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Developing Personal and Business Skills and Leveraging Local Networks.

Personal Skills are very important for an individual’s overall growth in business, academics, social and spiritual life. When one has experienced personal growth, it is easier to handle other forms of development both business and Network.

Understanding Personal Skills, Business Skills and Networking

  • Skills

SKILL is an ability acquired or developed after you put in a lot of time and hard work in learning something.

A skill is the ability to do something well, a certain competence or proficiency. Skills are typically acquired or developed through direct experiences and training, and they can require sustained effort. 

  • Personal Skills

Personal skills are simply those skills that you possess and consider your strengths.  They are the things we are good at – our strengths, abilities, and attributes. Personal skills can be categorized into Soft skill and hard  Skill.

Soft skills are intangible qualities or attributes we possess that enhance our interactions with others. They can be related to our attitude, personality, emotions, habits, communication style, and social manners. Successful development of soft skills happens during our interactions with others (family, friends, and co-workers) and are fundamental to how well we build and manage our relationships.

 Technical skills are more specific and are often associated with a task or activity, most times job-related. They include certain abilities and knowledge about an area of focus and can be easily quantified and evaluated. Mostly learned through education, training, and on-the-job experience, hard skills can include computer literacy, project management, editing, or proficiency in a foreign language. These types of skills make us employable and allow us to tackle our job responsibilities.

Soft and hard skills complement each other and make up our arsenal of personal skills that demonstrate our capabilities.

  • Business Skills

Business skills are skills that help people improve the efficiency, performance and productivity of a business.

Both the business owner and the employees need to possess certain business skills to successful work on the business. Business skills helps people understand consumer and organizational behavior and use this information to promote the success of the business

Business skills cuts across both Soft and technical skills.

Specific examples of business skills include:

  • Time management skills
  • Team-building skills
  • Analytical skills
  • Negotiation skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Sales and marketing skills
  • Financial management skills
  • Networking

Networking is the exchange of information and ideas among people with a common profession or special interest, usually in an informal social setting. Networking often begins with a single point of common ground.

Networking is used by professionals to widen their circles of acquaintances, find out about opportunities, and to increase their awareness of news and trends in their fields. Business owners network to develop relationships with people and companies they may do business with in the future.

Developing the Personal and Business Skills:

  1. Overcome your fears
  2. Read
  3. Learn something new
  4. Ask for feedback
  5.  Observe others
  6.  Network
  7. Keep a journal
  8. Meditate
  9.  Get a mentor
  10. Research 
  11. Read business books
  12. Take a business skills course or class: 

Leveraging local networks

“If you want to go somewhere, it is best to find someone who has already been there.”
Robert Kiyosaki

‘It’s not what you know, but who you know’. The leverage of people is key to your success.

Highly successful entrepreneurs have highly valuable networks, developed over many years, and they invest considerable time and effort in maintaining them.

Business owners network to develop relationships with people and companies they may do business with in the future. These connections help them establish rapport and trust among people in their own communities. Successful business networking involves regularly following up with contacts to exchange valuable information that may not be readily available outside the network.

The key influences on the value of your network:

a) The size of your network.
Clearly, the larger your network, the more potential contacts and opportunities you have, and the more valuable it becomes

b) The quality of your network.
What is the potential value of your network in terms of leverage, on your behalf? What sort of people do you know? What do they have, to help you get where you want to go?

c) The closeness of your network.
How close are your contacts to you? How strong are your ties? Strong relationships developed over years are naturally of higher quality than vague or fleeting relationships.

d) The recency of your network.
Out of sight is out of mind, in most cases. If you do not keep in regular contact with your network, it degrades in size and quality.

e) The understanding of your network.
How well does your network understand what you do? Are members able to refer people to you, and spread your message on your behalf? Do they know you as the person to go to, for certain expertise?

Long term strategic development and use of your network will help you to achieve long term goals, so it’s well worth investing some thought and time into your networking strategy. Like any organism, your network needs regular feeding in order to develop in the right way. Do this consciously, and you’ll develop a network that multiples any personal value far more than one left to random chance.

Leverage

When you offer your assistance to others, or ‘pay it forward’, the future returns will surprise you. Stay in touch with your network to know how to help them, and understand how it can help you.

Whenever you need help, ask. With advances in communication there has never been a better time to ask for help from those we know. People always like to help and offer solutions. Someone always knows someone, who can give you anything – whether a restaurant recommendation in a strange land, or an introduction to a decision-maker for the deal of the century. If you do not ask, you do not get.

A highly valuable network only counts if you use it. Share your needs or desires with everyone you know. This is the law of attraction in action. The bigger and more engaged your network, the more powerfully this works.

  • Prioritize working with networks and build a collaboration model, or the co-creation of new solutions, into your strategy for achieving impact.
  • Build a diverse network with a wide array of expertise, and frequently canvass your network in order to tap experts who can fill your gaps in knowledge, capacity, or resources.
  • Nurture both ground-level partnerships, as well as larger strategic partnerships. The deep contextual knowledge for successful solution implementation can be coupled with extended access to resources, and beyond.
  • Seek frequent feedback from your networks to gain valuable insight from diverse vantage points. Consider hosting a peer review to generate in-depth discussion about specific questions you need answered. Then act on the results.

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