EMAIL# 217 -21ST MAY 2023- 'THE SOFT SIDE OF BUILDING"
Soft skills lead to hard results.
A marriage is the ultimate test of your soft skills.
Last week was our 34th wedding anniversary and we could not be happier.
Happy anniversary to my wonderful wife Maryanne, who has taught me almost all my soft skills.
“The most important decision you will ever make is whether, when and whom to marry. And then make it last” Unknown.
I am a builder. I know how to build stuff.
But my technical knowledge and depth of experience has only been one part of my building longevity and success. I now realize that my soft skills are my real superpower. How well I relate to and get on with other people is the skill that has really mattered.
During a mentoring session last week, my mentee asked me “How do I handle the first couple of meetings with a potential new client?” My answer was, “My reputation and word of mouth gets potential new clients in front of me, but it’s how well we get along during the first few meeting that turns them into new clients.”
“If there is one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and to see things from that person’s angle as well as your own.” Dale Carnegie
In last week’s email, I explored social intelligence and emotional intelligence, and established that these skills are the foundation of our interpersonal connections. These soft skills allow us to understand a social context and to connect with others.
In running my building company, I try to employ these soft skills with everyone involved in the building process (Clients, architects, employees, consultants, building inspectors etc, etc). Having the building knowledge is vital, but so is being able to read the situation and relate to the person in front of you in the appropriate manor.
My mentee pushed me for more information, “so what does this look like?"
Here are some dot points for connecting with a potential new client, or any new social encounter.
- Try to find a common interest as quickly as possible (kids, schools, sports, travel, hobbies ….)
- Always ask leading questions and absorb their answers for use later in the conversation.
- Try to flush out their fears and openly discuss their hesitations.
- Find out what is most important to them, i.e., ask them about their kids and their lifestyle.
- Give them honest feedback about their expectations.
- Let your personality take the lead and trust your intuition.
- It is all about quickly gaining their trust by demonstrating that you are genuinely interested in them as new clients.
“The best way to learn how the world works is to realize how connected everything is. The big lessons from one field can teach you something critical about another field.” Morgan Housel
We all have strengths and weaknesses in our interpersonal skills, and it is valuable to know where these soft skills come from and how we can improve our ability to connect with others.
- Most of your social intelligence comes from your upbringing. You naturally mimic your parent’s social behaviour and learn the basic soft skills for communicating from conversations around the dinner table.
- Participating in team activities, (sports teams, a choir, a music group, an orchestra, a scout group, etc) Being in a team sets the foundations for good social intelligence.
- Learning new skills and personal development expands your mind and challenges you to interact with people more knowledgeable than yourself. Being pushed outside your comfort zone also pushes you to develop your soft skills.
- Doing the work. Practicing your technical skills and work experience in general builds your personal confidence and competence over time, which allows you to be yourself and gain the critical soft skill of social confidence.
- Enduring some hardship. Unfortunately, nothing teaches you empathy and communication skills like losing a loved one or living with a disability or illness. Experiencing tough emotions can be a positive force but only if you lean into them and share your pain with others.
” Soft skills have more to do with who we are than what we know.”
Marcel M Robles
Thanks for reading,
Stay safe and let your soft side shine through.