Soft Skills Make the Hard Issues Viable

“Soft skills”… does that term sound like an easy or less important skill to develop? Also the word “Soft” may sound a little weak, well these skills are certainly not weak, but without them you and your organisation’s effectiveness will certainly be weakened.   Here we look at five key areas where soft skills can have a positive commercial impact.

Time after time research shows how fundamentally important and necessary they are in today’s workplace. In the LinkedIn report Global Talent Trends 92% of talent professionals reported that soft skills are equally or more important when hiring than hard skills and 89% said that when a hired employee doesn’t work out, it is because they lacked critical soft skills…

So how can these soft skills help you?


Effective communication at work creates a positive, trusting and healthy environment where people are accountable, can challenge freely and have their ideas not merely listened to, but actually implemented.

This leads to motivation, confidence, trust and purpose. All these hugely help to reduce turnover, confusion, duplication and ultimately a toxic workplace – interestingly, research has shown that Millennials and Generation Z employees are three times more likely to leave a toxic workplace than other workplace generations.

Better Leadership

Leaders with strong soft skills who can engage with all in an open manner and actively listen to their people will have staff following them willingly as they feel motivated and valued. Using emotional intelligence (the ability to understand, use, and manage your own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathise with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict) also helps to motivate and empathise with people which leaves a lasting and positive mark that is rarely forgotten.

No longer can leaders just talk the talk – they have to walk it more than ever before. As behaviour breeds behaviour, they create the leaders of the future, but ones with integrity.

Open communication

Many businesses communicate well, but not all do it openly or with the differences of their people in mind. Those who adjust their communication style to meet others will make the person feel valued, respected and more importantly understood.

Those with great soft skills understand not only what is said but how it is said including all the non-verbal clues received face to face, virtually and in written communications. Knowing how to get along with people and display a positive attitude are fundamental for success.

Improved customer service

Excellent soft skills build trust with your customers, trust brings repeated business, efficiency and profitability, those who can actively listen and engage fully and effectively will no doubt understand exactly what their customer really wants and how the business can then meet those demands.

Adaptability and problem solving

The skills of problem solving and adapting your behaviour are a huge asset to any organisation, as change is the only constant, the ability to skillfully manage and communicate change will help others adapt more quickly, respond more effectively and thrive through it.

Finding solutions through critical thinking that help you make wise decisions, is yet another benefit of how soft skills are hugely valuable.


There you go! Some concrete reasons why soft skills can make the hard issues viable – and the good news is they can all be learnt.

6 Tips for Great Presentations

(In conversation with Karen from our learning solutions delivery team)

Karen, we were talking about the welcome growing levels of face to face training we are experiencing (something we here at STL have maintained and supported throughout the last 2 years). We got onto considering that there are going to be a good number of us who may have to give our first in-person presentation for quite some time and it’s only natural to feel some nerves!

What suggestions would you recommend to someone preparing for a presentation?

Tip 1:  Preparation is vital for great presentations

It’s important to remember that there is more to a successful presentation than simply standing in front of an audience and doing your thing. Preparation is vital and the more time and effort your commit to this, the better your chances of being successful.

Tip 2:  Consider what you want the presentation to achieve.

As a result of your presentation do you want the audience to:

      • Know something
      • Decide something
      • Do something

It could be just one of the above, a combination of or all three but it’s important to recognise exactly what you want from your audience before you begin to prepare.

If it’s a business presentation you should also consider if, by delivering it, will you be helping to improve:

      • Productivity
      • Efficiency
      • Profitability

If the presentation doesn’t help increase any of these things, then ask yourself whether it’s worth doing at all? If it does, then make sure the audience knows that as well.

Tip 3: Do your audience research.

The more you know about who your audience are, the easier it becomes to tailor your presentation to ensure it meets their needs. Ask these questions to build a profile of your audience prior to delivering your presentation.

      • What are their roles?
      • How will your presentation benefit them?
      • What relevant knowledge/experience do they already have?
      • Is there anything in your presentation that might cause concern?
      • What are their communication preferences?

Tip 4:  Make sure your presentation has a clear beginning, middle and end.

Use the beginning of your presentation to explain the purpose and context. You might want to pose a question, make a statement or use some statistics and/or a picture that ‘hooks’ the audience and makes them eager to hear more.

The middle of your presentation is all about making sure you provide the right level of detail, delivered in the right way, that makes certain your audience have understood what you want from them as a result of your delivery.

We use the end of the presentation to confirm the important points you have made, to remind the audience of what you now want them to know, decide or do.

Tip 5:  Check your logistics

Don’t make the mistake of preparing a beautiful presentation on PowerPoint and then finding that there is no projector available in the room. It’s also important to confirm how many people are likely to turn up as so you have enough space and refreshments. These, and many more, are mistakes I’ve made which meant I learned the hard way. A quick checklist of things to make sure meet your needs:

      • Venue/Room
      • Audience invites
      • Technology
      • Flip charts/pens
      • Refreshments

Tip 6:  Prepare yourself.

You know yourself better than anyone so make sure you prepare yourself to be successful.

      • Practice the presentation beforehand and get some feedback.
      • Get a good night’s sleep beforehand.
      • Make sure you have water available as even the most confident of presenters can get a dry mouth.
      • Visualise a successful presentation. This really works, try it!


As you see, your great presentation starts with great preparation.  As Alexander Graham Bell wisely said “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success”

Thank you Karen for sharing these tips!

For some more tips check out further blogs and infographics:

How to get rid of nerves during your Presentation