Not so soft

In business, ‘soft skills’ are often seen as fluffy; nice to have, but not necessary. To read The Soft Skills Book by Dan White is to be reminded that in fact the opposite is true. So-called soft skills are nothing short of essential to modern work – which makes this concise, highly-practical handbook a rewarding read.

The book is split into ten sections spanning topics including career choices, time management, project planning, storytelling, network building, pitching and presenting, and many more. While you won’t become an expert in any one of them, each section is brimming with ideas to refresh your skills in areas which are both part of everyday working life and fundamental to climbing the professional ladder.

One of the most valuable sections for me was on projects. Despite planning an uncountable number of projects over the years, I realized, I had never formally learned best practices. The chapter provides a great primer on the essentials like planning and responsibilities, but also gives some insights into different ways of effectively delegating that I hadn’t thought of before. For instance: before leaving a team member to get on with their task, ask them to anticipate obstacles that might push them off track and agree upfront on the support that would be provided, shifting from reactive to proactive.

Moments like that are what makes The Soft Skills Book so satisfying; it would be an informative guide for those just starting their careers, but there are also plenty of ‘A-ha’ moments for the more seasoned professional. For those times when you need a refresher, or something to get you out of a rut, The Soft Skills Book could be just the book to have on your desk.

–– Francesca Stainer is PR manager at everywoman and formerly worked at LID Publishing