Everyone is talking about soft skills. They are the personal traits that allow you to be mentally elastic, to adapt to new situations, and to be an excellent communicator and creative problem solver.

And why are these skills soft exactly? Because, unlike hard skills such as coding, mathematics, and driving, they are hard to measure. They are extremely useful, nonetheless.

In fact, not only are soft skills essential for English language learners, but they are some of the most sought after business skills too. After all, no one can be too good at working with other people, communicating clearly, and being creative, right?

So what are the top 5 soft skills you should develop to boost your career this year?


1. Communication


Communication is far more than just talking to people or learning new languages. It’s a multi-faceted skill that involves active listening, interpreting, consulting, confirming, organising, learning – and then double-checking what’s happening. And in this process, lots can go wrong!

People absolutely love great communicators – especially at work – when lots of things are going on all of the time. The good news is, you can learn to be a great communicator yourself.

What can you do to become a better communicator?

Check out this easy-to-read article on Entrepreneur Magazine: The 8 Secrets of Great Communicators and watch the following TED video:



You can also sign up for our Business English courses, where communication is a top priority.


2. Creative problem solving


It might sound impossible, but creativity – and creative problem solving – are skills that can be learned.

Of course, some people are naturally more creative. We’re often inspired by those who can produce amazing art, write beautiful songs, or author novels, but it doesn’t mean we cannot learn how to be more creative ourselves.

The benefits are obvious: not only can creativity make things more interesting, but it makes our lives easier when it comes to things like problem-solving. Our managers, colleagues, even our family and friends really appreciate it when we make their lives easier and come up with creative, helpful solutions to problems, rather than simply pointing out the problems themselves.

There’s no point in telling people you’re a problem solver though – it’s something that needs to be seen to be believed.

So how can you become a creative problem solver?

Check out this article on the Huffington Post: 7 tips to become a better problem solver and then watch this video on developing creative skills:



3. Time-management


Time-management is one of the most in-demand soft skills. And whether you need to improve your time management at work or at home, it can make your life a lot easier.

People with excellent time-management skills don’t have to worry about deadlines, missing meetings, running for the bus, or getting the kids to school by 08:30. They have it all under control, thanks to lots of practice and a solid system.

What can you do to improve your time management skills?

First, here are 10 practical ways to improve our time management skills from Life Hack. Next, watch the following video (put Closed Captions on if you need help):



4. Self-awareness


Do you really know what you’re thinking and feeling all the time? Being self-aware helps us understand our own motivations, feelings and moods, which in turn allows us to react and act in more rational ways.

In fact, sometimes just recognising that we can feel irritable before eating lunch will help us avoid unnecessary conflict at work. But even better than that, being self-aware can help us understand when we feel more or less confident, it can help us make better decisions throughout the day, and it can make us better people to be around in general.

There’s no end to how self-aware we can become.

So what can we do to become more self-aware?

This article, 5 ways to become more self aware, is a good starting point!


5. Negotiation skills


Don’t be mistaken: it’s not just about making million dollar deals on Wall Street, negotiating is a skill that everyone needs to learn. Good negotiators make the best out of every situation. Negotiation can solve a lot of problems, from improving your own work conditions and salaries, to getting the best deals for your company – and making sure your colleagues are happy with their projects.

So how can we get better at negotiating?

Check out this article on Elite Daily, it breaks down exactly what you need to do to become an excellent negotiator – in business and in life in general!


Sign up for our Business English courses and develop your English and soft skills at the same time.


Glossary for Language Learners


Find the following words in the article and then write down any new ones you didn’t know.

Mentally elastic (adj): to be creative, flexible and imaginative.

Sought after (adj): something that is wanted by a lot of people.

Multi-faceted (adj): to have many qualities, skills or attributes.

Needs to be seen to be believed (exp.): something that is hard to believe, so it must be experienced/seen.

In-demand (adj): something fashionable, that a lot of people want to buy or have.


adj = adjective

exp = expression

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