Tom Stern, creator of CEODad.com and FastCompany blogger pointed me to a new book: 150 Best Jobs for Your Skills by Michael Farr and Laurence Shatkin.
The book identifies the top ten skills that are the most important in today’s economy, based on data from the U.S. Department of Labor and the latest O*NET. It also reminds us that, according to an NCDA Gallup Poll, 54 percent of professionals feel they are not using their skills in their current job.
Interesting statistic. Over half of us believe we're not using our skills in our current job?! If that's really true, the loss of productivity (as a result), just blows me away.
Maybe it's just the way that I'm wired, but I can't figure out why somebody would stay in a role when they didn't believe they were using their skills. If not from using our skills, then from what/where does one derive their sense of satisfaction?
The authors also identified social skills as the number one requirement for the fastest-growing opportunities out there. No surprise. Although it does concern me a bit as I consider this generation of gamers, myspacers, texters, who spend precious little time involved in face-to-face communication.
So....since we all believe that social skill cred is important, here's a few tips Tom Stern has for improving one's social skills:
IMPROVE SELF-CONFIDENCE THROUGH EYE CONTACT
Apparently, if you don’t look a person in the eye, you could be revealing disinterest, or even be lying. Luckily, you can avoid working on this social skill by always sending e-mails.
SHOW INTEREST IN THE OTHER PERSON
Rather than dominating the conversation with stories about yourself, encourage reciprocation by starting a little back and forth. This allows both you AND the other party to take turns fighting boredom while the other idiot is talking.
ASK EVOCATIVE QUESTIONS
Inquiries which prompt a simple yes or no answer stop things dead. Rather than asking “did you have a good flight?” try “what was the in-flight movie?” You’d be surprised how much of a connection can be made with another person simply by establishing a mutual disdain for Ben Affleck.
Really take in what the other person is saying, and respond directly to it. It does no good to stand there while a client talks about his strategy for expanding market awareness and then blurt out “who doesn’t love cheese?”
BE WELL-READ AND KNOWLEDGEABLE
Note: no longer a requirement in politics.
I assume this means asking for what you want in a forthright and pleasant manner, and not appearing at a staff meeting wearing nothing but your Tasmanian Devil tie.
MOVE AT YOUR OWN PACE
It’s important to know that developing better social skills is a long process, and that you will make mistakes. Try out your new communication techniques on your children, because if you fail with them, the humiliation they will heap upon you will be far greater than anything some silly old client could dish out.