See important soft skills at work and how they paid off using five of our narratives as examples.
You might have seen a blog from us about soft skills, where we implore readers to find the value in exploring and mastering them in order to hone communication and improve interactions.
It’s one thing to talk about how important soft skills are, but it’s another to see them in action. Using five narratives directly from The Doe, we’re going to show you various soft skills examples at play, while examining just how imperative they are in real-life situations.
Active listening is a skill focused on understanding, where the purpose is to process what the other person is saying without trying to push out a response.
From the perspective of a high school English teacher, “It’s Time to Listen to Gen Z” discusses the value of respectful, listening-focused interactions in the classroom. They begin each day sharing their “Good Things,” a strategy that encourages students to focus on gratitude and active listening.
This activity fosters connection and vulnerability, allowing students to have conversations about difficult topics found in literature with trust. She instills in her students that “being able to have a meaningful discussion is so much more than just listening in order to respond.”
Not only does this strategy pay off during difficult exchanges within her four walls, it sets students up to have active listening skills beyond the classroom, a trait she believes could benefit more than students: “So often when I hear of the strife and close-mindedness of people in power, I wonder if they wouldn’t benefit from sitting in a freshman year classroom for a week.”
Nonverbal communication plays a huge role in conversations and relationships, and what you’re doing with your body in these situations can be as important as your words.
After losing his sight completely, the author’s father relied on nonverbal communication for nearly everything. What the author didn’t realize was that physical touch would become the mode of nonverbal communication he would rely on to understand how his father was feeling:
“The most intimate form of this physicality was his grip on my arm when walking. This grip could take on different configurations: a solid, clamped hand; a few loose fingers; linked elbows; a clasp on my shoulder. In one touch, I would try to detect his overall mood.”
Sometimes, practicing a growth mindset means accepting new information and being wrong, and other times, it is as complicated as completely altering how you think.
This therapist explains that people tend to choose familiarity over value, leaving them with an inclination to choose things or people that aren’t good for them, based on how they received love in their childhood.
She believes the pattern can be broken for others, as she was able to do for herself: “An important step toward transformation is beginning to hardwire love into ourselves. That love can’t come from another person, it must come from within. We need to re-parent ourselves with an attuned reliable love.”
Adaptability lives in the nature of the unexpected and is a skill that allows you to maneuver murky situations. Being adaptable means you are mentally and emotionally agile, willing to stretch your perspective.
On an expedition to deepen his sexual experiences, this contributor began experimenting with energy work, only to find that there was much more to it than he expected.
In “I Discovered the Joys and Limits of a No-Touch Orgasm,” the contributor recounts his journey learning and experimenting with tantra. After instances of trial and error, he recalls his first real success: “Through the thick denim in her jeans, I was able to bring her fully to climax. I felt superhuman.”
But he also understood that this wasn’t the end of the learning process.
After an uncomfortable encounter with a friend, he shares, “I realized at that moment that consent still matters when it comes to energy work. Just because we can expand beyond our bodies doesn’t mean we always should.”
Difficult conversations, especially when they hit close to home, can have an effect on your emotional state. Levelheadedness is a skill used to focus emotional impulses so interactions can stay rational and on track.
In “It’s Time to Listen to Gen Z,” this contributor utilizes more soft skills than just active listening. She encourages levelheadedness with her students. Their ability to practice having discussions in an intimate setting builds trust, and this trust makes it easier to talk about difficult topics.
When exchanges become heated, students practice using their rational mind to challenge ideas—not each other: “In this space, we talk about…how to object to an idea, not to a person.” Being able to remain levelheaded paves the way for productive communication in and out of the classroom.
Empathy is the bridge that connects people, no matter how many differences lie between them, and is founded upon being caring, open minded and understanding.
This author had a clear plan through much of her life: Become a successful journalist. After unexpectedly losing her father, she experienced grief like she’d never known before. In “Trauma Made Me the Journalist I Am Today,” this contributor shares her journey to become a journalist and how grief changed her once she arrived.
No longer simply yearning for a good story, like many others in her field, she uses empathy to drive her storytelling. Wanting to help people share their story, this journalist taps into her understanding of loss: “Experiencing pain of my own gave me a whole new perspective on how to relate to those facing hardship.”
Soft Skills in Your Life
Honing your soft skills pays off, as it did for these contributors. As you continue to navigate articles, conversations and relationships, consider practicing these abilities to deepen your communication.
If you enjoyed the range of narratives explored in this blog, then you’ll enjoy reading many of the others we’ve published. Head over to The Doe to read a variety of perspectives.