Soft skills: Their importance at events
Some examples of important soft skills to train.
Let's start with the definition, with the help of specialist Rita Oliveira Pelica, co-organiser of the Soft Skills & Personal Marketing Course - ISEG and Business Unit Manager EGOR Outsourcing. "Soft skills are personal and social (interpersonal) skills that enable the individual to 'facilitate' their interactions with other people. It is a form of personal empowerment with a strong impact on the relationship with third parties, whether in work context or at a more personal level. That is, these skills are reflected in the attitudes and behaviours that we have daily and that identify us, can differentiate us and end up being part of our brand image." An example of a soft skill may be the ability to communicate, to lead, to work in groups. All of these, in fact, are fundamental for those who want to work in events, an activity of intense pressure.
In the business world, in organisations in general, these skills are increasingly important. "The term itself is fashionable and already buzzword in the human resources area. By contrast, hard skills - techniques - are a starting point that are no longer so differentiating!", says Rita Oliveira Pelica. It will be notoriously insufficient nowadays to present a bachelor's or master's degree, without displaying anything else. "What is becoming increasingly distinctive and sought after by companies is people's ability to 'add value' to the organisation, but through their critical thinking, problem-solving ability, creativity and emotional intelligence," the specialist points out. Professionals must, in a process of self‑knowledge, in work-in-progress mode of continuous improvement, reinforce and improve skills where they already have some ability and should emphasise their investment in the development of skills where they are more fragile".
And Rita Oliveira Pelica gives good news: you can train soft skills. "Personally, I like to call them neuro-skills, in the sense that our brain (being neuroplastic) has the ability to continually learn." For this, the expert warns, "It's a matter of focus and priority setting - professionals who enter the labour market and those who wish to evolve in their professional career must invest in them. You have to be smart and not just soft! " And are Millennials (born after 1980) more prepared from this soft skills point of view? Rita Pelica does not put the focus in generational terms. "This subject has to be treated from the personal point of view, of the individual. There are baby boomers [born between 1946 and 1964] who really need to work on their soft skills, but there are people from generations X [born in the mid 60s and 1980s] and Y [Millennials] who also have that need." The expert believes that the great challenge of organisations nowadays is being cross-generational, and therefore "having to ensure that there is an alignment between organisational culture and the development of its employees (also known as employee engagement ". In short, "the process of training soft skills has to be done by each professional, following the logic of lifelong learning. No professional can dismiss himself from this responsibility!"
Soft skills and events
We went looking for published information on the subject and listed some of the soft skills worth investing in if you work at events.
In an activity that can have several setbacks, staying positive can ensure good energy, motivation and confidence in the team.
At events you deal with people, customers, participants, suppliers. The ability to communicate with them and to establish bridges is essential.
Ability to work effectively, under pressure
In an area in which pressure is clearly great, events happen on that day, at that time, and nothing can go wrong, the ability to adapt to unexpected and to solve problems is very important. Of course many of the setbacks can be avoided with planning, but they still can happen.
Being a good listener
Listening carefully to all clues given by customers is essential to make sure the event goes as they imagined it, or even better.
Being a team player
It is a very important competence in events. An event manager manages people and it is vital to know how to work with others for the common good.
The success of an event depends greatly on organisation, discipline, and having everything planned to the detail.
Good time management
When events are not planned in the necessary advance, the ability to manage time well so everything is ready at the right time is very relevant.
To the very last minute, your client will probably want to mess with the event. The ability to be flexible and to adjust will certainly help you to deal with the situation.
The ability to perform multiple tasks at the same time is an advantage for those who want to work at events.
This activity requires you to think outside the box, including problem-solving.
An event manager has to be able to lead teams, juggle suppliers, come forward and solve all sorts of situations with which he is confronted.
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