Questions

What 'soft' skills have best contributed to your success as an entrepreneur?

I am looking for advice from established business leaders who were able to start from 0 and build their success. It doesn't matter what field you're in and whether you're technical or not.

5answers

Whenever I think of skills, the first one I think of is people skills. I think that is the most important type of skill-set to have. Knowing how to treat and talk to people is beyond important in the workplace. When you know how to talk and treat people, it really doesn't matter what kind of product you are selling. When you make it about the person and not the product, walls fall down. Learning how to read people and get a feel for their personality has really helped too. It's a shame more management teams don't take the time to learn and teach this to their staff.

I hope that helps!


Answered 8 years ago

Entrepreneurship requires a specific "set" of skills and psychological traits. Some of the most important soft skills are communication/interpersonal, analytical, & problem-solving skills.

The psychological dimension involves the ability to manage risks, recover and learn from setbacks quickly (resilience), persistence and empathy among others.

For me, learning sales via telemarketing helped a lot. It helped me develop thick skin to handle rejection, learn to listen and understand customer need, as well as close. Many people have difficulty closing the sale because they don't feel worthy.

Sales experience through any means is probably the best preparation for entrepreneurship because it helps you develop the ability to communicate and sell, as well as the ability to manage rejection and recover quickly.

I interview some very successful entrepreneurs at Trep Talks (http://treptalks.com)


Answered 8 years ago

Guts and a sense of humor. Both of those have seen me through 15 years of being an entrepreneur. You have to have the guts to ask for the sale and a sense of humor when things get hairy. Good luck to you!


Answered 8 years ago

I was asked often by this question, my answer is always the same, not everyone can be entrepreneur, it is always about how much strong desire he/she want to be successful? how much commitment put into success. Does she/he REALLY REALLY want to be success. I think most critical traits are perseverance and persistent and strong determination, how much exactly he knows what he want in business or life. It is a learning journey, none of us is perfect, from people skills, negotiation skills, sales, marketing and branding, we can learn along the journey or get a mentor in a specifically area. However, apart from the 3 traits I talked about, the top significance is about how RELATIONSHIP, if you know someone from business networking or other events, it is really all about how to create relationship with people and providing value, only you have the relationship and getting the stage of leverage. There is no such thing of self-made.

