Soft skills training ideas are important, primarily because an individual most often enters into an organization based on his or her technical skills, but the people skills, or the soft skills, are the skills that will help him or her open more doors in the future. Soft skills include attitude, work ethic, emotional intelligence, communication skills, and a multitude of other attributes. These are the skills that are most important to success in careers. Though many people believe that soft skills cannot be taught, you actually can implement soft skills training ideas that will benefit your team members.
Setting the Scene
One of the best soft skills training ideas to use when teaching soft skills is improvisational theater. This tool encourages team members to be fully immersed in a situation and to act using the most natural solution. When you use this approach, you will need to use a game that will address a certain skill that you want to teach. Select a topic and the learning objective that you want to focus on. Identify a game that is appropriate for that skill, and then tell a story that connects the game and the learning objective.
Interactive methods require you to deal with a multitude of things and communicate with multiple people simultaneously, and you will need to respect each participant’s needs. Be sure to respect the different personalities you are dealing with, and never push an individual into acting out a situation that he or she is uncomfortable with. If during the exercise you find that individuals are thinking about solutions, remind them to focus on a method rather than on a requirement.
When you are using soft skills training ideas, focus on the positive experiences of individuals rather than the negative ones. Focusing on positive experiences will teach new soft skills. Try to ensure that the soft skills training transfers knowledge of soft skills into practical, new experiences by having team members experience and act out skills. Be sure to create a safe environment that allows both trainers and students the freedom to make mistakes. Playing role games or improvising involves emotion and a risk of losing control, and the trainer often needs to take the lead in clowning around and showing students how to play. This will provide opportunities for students to move beyond their comfort zones and experience new things.
Trying to Excel
With soft skills training ideas one of the challenges is to prevent participants from trying to excel instead of focusing on the methods of their approaches. Following is an example of a game that addresses this issue.
The Buzz Game takes approximately fifteen minutes and works well with ten to twenty players. Create a relaxed situation and have the group stand in a circle. As the trainer, you should stand inside the circle. Ask for someone in the group to volunteer to leave the room, and when someone accepts the challenge, have the group applaud him or her. When the person leaves the room, ask for a second volunteer who will go with him or her to ensure nothing happening within the room is heard or seen. When the second volunteer leaves, tell the remaining group members that they are in the roles of customers who want a product. Have them decide the product that they want, and instruct them that they can only give clues to the volunteer in regards to what the product is by pantomiming, acting it out. When the two volunteers reenter the room, you can begin the exercise.
Participants will take turns trying to act out what the product is, and when the volunteer’s guesses head in the right direction, the other participants should make a buzzing sound. Participants will need to think and act as a group rather than as individuals, with a focus on experience rather than excellence. When the volunteer finally makes the correct guess, congratulate him or her with a round of applause.
Soft Skills Training Ideas in the Workplace
With so much that happens in the workplace being dependent on communication, interaction, and cooperation, soft skills training ideas are extremely important. Try to observe what is happening in the workplace on a daily basis so that you can identify the soft skills that you want to improve to enhance performance.