Soft Skills

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DEFINITION of 'Soft Skills'

The character traits and interpersonal skills that characterize a person's relationships with other people. In the workplace, soft skills are considered a complement to hard skills, which refer to a person's knowledge and occupational skills. Sociologists may use the term soft skills to describe a person's "EQ" or " Emotional Intelligence Quotient" (as opposed to "IQ").

INVESTOPEDIA EXPLAINS 'Soft Skills'

Soft skills have more to do with who we are than what we know. As such, soft skills encompass the character traits that decide how well one interacts with others, and are usually a definite part of one's personality. Whereas hard skills can be learned and perfected over time, soft skills are more difficult to acquire and change.


The soft skills required for a doctor, for example, would be empathy, understanding, active listening and a good bedside manner. Alternatively, the hard skills necessary for a doctor would include a vast comprehension of illnesses, the ability to interpret test results and symptoms, and a thorough understanding of anatomy and physiology.

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RELATED FAQS
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  3. What are some training & development techniques used to improve interpersonal skills?

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  4. How do interpersonal skills influence a business culture?

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