One relationship, one story, one success


Answered 6 years ago

We all are born different, with different mind set and though patterns. It is really difficult to say which soft skills will exactly help you out, it depends one you as to which one suits you, I can provide you a deep insight into the world of soft skills and it is for you to decide, which one would you choose. Soft skills are the personal character traits or qualities each of us has. They make us who we are, generally encompassing our attitudes, habits and how we interact with other people. They refer to abilities that make people better employees and open doors for many opportunities that are not directly related to the subject matter of their jobs. In other words, soft skills refer to a person’s ability to relate to others, to get him/her and others organised, to communicate in written, spoken, or other forms.
Soft skills have been defined by the World Health Organisation as follows: “These are the abilities for adaptive and positive behaviour that enable individuals to deal with the demands and challenges of everyday life.”
UNICEF defines these skills (called life skills) as: “A behaviour change or behaviour development approach designed to address a balance of three areas: knowledge, attitude and skills.”
Soft skills include psycho-social abilities and interpersonal skills that help people take decisions, solve problems, think critically, communicate effectively, build healthy relationships, demonstrate qualities of leadership and team building, manage time effectively, and cope with the stress and strain of life in a healthy and productive manner.
Essentially, there are two kinds of skills – those related to thinking called ‘thinking skills’ and skills related to dealing with others called ‘social skills.’ While thinking skills relate to the personal level, social skills include interpersonal skills. It is the combination of these two types of skills that are needed for achieving behaviour change and negotiating effectively.
NEED FOR SOFT SKILLS: Soft skills allow us to use our technical skills and knowledge effectively and efficiently. They improve the way we interact with our bosses, co-workers, and customers/clients. They permit us to get our work done on time. They influence how we feel about our jobs and how others perceive us. Consequently, the demand for and reliance on soft skills is on the increase due to constant change in the work environment, customer-driven market, information-based technology and globalization. The development of soft skills in this market is important as there is intense competition for many available positions. The ability to develop and use soft skills can make the difference between the achiever and the non-achiever. Earlier the focus of management was on ‘hard’ skills. The emphasis was on the technical skills necessary to perform effectively. These skills tended to be more closely related to the actual task being performed. But now every single occupation you can think of demands that you have specific character traits. Moreover, an important thing to note is that soft skills are transferable between occupations. While you may have to go back to school to learn new technical skills if you change careers, you can always take your soft skills with you since they are valued in a variety of fields. Today, employers want people with efficient soft skills. These are key skills to effective performance across all job categories. As the world has changed, and the nature of work has changed, the skill set required of managers and other executives has changed. Today’s business is all about people. It is about communication, relationships and about presenting yourself, your company, and your ideas in the most positive and impactful way. Many business people like to think that success is based on logical, rational thoughts and acts, but it is also to be remembered that the human element is as important as the skills mentioned above. That is why a strong soft skills set is considered to be particularly important.
Let us look at the Soft Skills one by one and understand them:
1. Personality Development: Personality is the way we look, feel, and behave. It is the totality of a person’s being –not merely the external appearance but also various other traits.
Personality includes the following:
1. Character traits:
i. Integrity: a person’s honesty in dealing with others, loyalty to one’s beliefs, value systems etc.
ii. Acceptance: by others who come into contact with a person and recognizing and accepting them as a whole.
iii. Discipline: refers to a person’s disciplined approach to life and work.
iv. Dedication: refers to the commitment a person shows towards the achievement of individual as well as group goals.
v. Behavioural traits:
vi. Interpersonal skills: the way a person develops and sustains interpersonal relations with all those he/she has dealings with – bosses, co-workers, fellow students, customers/clients, suppliers, private and government organisations.
vii. Communication skills: refer to the effective way a person communicates with others through various channels – writing, speaking, listening, and using positive body language.
viii. Leadership qualities: refer to the qualities which help a person behave in a leadership position – getting work done willingly, exercising participative leadership style, and be a role model by setting example.
ix. Team management: refers to the effectiveness with which a person demonstrates ability to build and manage team in order to achieve the desired goals and objectives.
x. Stress management: the quality of keeping cool in stressful circumstances, identifying the factors causing stress, and finding solutions to reduce – if not eliminate altogether –the stressors.
2. Attitudes:
i. Positive attitude: be able to have a positive attitude even in the face of difficulties and impossible situations, and be willing to try out ideas in the face of obstacles and hardships.
ii. Win/Win situation: be able to negotiate and bring around the other person to an acceptable solution to a problem – thus creating a win/win situation for both the parties.
iii. Keep the end in mind: be able to focus on the ultimate end (goal) in mind bypassing the various problems that may crop up on the way.
iv. Synergize: be able to combine or work together in order to be more effective, or to make things or people do this.

There are several types of personality people have. Some of these are:
i. Perfectionists: They are never satisfied till they achieve perfection. Sometimes people forget that there is nothing which can be absolutely ‘perfect’; it may be rather very close to the idea of being perfect. Such people are usually a source of stress for themselves as well as for others working with them. However, such people cannot be categorically criticized for aiming at total perfection as they tend to achieve excellent results.
ii. Helpers: They are always willing to help others in times of need – with guidance, advice, resources etc.
iii. Romantics: They are sometimes called dreamers and think of innovative ideas which sometimes people think are impractical. But sometimes the craziest idea can lead to a wonderful new design, product, or service. Quite often the world moves on the shoulders of dreamers. If we cannot dream, we can’t think, we can’t imagine, we may not be able to act on some new idea.
iv. Achievers: These are the people who are determined to achieve what they have planned for. They put all their efforts in performing to their utmost capacity, show dedication to the task in hand, and ultimately reach their goal. It is the expected sense of achievement that propels such people.
v. Asserters: These people neither remain passive nor aggressive in any situation. They rather assert their rights, respect the rights of others, and have the innate ability to convince others and thus elicit cooperation from all.
vi. Questioners: They are ‘Doubting Toms.’ They question everybody’s opinion, behaviour, ideas, way of working etc., and quite often are dissatisfied with the outcome. Others quite often misunderstand such people and consider them to be obstacles to progress.
vii. Adventurers: They are ever ready to take risks in order to reach their goal. No risk is too big for them, and so they believe in experimentation with an adventurous spirit.
viii. Observers: There are some who are great observers of people and things around them. They visibly – or surreptitiously sometimes – observe people, events, things, environment etc., and are often a source of important information which others might not have noticed. Quite often such people are good at analysing things, events, people etc.
ix. Peacemakers: They avoid confrontational situations, and always take initiative in making peace with different parties who may be at loggerheads with each other.

