Consider this….you are at a museum. You are strolling through the exhibits as your eyes try to adjust to what you are seeing hanging on the walls. Nothing makes any sense. You look at the piece of art and shake your head and walk out of the museum thinking, “ I can do that”. That was the scene that played out in hushed tones, over and over again as I spent time studying and wandering from museum to museum throughout my college years.
I graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in painting and art history which is a far cry from being a soft skills trainer, or is it?
My very first job out of college was as a docent in an NYC museum. The groups of tourists that I ushered around the museum knew next to nothing about art. My job was to make the art come alive for them through communicating the story. Art history can be very dry when all you are talking about are dates and timelines. I found that through the use of analogies and telling stories, I was able to make the art come alive, which resulted in a significant appreciation of what they were looking at – it seemed to make more sense. I was able to see those ” lightbulb”moments where what I said resonated with them.
It occurred to me then that what I was doing was “ selling ”. Selling an idea, selling a story, selling the art. Selling for me became synonymouswith education. People were able to make more informed decisions about what they were looking at. I realized that the only control I had was the way I delivered the content of the information. That is when the Training Facilitator in me was born.
Working at the NYTimes selling ad space to art galleries seemed like the perfect start to my journey. Talking art the benefits of advertising the gallery was a convenient fit. I went through my share of sales jobs related and began to take on more of a training mindset. I realized that having content and product knowledge was not enough, I wanted to solve problems and by design make things better. I was selected to work with on-boarding an important step in starting at any company, preparing employees for their role in the department.
A staggering 80% of graduates expect to be formally trained by their first employer, while more that half of those who graduated in the past two years reported receiving no training at all in their first position.
For some reason, organizations seem to expect people to know how to behave on the job. They tend to assume that everyone knows and understands the importance of being on time, taking initiative, being friendly, and producing high quality work.
According to CareerBuilder, 77% of employers say that soft skills, or the desirable qualities that apply across a variety of jobs and life situations — integrity, communication, courtesy, responsibility, professionalism and teamwork — are just as important as hard skills.
Employers should recognize that they are not going to get the perfect employee walking through your door on day one. They will have to be trained on these essential skills and a brief on-boarding will not fix performance issues, team effectiveness, or countless other symptoms.
The problem is, the importance of soft skills is often undervalued, and there is far less training provided for them than hard skills. Training is not a “quick fix” solution to enlighten employees and thus cure negative behaviors once and for all. To get long lasting results and ensure success of employee development, recogize that trainers need to take the time to truly understand the need for the training.
A soft skill trainer is a person who simply trains people on their “people skills” the person basically is also soft skilled with great ability to manage people. It’s not enough that I have a good understanding of the problems, my clients must have a comprehensive understanding of their systems, and how they need to align with change and have the ongoing support of their leaders. In this way, as a Trainer, I am able to directly influence employee careers.
My passion for developing people and my commitment to continous improvement is what drives me , what gets me to work in the morning (along with that first cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee).
Throughout the years, regardless of my role in training projects, I have come to realize that an principal component in my soft skills training facilitation journey has been my commitment to my own core values and taking the initiative to make things better for employers and employees alike.
All of these essential 21st century soft skills are the missing puzzle pieces that are not taught in schools. Training employees is a constant goal for organizations. These are the skills that help people become more employable and effective leaders and contributors.
I enable, I help, and I offer a broad expert overview, rather than narrow self-interest. I am keenly enthusiastic about making a difference with a smile and a sense of humor and eager to support others to do their best work. As an Aries/Trailblazer, I am always looking at new technologies, ideas, and methodologies to improve my soft skills training facilitation.
A quality soft skills trainer is a must to further this goal to attain maximum results. I came across a organization in Canada, called SkillsCamp, whose mission statement aligned perfectly with my values. Check out Skillscamp for training -http://www.skillscamp.co/soft-skills/from-art-history-to-soft-skills-training/
I invite you to share your story or thoughts, or comments. You can email or contact me for more information on selecting and sourcing the right soft skills trainer or to develop soft skills/interpersonal skills training that will transform your employees here in the USA.