How To Develop Your Soft Skills

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How To Develop Your Soft Skills

Article by Alex McClafferty (Forbes)

Soft skills.

In this post, I’ll outline six soft skills that will help you succeed as an entrepreneur, why they matter and where you can learn more about each skill.


“The best vision is insight.” – Malcolm S. Forbes

Empathy is the #1 soft skill you can develop as an entrepreneur.

Sympathy is feeling compassion or commiseration for another person, while empathy is when you project yourself into them and feel what they are feeling.

Empathy will help you understand your customer, write better copy and motivate your team.

To develop your empathy, listen more and talk less. To really ‘understand where someone is coming from’, ask thoughtful and probing questions that draw out implications and feelings. When you listen intently and talk less, you’ll be amazed at how much more insight you glean from a short conversation.

This popular video explains the difference between sympathy and empathy.


“Place a higher priority on discovering what a win looks like for the other person.” – Harvey Robbins

For first timers, negotiation feels terribly awkward.

By definition, you seek conflict to work towards an agreement. Yes, it is counterintuitive. Luckily, you can rapidly improve your negotiation skills with focus and practice.

There are three keys to negotiating;

Prepare yourself with everything you can to support your position
Know your BATNA (Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement)
Keep your emotions in check
If you haven’t negotiated before, visit a local market and find an item you like. Then, ask for a 10% discount. If the storekeeper asks you why; tell them you are looking for a deal. If you get rejected, no problem – dust yourself off. If they say OK, try the ‘nibble’ technique and ask for another concession.

For a play by play negotiation script, read this post by Tim Ferriss.

Public Speaking

“There are certain things in which mediocrity is not to be endured, such as poetry, music, painting and public speaking.” – Jean de la Bruyere

To become a successful public speaker, you need to:

Craft an interesting story
Accept discomfort
Talk to people

There is an enormous crossover between learning sales and public speaking. They both involve speaking with potential customers, working through a script and facing your fear. You get to learn sales without having to cold-call. Ask any outbound insurance salesman and they will tell you – it’s a win!

If you know how to use PowerPoint or Keynote, you earn extra points. The best public speakers work on the assumption their equipment will fail… and you should do the same.