Personality development is gaining more and more importance because it enables people to create a good impression about themselves on others. It helps them to build and develop relationships, helps in their career growth. Some people have particularly charismatic persona, while others are strong listeners and advice-givers. It is important to have the ability to build on and develop strengths, while at the same time acknowledging and working to improve on the weak points in your personality. After all, personality development is a tool that helps you realise your capabilities and your strengths making you a stronger, a happier and a successful person.

2. Communication Skills: All of us use communication skills when we use them at home with our family members, at school or college with our classmates and teachers, in the workplace with our bosses and colleagues, on our computers when we answer emails, and on the telephone when we order pizza. In fact, communication is the lifeblood of social as well business world. Communication is the process by which we give, receive or exchange information with others. Communication means interacting with others:
1. To promote understanding.
2. To achieve a result of some kind.
3. To pass information to another person so that they can act.
It can involve speaking, listening, or writing. This information does not necessarily need to be hard facts. Sometimes just a shrug of the shoulder can act as our means of communication.
KEY ELEMENTS OF COMMUNICATION:
There are three key elements in the communication process. They are the following:
i. You: You bring professional experience, education, and training to the communication process. How you communicate shows you.
ii. Your audience: In order to be an effective communicator, you need to know who your audience is. You need different means, content, and language with different categories of people.
iii. Your message: The message element is equally important. What do you want to say? What is the best way to communicate your message? All messages should contain who, what, when, where, why and how (as appropriate to the message).

Effective messages have the following characteristics:
1. Clear: Communication should be clear and self-explanatory about why it has been transmitted.
2. Complete: The information given should be complete and should not have any scope for questions.
3. Correct: The information provided should be correct and based on facts. Facts should be given rather than impressions.
4. Save reader’s time: Written communication should be such that the reader saves time in understanding the message.
5. Create goodwill: The pleasant, correct and clear message will result in creating goodwill for the sender of the message.
6. Clarify and condense information: Business messages should frequently use tables, photos or diagrams to clarify or condense information, to explain a process, or to emphasize important information.
7. State precise responsibilities: Business messages are directed to specific audience. Therefore, you must clearly state what is expected of, or what you can do for, that audience.
8. Persuade and recommend: Business messages are frequently given to customers, clients, management, or subordinates to accept the suggestions and recommendations given.
3. Interpersonal Skills: Interpersonal relationship skills are the soft skills or life skills we use every day to interact with other people, both individually and in groups. Interpersonal communication is the process by which people exchange information, feelings, and meaning through verbal and non-verbal messages. It is face-to-face communication and is not just what is actually said but how it is said, and the non-verbal messages sent through tone or voice, facial expressions, gestures and other body language. These skills help us to relate in positive ways with the people we interact with. This may mean being able to make and sustain friendly relationships, which can be of great importance to our mental, social, and professional well-being.
Interpersonal relationship needs to be maintained with a wide variety of people, for example:
1. Parents
2. Spouse
3. Children
4. Family members
5. Students
6. Teachers
7. Neighbours
8. Co-workers
9. Bosses
While dealing with different sets of people, different skills are used as per the situation.
We engage in some form of interpersonal communication on a regular basis. How well we communicate with others is a measure of our interpersonal skills.
We use these skills to:
1. Exchange information.
2. Establish contacts and maintain relationships.
3. Express personal needs and understand the needs of others.
4. Give and receive emotional support.
5. Make decisions and solve problems.
6. Anticipate and predict behaviour; and
7. Influence the attitudes and behaviour of others.

