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Stand Out With Soft Skills

Looking for a way to stand out amongst your peers and advance your career, get more clients, grow your business? Learn how to communicate effectively with others. According to all sorts of articles, books and columns lately, it’s unfortunately a sorely missing skills these days.

Last week I came across a column on that really spoke to me (and not just because I love the author’s job title.) It was written by the Chief People Officer of McDonalds, Melissa Kersey, and was about the seriousness of the soft skills gap in younger generations.

This was not a generational “dig” the way you usually hear such as all the perceived shortcomings of Millenials having been created by too many years of helicopter parenting, but an unintended consequence of the increasing use of technology in our lives. And more specifically, on the lives of people who have always had pervasive use of technology as a standard since they were born.

In sum, the pervasive use of technology has diminished the ability to maintain strong interpersonal relationships and develop people skills necessary for success.

How is this problem harming businesses? Well, for one thing, consumers are increasingly looking for an increase in their customer service experience at a time when new workers are least equipped to provide it.

What will this mean for Gen X down the road? Unfortunately, adding to the financial problem they are already facing by coming into the workforce with record high student debt, the lack of effective communication and soft skills will seriously dampen their earnings ability for their entire careers.

In her article, Kersey talks about the opportunity and responsibility employers have to help teach these skills to their workforce. Her suggestions speak to the fact that employers today not only have to train their employees how to do their job but to educate them on general life-skills.

Whether you agree or not that employers should be in this situation at all is irrelevant. If businesses want to be successful they’re going to have to provide more support to the employees who make it all happen.

While Gen X may have the biggest hurdle to overcome because technology has been a pervasive part of their lives right from the beginning, too many of the rest of us are losing the skills we once had as we too have now spent years being more and more dependent upon technology as well.

Much like with technical skills, the good news is communication, emotional intelligence and many other soft skills can be learned. If you’re looking for a way to get ahead, don’t wait for your employer to offer the training. Make the investment for yourself and in yourself!

Erin Marcus is an author, speaker and communications specialist helping organizations to “Conquer the Conversation,” and create improvement in sales, customer service and team dynamics. To bring Erin to your event or business, visit, email or call 847-868-4464.

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