5 Underrated Skills That Everyone Should Develop
by Andrea Watson | October 17, 2020
Everyone has different talents. Some of us sing, some sew, others run fast (not me). And we all put our own unique touch on what we do well. This is fantastic-diversity celebration-worthy and makes for excellent collaboration. But there are some skills out there that everyone can benefit from developing. This is because some aspects of human nature are simply set in stone. For example, humans communicate with each other. This is basic fact and probably won’t ever change. I bet you can think of more, but we will not go into it all here. So I now present to you my list of five skills that everyone should develop.
According to some estimates, public speaking is the number one fear that people have, even beating out death. Luckily, most of us will never become public speakers. But that is no reason to not develop the skills necessary to do so. Engagement with other people is what we do. It’s kind of our MO. Public speaking skills include coping with your nerves, engaging with your audience, and paying attention to body language-all important things in regular, everyday communication. These will help you to communicate your thoughts and needs clearly, succinctly, and without sending mixed signals. As an added bonus, if you ever have to go to court for any reason, these skills could make the difference between a positive outcome and a negative one.
The skills involved in performing CPR and Abdominal Thrusts (we used to call this the Heimlich Maneuver) are so very important-especially if you have kids. You never know when a life-threatening situation will present itself, in public or in your home. One time when she was very little, my niece popped a malted milk ball into her mouth. Seconds later, she was choking on it. Without thinking, I grabbed that baby, flipped her over, and performed the anti-choking moves for small children I had learned through my work training. The candy flew out of her mouth and she started breathing again. If I hadn’t been properly trained, that child may be dead right now. Luckily I knew what I was doing and was clear-headed enough to save her from choking. These techniques, and those required to perform CPR can save lives in times of surprise crisis. I recommend everyone learn these important skills and keep your certifications up to date. Also, some employers require this training-you can be ahead of the game if you do it on your own.
Have you heard this before? Well, prepare to hear it again because this is one of the very most important skills required for effective human interaction. It helps maintain relationships-the very essence of our societal structure. I’m not talking about just being there and letting the words of others flow through one ear and out the other. I’m not even talking about hearing and responding. I am talking about active listening. This is a process by which you stay engaged with another person in a positive way. While someone else is speaking, you listen attentively, paraphrase back what was said, and reflect upon it without passing judgement or giving advice. This will help you at work, at home, with friends, or in any other situation that requires you to converse with another person.
Show me the person who has never had to deal with conflict and I’ll show you my pet heffalump. Or my woozle. Conflict presents itself over and over in our lives, and it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In fact, effective conflict resolution is a good thing. To do this the right way, you need active listening, patience, and the restraint it takes to not immediately jump to the defense. Conflict resolution includes many skills, but in the end, it leads you to a positive, peaceful result after collaboration with the party or parties you are in dispute with. This can boost your parenting and interpersonal skills, foster leadership abilities, and assist you in difficult situations with coworkers and peers.
Now this is a fun one. Storytelling is a great skill, and it’s not just for entertainers. Some things involved in storytelling include observation, brevity, humor, suspense, and evocation, among others. Storytelling builds instant rapport with anyone you come across; cashiers, tellers, new acquaintances, old friends, customer service people, and the list goes on. If you tell your story right, the other person will automatically empathize with you and really listen to what you have to say. This is important if you want your voice to be heard for any reason-in person or in writing. Just take a look at history’s most prominent leaders. Weave a magical word web around people and the world can be yours.
I hope that you have found some inspiration in this post, and that you are able to brainstorm other important skills to develop. These ones create a good starting point, but there are many more out there. The world is full of people-and life is full of surprises. Honing these skills will help you to relate to people better, to have your voice heard, to connect with the world at large, and to protect the life upon it. Care for your fellow humans and yourself by applying some or all of these and live happier.