Mainly there are three factors that affect interpersonal relationships:
1. Attitude
2. Prejudice
3. Stereotype

1. ATTITUDE:
The following elements of attitude play a vital role in interpersonal relationships:
1. Object-based: We form our attitudes directed towards a person, a group, an event, religion etc. We form specific opinions and behave accordingly.
2. Direction: We could have a positive or a negative approach.
3. Stability: We could be highly stable in our perception or be flexible as per the demands of a particular situation.
4. Motivational properties: In certain circumstances we could be ready to act in a particular way, and act differently in another situation. What motivates us to act in a certain way differs from person to person, and from situation to situation.
5. Learnt behaviour: We are not born with specific attitudes. We learn to have a certain attitude through our experiences with people and environment.
6. Manifestation as behaviour: Our attitudes are manifested in our behaviour. They lead us to behave in a particular fashion as attitude and behaviour are closely linked with each other.
7. Components of attitude: Attitude has three important components:
8. Cognitive: beliefs, value systems.
9. Affective: pleasant or unpleasant feelings, attraction or aversion.
10. Behavioural: actual behaviour in relation to a person or an object – positive or negative.
These three components have to be in harmony with each other. Any inconsistency causes tension and anxiety in all concerned.
2. PREJUDICE:
Our prejudices (unfair or unreasonable opinions) are crucial in the formation of attitudes:
1. Biased attitude: We prejudge people based on unfair and unreasonable opinion or feeling in respect of religion, race, colour, nationality etc. We do so without having sufficient knowledge and it is based on limited experience.
2. Sources of prejudice:
3. Socialization practices: based on imitation of elders.
4. Personality characteristics: categorizing people as black and white, or being for/against people.
5. Inter-group conflicts: majority vs minority in terms of numbers, hostility or friendliness.

3. STEREOTYPE: We stereotype people, and are unwilling to change our opinion. We do so as follow:
1. Over-generalized beliefs: categorizing individuals and groups on account of pre-conceived notions, e.g. Asians, Jews, politicians.
2. Resistance to change: being adamant and refusing to change.

4. Team Building: Building a team and working with it effectively and harmoniously is quite a daunting task. It is said that: “It is easy to get the players, getting them to play together, that’s the hardest part.” Anyone can get the requisite number of team members (for a football team, for example) but it is another matter to develop it into a cohesive group wherein all the members perform in sync with each other. It requires a lot of effort and skills to transform individual members of a group into a team the members of which act in the interest of the whole team rather than focusing on individual glory or satisfaction.
IMPORTANCE OF HUMAN RELATIONS:
A team functions successfully if all the members keep their personal egos aside and maintain actionable human relations. In this context, it is advisable to remember the following:
The 6 most important words:
“I admit I made a mistake.”
The 5 most important words:
“You did a good job.”
The 4 most important words:
“What is your opinion?
The 3 most important words:
“Will you please?”
The 2 most important words:
“Thank you.”
The 1 most important word:
“We”
The least important word:
“I”
No group can be banded together in an effective team unless the individuals forego their individual aspirations and work for achieving team goals and objectives.
It is a group of people who come together in order to:
i. Solve a problem.
ii. Meet an objective; or
iii. Tackle an issue.
The interests of individuals merge into the interests of the team wherein there is supremacy of team goals over individual goals. The different members bring in various ideas, discuss together all the pros and cons, and take a collective decision.
It is a fact that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Individuals, who are the parts of the team, bring with them a range of various elements.
They are:
i. Talents
ii. Knowledge
iii. Contacts
iv. Attitudes
When all these elements are put together, they ensure the effective working of a team as a well-knit unit.
An effective team can be built by following these guidelines:
1. Get to know one another: likes, dislikes attitudes, aptitudes, beliefs, aspirations, individual goals.
2. Establish consensus: efforts must be made to ensure that everybody’s viewpoint is discussed but ultimately decisions are taken by consensus.
3. Identify available resources: not only the resources which are readily available but also the ones that can be easily arranged.
4. Establish rules of behaviour: members to demonstrate behaviour that encourages team spirit and respect for each other’s viewpoint.
5. Cooperate: when the team has reached a decision in spite of any individual’s objections, they need to consider it as a team decision and cooperate in performing all those tasks which are required in achieving the team’s objectives.

