Soft Skills in the workplace, at home, and in the world

Update: This event will be happening as long as there’s enough interest. There are four seats per mini-conference. To let me know you would like to take part, share your time zone details so I can set up an event that will accommodate it if I can and keep you posted on future event info. You can do that through this page.


Soft Skills: Learning how to listen

Dealing with conflict. Looking into ways to resolve our differences. Not minimizing them by forcing them out of the conversations, pretending they’re not there, and letting them fester on the sidelines until resentment kills the reconnection. Not doing that, but focusing on how to resolve our conflicts, instead. This is the aim of soft skill-building, I feel.

Not assimilating. Not losing ourselves in the places where we are together – the space between ‘I and thou’ as Martin Buber called it.

But being together. Whole, and apart. As we each are. Together.

This is new thinking for me, four years into the pandemic (and counting). I think we had a lot of time to reflect on what life is and what it can be. The quality of relationships can be improved if we learn to trust that we don’t know everything, and we have things to learn from others.

As I observed the people near me becoming more isolated from one another and more lost in our internet spaces, I grew distant, too. It’s easy to do this. To get insular. Go into a silo, fall down the rabbit hole of what you think you know; yet, the longer I’ve been gone the more I understand that maybe finding something out is not the point at all. You don’t know what you don’t know, and that’s why it’s important to remember, You don’t have the answers.

Put that up on a sticker and talk about it in the United States and you are labeled all kinds of things that border on insulting. I recognized it, and I also knew, ‘This is not my problem to solve.’ We have to come to the conclusion ourselves, if we are to find it interesting: staying open to dialogue is key, for understanding, which is a prerequisite for being understood.

Most people just want this, I think. To be understood. To feel seen, and heard.

The important part for me wasn’t to ‘be right’. It was to ask, ‘What else can I learn?’ to stay curious and open, and to go out into the world to look for new things. New people. Surround myself, immerse, and discover. New ideas, new people, new perspectives. When I set out with Kismuth and this blog in 2013, writing an earnest weekly newsletter that now seems quaint and even naive, in its intention, I hoped to grow and change and connect more meaningfully with people everywhere. Somehow, there have been more conflicts than I remember from the past, now, maybe it’s because we’re more vocal, less filtered, the internet being there, and us being on the edge a lot. Many things to say here, but I’m not a sociologist.

Soft skills and interpersonal skills, I feel, have been dwindling the longer we’ve gone into the Age of Anxiety. Just an anecdotal observation. When you went out in public, before, maybe around up until 2006 or 2009 or so, I believe, you’d hear people talking. They’d be in conversation. The kind that flows, is natural, and is peppered with bursts of laughter and exclamations and fun and the craic. That’s an Irish term I learned in that country (See The Elopement, Kismuth Books / 2012).


What traveling taught me about soft skills

I began to see an overlap, in recent years. When we are in foreign countries and seeking to understand new cultures, invariably we will get stuck in places. We won’t understand things. We will make errors. Gaffes, even. We’ll offend people without meaning to and we’ll feel affronted, in turn. It’s natural. It’s the way it is when we don’t know what we don’t know.

Confidently stepping into the unknown: that’s a skill. A soft skill.

Moving into uncertainty and sussing out the situation, and adapting when I got there, then redesigning and recharting a course was often likened to the exact process that one needs to embark on for innovating on their projects, or concepts. This was something that resonated with the people who do consulting work in that arena, and it’s why I got along with them, too. We caught up and talked and learned from each other, thanks to calls on the internet being much more commonplace since 2020, and we learned and co-discovered methods and approaches. I guess I feel like sharing more of what I’ve uncovered all this time, through the soft skills series here in S P A C E with Kismuth Books as the medium because here is where I talked the most about ideas related to people, and interrelating, and connection that has depth and meaning. It’s where I started to write because it felt the most real to me. My own place, to be, with myself and those who opted-in to join the e-conversations.

It still is.


Discuss Soft Skills: connect, converse with me in S P A C E

To start, let me know you’d like to join.

—–> You can use the form on this page.

It’s free, with advance registration. Note: advance bookings take place 48 hours in advance. No late registration for this.

If you can’t join that, here are some other alternatives. I run the studio Design Kompany. Here are some of our events in S P A C E. They are ticketed[$]. The info is at DK’s Eventbrite page.

Here is a link.