our course, Communication Strategies, will help you to communicate skillfully with anyone in any situation.