5. Leadership: An organisation is made up of groups of people. An essential part of management is coordinating the activities of groups and directing the efforts of their members towards the goals and objectives of the organisation. This involves the process of leadership and the choice of an appropriate form of behaviour.
Leadership might be interpreted in simple terms, such as:
a) ‘getting others to follow;’
b) ‘getting people to do things willingly;’ or
c) Interpreted more specifically as the ‘use of authority in decision making.’

We can also say that: “It is interpersonal influence which is exercised in a situation and directed through the communication process towards the attainment of a specified goal”.
Tead (1935) says: “Leadership is that combination of qualities by the possession of which one is able to get something done by others, chiefly because through his influence they become willing to do it.”
Since leadership is an inspirational process, a leader influences long-term changes in attitude. It does not necessarily take place within the hierarchical structure, and many people operate without role definition. Leadership is related to motivation and the process of communication through which one person influences the behaviour of other people. The process of leadership is not separable from the activities of the group. Effective leadership is a two-way process.
Lord Sieff (1991) explains that: “Leadership is vitally important at all levels within the company, from main board to the shop floor. Leadership is the moral and intellectual ability to visualize and work for what is best for the company and its employees…The most vital thing the leader does is to create team spirit around him and near him, not in a schoolboy sense, but in realistic terms of mature adults…To be effective leadership has to be seen, and it is best seen in action.”
A leader may:
1. Be imposed.
2. Be formally appointed.
3. Be chosen informally; or
4. Emerge naturally.
Leadership may be:
1. Attempted leadership: when an individual in the group attempts to exert influence over other members of the group.
2. Successful leadership: when the influence brings about the behaviour and results that were intended by the leader.
3. Effective leadership: when successful leadership results in desirable functional behaviour and the achievement of group goals.
Leadership may also involve:
1. Exercise through greater knowledge, expertise or reputation.
2. Personal qualities or charisma.
3. Manner of exercising authority.
4. Adoption of a particular style of leadership.
Dynamic form: Leadership is a dynamic form of behaviour and there are a number of variables that affect it. According to McGregor, “leadership is not the property of individual, but a complex relationship among these variables.” He has specified the following variables:
1. Characteristics of the leader.
2. Attitudes, needs and other personal characteristics of group members.
3. Nature of the organisation, such as its purpose, its structure, the tasks to be performed.
4. Social, economic, and political environment.

6. Time Management: Effective time management is simply about self-discipline. There is no magic formula, no piece of paper to fill in which will suddenly make you good at managing your time. Everyone has a lot of work to do and not enough time to do it. However, we can all think of people who seem very organised and others who have the same amount of work to do, but the first kind manage to do it in time, and better too. The first lesson to learn about time management is that in the real world of work, things go wrong. Computers break down, files go missing, and problems crop up and so on. These things will always happen and there is really no way of avoiding them. This means developing and using a simple set of time management systems that work for you. Before you start to plan on what and when you spend your time you need to know how much time you have available to you. The way you manage and budget your time is remarkably similar to the way you manage and budget your money. Imagine your salary. At the end of each month you are paid a sum which you know about in advance. You therefore know how much you can afford to spend on things like mortgages, bills, food, clothes etc. If in any given month you receive a particularly large bill you adjust your expenditure accordingly. You may choose not to go for dinner for instance, or not to put money away to save. You can do this because you know exactly what your income and expenditure is.
You also know how much time you have available to you, which is, 60 minutes in an hour, and 24 hours in a day and so on. The amount of time available is static. You also usually know how long you must take to complete any particular task because most tasks have deadlines. So once you know this you can start budgeting your time, just as you would budget your money.
You can manage your time by adhering to the following:
1. What is the purpose of your job?
2. What are you expected to do?
3. What is the time scale for doing it?
4. What do you need to do (which tasks do you need to carry out) in order to achieve that purpose?

