You have surely heard of soft skills, in marketing or in any other profession. They are those non-technical skills that you will have to work and enhance if you want to qualify for better jobs. To put it shortly, there are some features of your professional profile that increasingly attract the attention of companies.
While there are many more interesting soft skills, we’ve summarized them in five essential ones. Before entering your next work meeting, we invite you to ask the following questions!?
#1Could you continue this meeting in English?
And no, it’s not about talking about your hobbies or explaining what you did last weekend. In the business world, people speak English. And this means being able to negotiate, develop arguments, and defend your point of view in that language, spoken and written. Ah, no one said this was easy, but it makes total sense! Today, there are almost no companies that work only locally. It is possible that you would like to export your products to the United States, deal with a supplier who lives in Sweden or sell your services to Indian customers: how do you think you will understand them?
There’s a reason marketing is marketing in any language. So if you would like some friendly advice, register to specific Business English classes now. Listen to current-day podcasts. Turn on BBC News. Take advantage of all the workshops and activities that our Languages Service offers. Go to Erasmus+. Study part of your subjects in English or take an international double degree!
The good news is that, if you’re Spanish or Latin American, you have a competitive advantage already: your native language. Because while everyone speaks English in the business world, not every person is fluent in Spanish or other foreign languages. So, if in addition to English you speak Spanish, some Chinese, French or German: congratulations, it is one of the aspects that the person who analyzes your resume in the future will take into account!
#2 How do you think you will solve this conflict with Joseph?
It does not matter if we talk about Joseph, Anne-Marie or Hans. We talk about the people you work for or who work with you (or for you). The ability to cooperate efficiently with different people is essential in the business world.
What is more, you will probably have to deal with inconvenient situations with these people. And the easiest thing will be to find a culprit (think about it, we always do that). Therefore, we advise you to change your focus from whom to why: from looking for a scapegoat to digging into the origin of the conflict. And, of course, draw up a strategy and find a suitable solution for all parties. Add a follow-up plan and you will earn a medal in problem solving!
THE ERA OF GOOD COMMUNICATION IS over: you need TO create STORIES THAT have INFLUENCE AND GENERATE EMPATHY
Therefore, in marketing forget about egocentrism and focus on knowing your interlocutor and their circumstances. If you dealing with a customer, become hies or her ally. If you are working with a teammate, remember that you are all a part of the same team and it gets down to selling in the best possible way.
In essence, teamwork and conflict resolution are based on listening and respect for differences. Because we think differently and face challenges differently, especially if we are in an international context: do you think you can use the same sales arguments with a Nordic customer as with an Arab one? Do you think the problem will be perceived in the same way by a German colleague as by a Spanish colleague? No, we don’t think so.
#3 Can you tell me what this chart represents?
If you thought numbers and figures were the sole responsibility of Finance, you are very wrong. Obviously, a marketing professional must be familiar with the financial condition of his company. Therefore, it is necessary to know about accounting, cost analysis and management. But you have to go further…
Today, it is necessary to have analytical ability to solve problems, detect trends and make decisions based on figures: it is what we know as data-driven analysis.
If you are not a math person, don’t worry because this has nothing to do with designing algorithms or making calculations: that’s what technology already exists for. On the contrary, creativity has the same importance here as the numbers. For example, you only have to download any table with data and study it thoroughly: what are these numbers telling me? Maybe there’s some pattern I can detect? What exactly is the meaning of them and why? Do I find this mass of data useful?
Who knows, you may find that data analysis is your new best friend in sales decision-making!
#4 Where is your place of work?
Study in Valencia; live in Valencia… work in Valencia? Sorry, but this doesn’t work that way anymore. It may not sound original, but because of globalization and new technologies physical boundaries disappeared at work. And not only because it is totally possible to make a commercial presentation to clients from your own home, or visit virtual fairs from your sofa.
Today, travelling to the other side of the world is easier than ever. In Europe, there have been no borders for a long time. Now the world is looking to China, India, and Dubai. Spanish companies have built headquarters in Latin America, and you’re always going to stay in the same place?
TODAY IT IS ESSENTIAL TO HAVE ANALYTICAL thinking, DETECT trends AND MAKE DECISIONS based on data
Adaptability and flexibility, at all levels, are other basic soft skills in the 21st century. Social and technological changes are getting faster and marketing professionals need to be agile to respond to the needs of our environment. If you know that your market is in Malaysia, travel to Kuala Lumpur. If your client is a millennial, sell him things through Instagram. When you need to do a videoconference with a Japanese partner, get ready to open the Skype at 3 am in the morning.
Hours from 9 am to 6 pm in a physical office in the city center? Maybe in the last century.
#5 Can you tell me a story (that I would love)?
We all know that we have to know how to communicate: to write a letter of motivation, to face a job interview, to create a good ad… It seems simple, but it’s not: communicating isn’t a synonym of surprising (or at least not always).
When you think about it, communicators are mere vehicles of ideas. What it’s all about is transferring an idea, and doing it in the best possible way for the person who has to receive the message. And all of us like interesting stories: no one remembers a boring movie, even if it’s a masterpiece of contemporary cinema.
Therefore, when you’re going to transfer a message, think of a story. In other words, you may have guessed it already, do some storytelling. Stories that cannot only help you better to sell a product (that is why advertising agencies already exist for), but also a project or even a work plan. In the end, what it’s all about is transferring an idea and getting the receiver to empathize with it. Empathy is a keyword. Because from there, everything is going to be much easier: it’s so simple for me to work with you if you’ve managed to empathize!
If you’ve read this far, thank you! But if you’ve jumped to this last paragraph, we’ll give you a summary of our 5 tips for future marketers: analyze, build, be flexible, and collaborate. And, if you can, study a new language!