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John P. Reiling, PMP: Soft Skills Make the Difference

The Pareto Principle, or 80:20 rule, says that we get 80% of the results from 20% of our effort or actions.

…but what is the right 20%?

I recently heard an interview of Gary Vaynerchuk, who is credited with the growth of a local wine shop thourgh internet marketing. Gary is very talented and has a unique style, but what was notable in the interview is that he asserted that 90% of his own personal success is due to soft skills.

And in that interview, Gary demonstrated his unique way of connecting with people, and it made me think about the idea that soft skills are all about practice, conscious effort, and developing our own persona.

What is especially interesting for me is when I pick out a number of individuals who I admire, Gary being someone I recently encountered, and to note how different they are, and yet to note also what they have in common. One thing they have in common is that they clearly practice, learn, and practice some more.

We develop our soft skills over time, and can control the process by being proactive. A little extra effort each day can dramatically enhance our people skills.

One way that I do this is to subscribe to the Nightingale-Conant “Quote of the Day”, where a quote is delivered to my in box, such as these recent installments:

  • “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”
    — Winston Churchill: British politician
  • “We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.”
    –John Dryden: English poet, literary critic, playwright
  • “Everything in the world we want to do or get done, we must
    do with and through people.”
    — Earl Nightingale: American motivational speaker and author

I like quotes, and short ideas like that help to clarify my thinking for the day.

There plenty of other things you can do, like listening to motivational or skills materials in the car on the way to work, or taking some online soft skills training, such as those we offer for PDUs. When you do that, you will surely find those special “nuggets of gold” that make a difference!

When it comes to soft skills, you are unique, specialized, and different. Your first job is to assess your challenges and to place your efforts in the area that will have a major impact on one of your current
challenges.

And one more thing… When it comes to soft skills, everything matters! The little things mean a lot – like how you set up the meeting, saying “Thank you!”, how you interview a prospect, smiling widely and often, how you greet people in the morning, how you handle conflict. It’s a work in progress…an accumulation of many individual actions taken over time…that make a huge difference.

Right now our Special Offer involves management skills… plus we have extremely reduced pricing on soft skills training through the end of the month.

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John Reiling, PMP

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