Work falls in two categories:
1. Reactive tasks: There are certain tasks for which you have to provide immediate response. There is no time to plan for them.
2. Proactive tasks: These are the tasks about which you know in advance, and so can plan accordingly.
In order to manage your time as per the situation created by reactive or proactive tasks you need to follow the following course of action:
1. You need to know (approximately) what percentage of your working day and week you spend on either proactive or reactive tasks.
2. Plan for the proactive tasks.
3. Leave time for reactive tasks.
4. Never leave things until the last minute. Plan in the time that you intend to spend on a certain job and stick to it.
One of the most common mistakes people make in managing their priorities is that they leave the ‘big’ and important tasks until last while they clear up the ‘little’ jobs. Of course, what normally happens is that they get to the end of the day and realize they have spent the whole day in doing relatively unimportant tasks and facing interruptions, and then feel stressed because they still have to attend to the important jobs.
7. Presentation Skills: Presentation is a method of communicating your ideas and thoughts on a given topic. Doing an academic or business presentation can be a difficult task – particularly when you are doing it for the first time – but once you practise, it will come easily to you. Presentations can be amazingly effective in making your point clear. It may be just an internal presentation – perhaps to your colleagues/classmates, or to your boss or it may be a marketing or technical presentation. Perhaps it may be to a large group.
You must organise yourself well before you can even think of making a presentation:
STEP-1: PLAN YOUR PRESENTATION
When you decide to make a presentation, take care of the following:
a) Subject: You must be thoroughly conversant with the subject of your presentation.
b) Collect information: Collect all the information required – from your knowledge and experience, colleagues/classmates, books and journals, Internet etc.
c) Size and type of audience: You must know in advance who your audience is going to be. You should analyse audience needs beforehand. Answers to these questions will enable you to plan accordingly:
i. Are they your co-workers/classmates?
ii. Or people you don’t know?
iii. What is their level of knowledge of the subject?
iv. How many people will be present?
v. Aids to be used: Decide what aids you will use:
vi. PowerPoint?
vii. White board and marker?
viii. Flipchart?
ix. Just speak?
However, these days almost all presentations are made with the aid of PowerPoint.

STEP-2: PREPARE YOUR PRESENTATION
i. Write the script in points:
ii. Introduction
iii. Main body – points you want to discuss
iv. Prepare notes on small index card for you to use when making a presentation (if you are not using PowerPoint).
v. Prepare PowerPoint presentation. Do not write paragraphs. Write points only, and click point by point instead of the whole slide. This will help the audience to concentrate on the point you are talking about.
STEP-3: PRACTISE YOUR PRESENTATION:
i. Practise either by yourself or in front of a small audience. You can do so in front of a mirror also if nobody is available.
ii. Check your timing. Quite often you may practise either by yourself or in front of a small audience. You can do so in front of a mirror also if nobody is available.
STEP-4: MAKE YOUR PRESENTATION:
1. Get rid of stage fear.
2. Be confident.
3. Talk normally.
4. Preferably start with a simple and appropriate ice-breaker. Maintain proper and regular eye contact with the audience.
5. Look at the points only. Then speak from memory.
6. Always stand while making a presentation. Sitting presentations lose their effectiveness as the invisible thread of eye contact with the audience is lost.
7. Correct body language is important. Use hand movements and gestures to emphasise your points.
8. Make your presentation interactive. You may elicit information from the participants instead of giving out all of it yourself.
9. You may break the monotony with a small game relevant to the subject of your presentation (depending on the length of your presentation).
10. At the end, ask if there are any questions. Answer them with confidence.
11. Provide your contact details (someone may want to contact you for clarifications).
12. Thank the audience for their patience and participation.

8. Managing Stress: Increasingly you are called on to deal with stressful situations related to work or education. You are often judged on how you perform on these occasions. But how often do you discuss stress? If you are in a demanding job, raising children, planning an event, preparing for an examination or living in a fast-paced environment, this could probably be at least once a week. Stress is derived from the Latin word ‘stringere’ meaning ‘to tighten.’ Through centuries it has meant many different things to different people. In 17th century it was associated with hardship and distress. In 18th and 19th centuries it was associated with Physics and Engineering when people were concerned with metal withstanding stress. Now people talk of stress with reference to mental pressure in performing a certain task or having some kind of situation which is worrying them. However, it has become an inescapable part of modern life, and we can say that:
a) Everyone seems to rush and hurry, with deadlines to meet and targets to achieve ‘yesterday’;
b) It is about pressure and the reaction it produces within you;
c) It can be brought about by external or internal factors – internal factors are harder to deal with;
d) It creates an imbalance between the level of demand placed upon you and your capability of meeting that demand.
You need to recognize what stress is and what causes it. Only then you can learn how to deal with it. You must understand that:
a) Stress is normal, and indeed with no stress we would be dead;
b) Stress is a very individual thing and everyone has very different stress levels;
c) Successful stress management requires you to recognize when you are experiencing stress;
d) We are a like a set of scales with scissors being various weights, and we need to recognize optimum levels in order to maintain a balance.

9. Thinking Skill: Learning does not mean only rote learning which is the memorisation of information based on repetition. Examples of rote learning are the alphabet, rhymes and poems, numbers, multiplication tables, statistical and chemical formulae etc. However, its role is limited to learning of basic facts and figures. In order to pursue higher levels of learning or to move up in your chosen profession, it will be helpful if thinking skills are developed. It will ensure that the learning that takes place will not only be based on real understanding of the subject but will also be of a more lasting nature. It is more so because such learning will be borne out of one’s own conviction. You can improve your thinking skills by understanding specific types of thinking, how they work, and practising to improve your thinking abilities. As you become more conscious about these skills, you become a better learner and a more efficient practitioner of your profession.
FOCUSING SKILLS: These involve paying attention to selected units of information and discarding others that may not be relevant to the situation. This can be achieved by doing the following:
1. Clarify your needs;
2. Sort out discrepancies;
3. Ignore situations that confuse you;
4. Define the problem;
5. Decide the purpose;
6. Think of the direction; and
7. Set goals and objectives.

INFORMATION COLLECTION SKILLS: These involve thinking of the relevant data which is required for further processing. You can do this by following these strategies:
1) Observe around you.
2) Get information using various resources.
3) Spot new information.
4) Question its validity; and
5) Select what is relevant for your purpose.
REMEMBERING SKILLS: This means storing the information that you have collected. You can do this as follows:
1. Store the new information in long-term memory; and
2. Retrieve it from long-term memory when you need to use it.
ORGANISING SKILLS: All the information that you collect must be organised systematically so that you may easily retrieve it when needed. This is like filing your documents in separate folders with clear indication of what each folder contains. You can do this in the following manner:
1) Sort out information having similar and different attributes.
2) Group the information based on their similarities and differences.
3) Label them accordingly; and
4) Put them in sequential order.
ANALYSING SKILLS: This means examining the different parts of information and their inter-relationship. This can be done as follows:
1. Decide the characteristics of various parts.
2. Identify the patterns of relationship between different parts.
3. Identify the main ideas and sub-ideas; and
4. Identify if there are any logical errors and correct them wherever possible.
GENERATING SKILLS: It means producing new ideas. This is how you can do so:
1. Think beyond the available information.
2. Anticipate what could happen; and
3. Explain by adding details and examples.
INTEGRATING SKILLS: This means that after you have collected information and generated new ideas, you have to connect the information in order to fit the different pieces in a logical manner i.e. you have to integrate all the relevant information. For this, you must do the following:
1) Make a summary of all the information by combining it in a precise and understandable statement; and
2) Reorganize the existing information to make way for new information.
EVALUATING SKILLS: This means looking at the quality and logic of the information collected. So you evaluate it in the following manner:
1) Set standards which you would like to have.
2) Set up criteria that you will apply for judging the relevance and validity of information; and
3) Verify the accuracy of information you have collected.

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Answered 10 months ago

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